Running ragged: OSU banged up at RB

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jordan Hall hasn't played a down yet this season after an offseason injury.

Warren Ball went down in training camp, and the true freshman is out for the year after surgery on his foot.

Carlos Hyde made it into the sixth quarter of the season, but now he's dealing with a knee sprain that could potentially keep him out for two games.

Just a couple weeks into the season, Ohio State has more running backs in street clothes than uniforms as the injury bug makes its way around the position and poses a dilemma moving forward from a 31-16 win over Central Florida.

"Offensively, we’re down to our third tailback, and it looked like it," coach Urban Meyer said. "We have to get better."

It would certainly help if the Buckeyes could get healthier.

With those three tailbacks either limited or out on Saturday, Meyer repeatedly turned to quarterback Braxton Miller to pace the rushing attack. But the sophomore might soon join that disabled list if he continues to average 22 carries per game.

There are two pure running backs left in the stable, and true freshman Bri'onte Dunn was effective with five carries for 29 yards against the Knights. Rod Smith also made a cameo in the victory, touching the ball three times and picking up 10 yards.

But it might be an unorthodox option that helps Ohio State survive in the short term, perhaps with fullback Zach Boren continuing to embrace a larger role in the offense. Meyer is also toying with the idea of getting leading receiver Corey "Philly" Brown some touches as a running back until he gets his full complement of rushers back.

After fumbles by Boren and Smith and another injury to consider, Meyer certainly has plenty to think about.

"We have to fix it and really identify who is going to touch the ball," he said. "We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and make some decisions on who is physically going to touch that ball -- and they have to take care of it, obviously."