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View Full Version : Is Chris Wells the best OSU back since Archie?



MWM
11-15-2008, 11:33 PM
I think he is. His competition is Keith Byars and Eddie George and I think he's better than both. He's definitely one of the special players I've seen in my lifetime. If the OSU line wasn't so bad, and if he stayed healthy, he would be a lock for 2,000 yards, IMO. He's a rare talent and very under-stated as well. I'm going to miss him when he's gone.

How many 240 pound men can leap over a defensive back and keep going? That was awesome to watch today.

guttle11
11-16-2008, 12:46 AM
I think he's the most talented back since Archie, for sure. He can do things Eddie and Byers couldn't. His stiff arm should probably be illegal. It's just not fair.

Unfortunately, he'll go down as an underrated OSU back because the team couldn't get the national title last year, he was robbed of a Heisman run because of his injury this year, and he'll almost certainly leave his senior year on the table.

redsfan1966
11-16-2008, 01:14 AM
No

MWM
11-16-2008, 01:45 AM
No


Who's better?

Highlifeman21
11-16-2008, 01:54 AM
Eddie George was better.

Better NCAA player.

And I have a feeling Eddie will have a better NFL career than Beanie Wells.





Robert Smith wasn't bad either, for what it's worth.


And Archie was a crappy NFL back, but a decent NCAA back. So take that for what it's worth as well.

BuckeyeRedleg
11-16-2008, 01:55 AM
Yes, he is.

I have to put him just a notch over Byars.

redsfan1966
11-16-2008, 02:23 AM
I agree with highlife....Eddie George.

cincrazy
11-16-2008, 03:15 AM
I'd have to go with Eddie. Maybe in terms of pure talent, Beanie would win. But when you're talking best OSU back since Archie, you have to consider a number of things, including durability. Beanie at his best is as good as ANYBODY, anywhere. Unfortunately, his propensity to get nicked up as kept him from putting up really scary stats.

I hope he comes back for his senior season. I know it's unlikely, but give him and Pryor another year together and another year of being familiar with each other, and I think Beanie could run for 1,500+ and that Pryor could top 1,000 on the ground.

GAC
11-16-2008, 05:03 AM
How many 240 pound men can leap over a defensive back and keep going? That was awesome to watch today.

My wife and I were over in Columbus yesterday eating at Texas Roadhouse and watching the game. When Beanie did that the whole restaurant exploded. Even my wife, who isn't a fan of sports, said "Wow!"

I still have to give it to Archie, with George 2nd, and then Byars.

I still remember that Illinois game Byars put in like it was yesterday....


Keith Byars earned first team All-America honors, was Big Ten MVP and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy (to Boston College’s Doug Flutie) in 1984, when he rushed for a then-school record 1,764 yards and 22 touchdowns. That season, he led the nation in rushing, scoring (144 points) and all-purpose running (2,441). Included in those totals were 274 yards and five TDs against Illinois in one of the most brilliant individual performances in OSU annals. The Fighting Illini led 24-0, but Byars’ fourth TD was a spectacular 67-yard run in which he completely reversed his field and lost a shoe at the Illinois 35, but still outran the Illini secondary. His fifth touchdown of the day was the game winner. Byars, who missed most of his senior year with a foot injury, is still fourth on the all-time rushing list with 3,200 yard.

Mario-Rijo
11-16-2008, 06:20 AM
I gotta go #27 he was a phenomenal back which was proven in the NFL. And it's interesting that Illinois keeps coming up in this debate because Eddie had perhaps the worst game of his career vs. them and probably his best game 323 yds I believe en route to his Heisman Trophy. Which is still the best single game rushing effort in school annuls (yardage wise, can't recall his TD's that game I wanna say 2 or 3). I just think Eddie's will was greater than most any Buckeye I have ever seen. And he had plenty of talent as well although not quite as fast as Beanie equally as good or better everywhere else except perhaps agility.

GoReds33
11-16-2008, 10:24 AM
I'm in the Eddie George boat. He was so great, and so consistant. I just ddon't see him being trumped, atleast not yet.

