April 6, 2008

Mo Wells ready for his final season

As the game of college football opens up more from year to year don't expect to see the Buckeyes completely abandon the bride that brought them to the dance year in and year out. Ohio State ranked 28th in the country last year with the running game averaging 197 yards per game. The lion's share of the yards went to Chris Wells but Beanie wasn't the only back in a crowded backfield to tote the rock.

Maurice Wells came out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood high school as a speedy running back trying to make a mark in the Big Ten. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder has been blessed and cursed by being on a roster with several top notch running backs surrounding him. As a younger player he watched Antonio Pittman lock down the position and run his way into the record books. Now Mo is watching Beanie try and run his way to a Heisman trophy as the starter. The Buckeyes have been more than loaded throughout his career but with Brandon Saine and Daniel Herron both vying for touches is this the deepest field he has been a part of?

"It probably is one of the deepest because I know my freshman year in the spring we had Antonio Pittman), myself, Beanie and Erik Haw so we had a lot of depth that year too," Wells said. "This has been the deepest we have been in a while."

While the team goals remain the same as in previous years of winning the Big Ten and the National Championship the senior ball carrier also has his own personal goals for his final season in the scarlet and gray.

"Just stay healthy my senior season and get out of here injury free and able to perform when some scouts come up here for this next season," Wells said. "As long as I stay healthy (reached over to knock on wood), That is one of my big things to stay healthy for the upcoming year so I can graduate school in the spring and go on with the rest of my life after that."

It didn't take Mo very long after the BCS Championship game loss to be ready to fire it up and start to get ready for his senior season and one more run at the elusive BCS Championship trophy.

"I did that when I was on the bus getting ready to go back to the hotel," Wells said. "I was ready for the next season to start up and I am never one to really dwell on the past too much."

With this being the final spring camp for Wells will he approach things differently knowing that he is on the eve of his final college season?

"I am trying to have more fun this year knowing it is my last year," Wells said. "It is my last spring doing all of this stuff so I am just trying to kind of enjoy it a lot more. I talked to a lot of guys who left already and a lot of times they say that they miss the stuff that you are doing right now. The stuff that we hated doing, they kind of miss and I am just trying to enjoy everything."

Camp takes its toll on the players and the unavoidable bumps and bruises happen despite the best efforts of all to minimize the injuries. How is Wells feeling nearing the midway mark of practice and has he incurred many of those dings that happen in the spring?

"Nothing too major," Wells said. "In football you are never going to be 100-percent but for the most part things are going well."

The question of who will step up at fullback has been a topic discussed by many Buckeye fans but Wells believes that the group of players that Ohio State is trying out at the position will do just fine when the calendar reaches the end of August and the season is underway and the games count.

"The guys that we have tried at that position have all come in and done well," Wells said. "I know whoever ends up being the starting fullback for us is going to do a great job."

Wells rushed for 367 yards on 103 carries during his junior season and saw double-digit carries in four games. Mo had his most productive game in a scoring sense against Northwestern in scoring two touchdowns against the Wildcats which equaled the two touchdowns he has scored previously in his career. Wells also scored during the loss to Illinois in November en route to averaging 3.6 yards per carry.

A pair of talented young guys will be looking to get into the mix and take some of those carries with Brandon Saine coming back as a sophomore after an up and down year that saw injuries shut him down for a good part of the year before coming back for the BCS Championship game.

"He has been good and I know after the concussion he had he hasn't really had any problems after that," Wells said. "He made it through winter doing well and now he is in spring and he is still healthy so everyone is doing pretty well."

The player with the most buzz has to be Boom Herron who was redshirted last season despite coming close to seeing playing time with Saine out and Beanie ailing. Now the Warren (Ohio) Harding star has turned a lot of heads during spring practice and Mo has taken notice of what the talented young guys can do.

"He is good and quick and explosive and a hard runner," Wells said. "He is not 240-pounds but he can run a guy over and he can make them miss. He is a good one. He is a good running back."

If everyone can remain healthy in 2008 the Buckeyes will have four good running backs to throw at opponents. Add to that mix a first year quarterback that could come in and run a little as well and the Buckeyes will be ready to make another run at a league title and more.

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