Updated Thu, Sep 6, 2012 12:39 pm
A running back needs a path to follow; it’s a basic fact of football.
Ohio running back Beau Blankenship’s path to success, especially in last Saturday’s Penn State game, was prepared by two of the most important things in his life: his faith and his offensive line.
“I feel like everything happens for a reason. God opened the door for me and I’m just trying to follow the path He wants. The offensive line opened up holes and I just did what I could,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship rushed for 109 yards and recorded 72 receiving yards against a Penn State defense with three NFL prospects. It was the best game of his college career and it came against the toughest of opponents.
But, Blankenship’s path to Ohio wasn’t a straight one. In fact, he didn’t even plan on attending Ohio University after high school.
Blankenship was a Mr. Oklahoma Football Quarterfinalist in high school. He rushed for 5,050 yards and 59 touchdowns for Norman North High School in Norman, Okla. Current Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton was a teammate of Blankenship’s at Norman North. The two are best friends.
After high school, Blankenship committed to play college football at Iowa State University.
“Halfway through my first year at Iowa State, I hurt my foot, so I missed half the season. It was promising for a while, real promising actually. Then, going into that spring, I got hurt again. Finally, in fall camp, I ended up having an ankle sprain,” said Blankenship.
After that final injury, Blankenship was in need of a change. The first person that came to mind when he needed that change was his old high school quarterback and best friend, Tyler Tettleton.
“They (Iowa State) wore us down to the bone a little bit, like, almost full contact. After that last injury I needed a fresh start so I called Tyler and God opened this door for me,” said the Ohio running back.
As Blankenship firmly believes, everything happens for a reason. There was a reason for his multitude of injuries at Iowa State, a reason why he just had the best game of his college career on the biggest stage and a reason why he called his best friend, Tyler Tettleton, when he needed a fresh start.
“We’re best friends back there,” said Blankenship of Tettleton. “We know each other real well, we know what the other is thinking and we know what the plan is. I trust his decision making and hopefully he trusts mine.”
Growing up in Norman, Okla., Blankenship played football in a state that lives and breathes it. Adrian Peterson played his games at Oklahoma University in Blankenship’s hometown. The legendary Barry Sanders played his ball at Oklahoma State. It’s a running back kind of place.
“I watched Adrian (Peterson) a lot, but right now I like watching Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice. I like watching the shorter, stockier guys,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship tries to model his game after those pros, and he has big plans for this season, but he prefers to keep them a secret.
“I have certain goals for this season. There is a certain number, but I’ll keep that to myself. With this offensive line, I feel like I can reach my goals,” said Blankenship.
The season is full of potential for Ohio, and much of the credit for that goes to Ohio head coach Frank Solich. Solich brought a hard working, winning mentality to Athens and Blankenship embraces it.
“I love Coach Solich and all the coaches here, it’s all business. He’s not going to scream in your face, he’ll get on you, but he’s not going to rip your head off or cuss you up and down,” said Blankenship.
With Solich’s mindset, Blankenship feels confident. “I feel like we have a lot of potential as an offense, if we’re hitting on all cylinders and meshing well, the sky’s the limit," said Blankenship.
Blankenship’s path seems to have no limit; it started in Oklahoma, made a pit stop at Iowa State and finally landed him in Athens. “It worked out perfectly,” according to Blankenship.
It is still unclear what this season has in store for Ohio and its running game. Blankenship got the rushing attack off to a great start. He is a redshirt junior and his game can only get better, barring injury. However, there are many variables on the Bobcats’ horizon; it’s very early in the season.
But, looking at things from Blankenship’s point of view, one thing is certain. This season has a reason.