LoganBuck
11-16-2008, 11:47 AM
Eddie George, people remember his senior season when he won the Heisman but his junior year was also tremendous. Chris Wells has had two good seasons but neither match up with Eddie's best two. Chris has more physical talent, Eddie played with more grit. You can't go wrong either way. I choose Eddie George, but not by much.

MWM
11-16-2008, 11:49 AM
I guess my issue with Eddie George is that he wasn't anything special until his senior year when he won the Heisman. I always loved Eddie because he was the perfect example of hard work and determination and how a player can get better with both. But he was never viewed as anything more than an average back until his senior campaign. I don't think there were tons of big Eddie George fans until that year. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember thinking back then following the Buckeyes that they needed a better RB and George was frustrating to watch. That was all the more reason why his senior year was such a surprise. He wasn't even an all Big Ten selection until his senior year. Beanie was an All American as a sophomore.

Eddie was great, but I think Wells is just a better back. George wasn't anywhere near Beanie through his junior year. My personal opinion is that Wells is a good deal better than George, although I am a big fan of Eddie. But Beanie is just a beast. If he can stay healthy and be in a decent situation in the NFL, he's going to be a great one as well.

And highlife, Archie Griffin was a "decent" NCAA back? Come on, dude.

RedlegJake
11-16-2008, 12:26 PM
Archie was a "decent" back? Lord. This is one case where I think a guy's NFL career influences how his college career is remembered. Griffin was phenomenal for OSU.

KoryMac5
11-16-2008, 12:37 PM
I'm a die-hard Penn State fan and even I know Archie was a great back. In fact when ESPN did their 25 greatest college football players of all time. Archie ranked 21st on the list.

I always thought Robert Smith had the most untapped talent. Dude could flat out run with the football. Unfortunately he never reached that potential due to his "philosphical" differences with the team and coaches.

westofyou
11-16-2008, 12:38 PM
And highlife, Archie Griffin was a "decent" NCAA back? Come on, dude.

Hilarious... evidently Highlife has seen the old SI issues, but actually missed the games due to being unborn at the time.

As a UM fan I can say I loathed Archie, respected the hell out of him but loathed him, anyone who says he was "decent" is selling the small man short.

Lockdwn11
11-16-2008, 04:20 PM
I would Have to say Eddie and it's not that close.


Most Rushing Yards, Game: Eddie George, 314 on 36 attempts (1995 vs. Illinois)

Most Rushing Yards Per Game, Season: Eddie George, 148.2

Most 100-Yard Rushing Games, Season: Eddie George, 12

Most 200-Yard Rushing Games, Career: Eddie George, 5

Consecutive 100-Yard Rushing Games, Season: Eddie George, 12

BoydsOfSummer
11-16-2008, 05:50 PM
I lean towards Eddie George here also, and by a decent margin. Eddie had a better O-Line in front of him though so that's a factor. Beanie does a lot of good things entirely on his own.

Highlifeman21
11-16-2008, 08:31 PM
Hilarious... evidently Highlife has seen the old SI issues, but actually missed the games due to being unborn at the time.

As a UM fan I can say I loathed Archie, respected the hell out of him but loathed him, anyone who says he was "decent" is selling the small man short.

I should have put a smiley or something up instead of the " " around decent...

I didn't get the chance to see Archie play, but I heard he was one Hell of a NCAA back, but for whatever reason that talent didn't translate to a great pro career.


From the highlights I've seen, it looks like Archie was just a beast to bring down, and punished defenders when he lowered his shoulders.

LoganBuck
11-16-2008, 09:50 PM
I didn't get the chance to see Archie play, but I heard he was one Hell of a NCAA back, but for whatever reason that talent didn't translate to a great pro career.

Bengalized

*BaseClogger*
11-16-2008, 09:54 PM
I should have put a smiley or something up instead of the " " around decent...

I didn't get the chance to see Archie play, but I heard he was one Hell of a NCAA back, but for whatever reason that talent didn't translate to a great pro career.


From the highlights I've seen, it looks like Archie was just a beast to bring down, and punished defenders when he lowered his shoulders.

