Former Strong Vincent star running back Donte Harden is the camp favorite to emerge as Ohio’s primary ball-carrier.
“We’re counting on Donte to step up this season since he’s been seeing action since his freshman season,” Tim Albin, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, said after a practice last week. “We’re looking for him to be an every-down type of back and stay in the ball game. He had a good summer and he’s as strong as ever, if not stronger.”
Harden, a redshirt senior, looked like a star in the making in 2008, when he started three games and rushed for 454 yards in seven games before going down with an injury — a concern that has plagued him ever since. As a junior in 2010, he rushed for 244 yards and stood out with 473 kick-return yards in seven games. He also picked up 25 yards on six carries in the Bobcats’ 48-21 loss to Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
“There’s not too much pressure,” Harden said recently. “I just have to do what I’m supposed to do on a daily basis. I just have to come out here and keep trying, day after day, to improve. I’m eager for the season to start just because I know we have a team capable of achieving great things this season.”
Ohio opens Sept. 3 at New Mexico State. The Bobcats also play in Buffalo Oct. 8. Games against Marshall Sept. 17 and Rutgers Sept. 24 will be broadcast at www.espn3.com. Sports Time Ohio will broadcast the Oct. 15 homecoming game against Ball State and Oct. 22 game against Akron. The final four games of the regular season — Nov. 2 vs. Temple, Nov. 10 at Central Michigan, Nov. 16 at Bowling Green and Nov. 22 vs. MAC East favorite Miami (Ohio) — will be televised on one of the ESPN channels.
Here’s a gallery of photos of Harden’s Ohio career. And to follow Harden and the Bobcats through training camp, check out “Relentless: An Inside Look at Ohio Football” on STO and www.ohiobobcats.com. Here’s the debut episode: