With the season opener 13 days away, one Ohio State football player apparently finding a new niche or two is Demario McCall.
He was switched from running back to hybrid back behind Parris Campbell a couple of weeks ago, and McCall — 20 pounds heavier at 193 than he was a year ago — said after practice Friday he also is running first team at punt returner.
With Mike Weber the returning starter at running back, and with freshman J.K. Dobbins having made a rapid rise to the backup at that position, running backs coach Tony Alford said “it helped make that transition a little easier” in moving the fast and shifty McCall.
McCall jumped at the switch to hybrid, which could find him being a receiver one play, a running back the next.
“That’s one of the Cadillac positions here,” McCall said. “The H back spot, you get a lot of space out there, a lot of opportunities will come, so I hope to do big things at the H back spot.”
He is trying to be a fast study.
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“I’ve actually been in the receivers room about the last two weeks,” McCall said. “I’m just learning the plays, learning the position.”
He moved willingly, he said.
“I actually like it a lot,” he said. “One thing I bring to that position is depth. The H’s are me, Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill.”
McCall’s role is more defined on punt return.
“I’m actually starting a punt return right now,” he said. “We’re running two returners, so it would be me and K.J. Hill.”
What he likes about the punt return job is similar to what he likes about the hybrid position.
“The most dangerous thing for a punt returner is space,” McCall said. “What we did this year is go two returners, and that’s basically to create space.”