I never saw him, but I know he was not "a beast to bring down, and punished defenders when he lowered his shoulders." He was probably all of 5'9 175 pounds; his strengths where his vision, balance, and determination.

The greatest tOSU back I have seen in my lifetime is Maurice Clarett. No player has meant more to a Buckeye squad. He may not have been as big or fast as Wells, but his vision was unmatched and he was truly special as a freshman. I wish we could have seen the rest of his college career unfold, because he might have gone down as the greatest running back of all-time...

Highlifeman21
11-16-2008, 10:29 PM
I never saw him, but I know he was not "a beast to bring down, and punished defenders when he lowered his shoulders." He was probably all of 5'9 175 pounds; his strengths where his vision, balance, and determination.

The greatest tOSU back I have seen in my lifetime is Maurice Clarett. No player has meant more to a Buckeye squad. He may not have been as big or fast as Wells, but his vision was unmatched and he was truly special as a freshman. I wish we could have seen the rest of his college career unfold, because he might have gone down as the greatest running back of all-time...

Maybe I'm confusing a different 2 time Heisman winner...

The highlights I've seen (at the Buckeyes HOF Cafe) all show Archie running through people, so that's the basis of my observation.

cincrazy
11-16-2008, 11:03 PM
I never saw him, but I know he was not "a beast to bring down, and punished defenders when he lowered his shoulders." He was probably all of 5'9 175 pounds; his strengths where his vision, balance, and determination.

The greatest tOSU back I have seen in my lifetime is Maurice Clarett. No player has meant more to a Buckeye squad. He may not have been as big or fast as Wells, but his vision was unmatched and he was truly special as a freshman. I wish we could have seen the rest of his college career unfold, because he might have gone down as the greatest running back of all-time...

Archie may not have possessed the power of Beanie, but make no mistake, he was indeed a beast to bring down. And while there's no questioning what Clarett meant to that OSU team, and I also would have loved to see the rest of his career play out, I still give the nod to Beanie in terms of talent. Clarett had a few out of this world games, but he also had some games where he was ordinary, at best. Injuries had something to do with that, but I still say Beanie was the better back, and by a pretty good margin, IMO

MWM
11-16-2008, 11:53 PM
I can understand the preference for George, although I can't see how anyone would think it's not close. But I admit it's based solely on my own personal observation and opinion from watching just about every game of both of them, but I just think Wells is better. He's got power, speed, and he even has great vision. He's the total package.

I agree on Clarrett. He could have been the guy, but there's no way to know. When I was at Michigan back in the fall of 2004, I took a sports marketing class with Spencer Brinton, who was a backup QB at Michigan for a few years. We got to be pretty good friends and we talked about sports a lot. He told me he thought Clarret was the best player he saw live in his college career. He said the guy had the best instincts and was the perfect combination of size and speed. He could have been special. Too bad the choices he made.

BuckeyeRed27
11-17-2008, 01:30 AM
Eddie clearly has the stats. I do think Beanie is a better running back. If he does come back next year I think he will clearly pass 27.

bucksfan2
11-17-2008, 11:45 AM
As good as Clarett was he didn't have great speed. He could have been one of the best in OSU history but he associated himself with the wrong type of people.

Beanie is the most complete back I have seen since Eddie. IMO Eddie played with a better line and all around better offensive players during his time at OSU. If Beanie doesn't go down for 3 games this season he would have been in the Heisman conversation. I doubt he stays for his senior year but if he does he has the potential to go down as one of the greatest backs in OSU history.

Roy Tucker
11-17-2008, 01:26 PM
I was lucky to see all these guys play in person. I was a graduation year ahead of Archie and saw all of his home games. Such a great back and great and talented teams.

Archie was all vision, balance, moves, durability, and determination. You had to hit him with a 2x4 to make him go down. I can't count the number of time Griffin took a direct-on shot from a Big 10 LB, spun off it, and kept going. Never took a play off, never ran out of bounds, and always got the most out of each and every play. And Woodie gave him a ton of carries. He never got hurt, got every ounce of performance out of his ability (and more), and played his heart out. He and Herschel Walker were the two best college backs I've ever seen.

