True freshman running back Dallan Hayden only arrived on campus this summer, but few on the roster are attacking fall camp with the same speed that he is approaching things.
The former four-star out of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn., is just now getting his first taste of college football, but running backs coach Tony Alford said last week that the staff has actually had to slow him down.
“Dallan goes 100 miles an hour, so the biggest thing we’ve got to figure out is to get him to kind of slow down and take a deep breath,” Alford said. “He’s very hard on himself. He’s the guy that you can tell he wants to do things perfectly, and that bothers him immensely if he doesn’t. He’s going to be a really good player. I think he’s got a chance to be a really good person.”
Hayden owned up to going too fast, acknowledging that he did so during a walkthrough on the first day of fall camp.
“Coach (Ryan) Day told me to slow down,” Hayden said. “That’s kind of always been an issue for me. All I know is go full speed. But I’m learning to slow it down now.”
Alford said that while the staff is having to caution Hayden, it should also be noted that he is a summer enrollee for the Buckeyes, meaning that he didn’t get the head start that several early enrollees in his class did.
“It takes some time,” Alford said. “We’ve only been through day two. It’s his second day of playing college football. Remember, he wasn’t even here in the spring, but he’s got a chance. He’s got some skills and he can run and he’s just got to learn the game. Settle down, take a deep breath, he’s going to be fine.”
Hayden can already feel the impact of Alford’s advice and coaching, and said that he feels he is getting better every day as fall camp marches on.
“Everything coach Alford’s doing is for a reason, for sure,” he said. “Obviously, his track record, all the backs he’s coached have done very well. He obviously knows what he’s doing, and I just try to take his coaching to make me a better player.”
Hayden will have to fight to see snaps this season, with TreVeyon Henderson set as the start with Miyan Williams and Evan Pryor lobbying for the second spot behind him. That puts Hayden firmly at fourth on the depth chart, but Alford views this as a good problem to have as Hayden develops.
“At running back you need depth,” Alford said. “You have to have depth. I mean, you’ve seen games where a couple guys in one game that go down, so you’ve got to have depth. (Hayden) was critically important (in the class).”