Byars was a hugely talented back. Speed, strength, balance, hands, the whole deal. I was at that Illinois game that GAC mentioned (first game at the Shoe that I saw under the lights) and the show that Byars put on was amazing. We were seated down behind the visitors bench and I can still remember seeing his shoe fly up in the air as he went past. After his excellent junior year, I thought he'd be the next great NFL back, but injuries derailed his senior year and a lot of his NFL career.

Eddie was another great college back. Got the most out of his ability, stayed healthy, and had a great senior year. I never thought he had enough speed to be great, but he had the football speed where he could outrun a DB by .001 seconds and that was enough. He surprised me by being a great NFL back. I still think his OSU number was retired because of his pro career.

Wells is probably the most talented back since Keith Byars. Maybe more strength and speed, but less flexibility and not as good of a receiver. Actually, he reminds me of Jim Brown. And like Byars, he has trouble staying healthy. Wells is like Robert Smith, only with more size and strength.

westofyou
11-17-2008, 01:47 PM
He and Herschel Walker were the two best college backs I've ever seen.
And Earl Campbell he was in that class too.

Emin3mShady07
11-17-2008, 01:47 PM
I would Have to say Eddie and it's not that close.


Most Rushing Yards, Game: Eddie George, 314 on 36 attempts (1995 vs. Illinois)

Most Rushing Yards Per Game, Season: Eddie George, 148.2

Most 100-Yard Rushing Games, Season: Eddie George, 12

Most 200-Yard Rushing Games, Career: Eddie George, 5

Consecutive 100-Yard Rushing Games, Season: Eddie George, 12

I think it is a lot closer than those stats would indicate. Eddie George did have all of those accolades, but I think that those stats reflect scheme and play calling rather than the difference in skill between eddie george and Chris wells. In 2007, Wells's best year, he had a 5.9 yard average per carry. When George rushed for 1927 yards in 1995, he too had a 5.9 yard average per carry, the difference was that George had 54 more carries. George had a career YPC of 5.516 and Chris Wells had a career YPC of 5.671, which, obviously is better than George's. Now, I know I shouldn't base an opinion off of just one stat, but if I was to do so, I would use Yards per carry, but that is also very dependent on the rest of the team.

http://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/fls/17300/pdf/fb/guide/08_Spring_p78to99.pdf?SPSID=87751&SPID=10408&DB_OEM_ID=17300
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/player/stats?playerId=183932

OesterPoster
11-17-2008, 02:02 PM
He surprised me by being a great NFL back. I still think his OSU number was retired because of his pro career.


I don't understand your comment. At the time, they were only retiring numbers of Heisman winners. Eddie won the trophy, so they retired his number. Simple as that.

krm1580
11-17-2008, 02:04 PM
I would submit that Eddie George had one HUGE advantage - Orlando Pace. that being said
1. Byars
2. Wells
3. George
4. Griffin

Roy Tucker
11-17-2008, 02:38 PM
I don't understand your comment. At the time, they were only retiring numbers of Heisman winners. Eddie won the trophy, so they retired his number. Simple as that.

I don't think Bill Willis or Chick Harley were Heisman winners? And Troy Smith will get his number retired?

My comment meant that Eddie George's excellent pro career contributed to him being viewed as a great player and also contributed to his number getting retired. If he would have been a pro dud, he might not have been viewed as such a great college player. All completely subjective and my opinion.

I think there were greater players over a 3-4 year span than George. Like John Hicks, Orlando Pace, Chris Spielman, Randy Gradishar, Jim Parker, and Bob Ferguson that might be more deserved of their number being retired. And maybe even guys like the present Jim Laurinaitis, Tom Cousineau, or Mike Doss.

Don't get me wrong, I love Eddie and I love what he meant to OSU football. I just think that getting your number retired from a storied institution as OSU football means a huge body of work. Eddie was pretty much his great senior year.

BuckeyeRed27
11-17-2008, 03:56 PM
I don't think Bill Willis or Chick Harley were Heisman winners? And Troy Smith will get his number retired?


Chick Harley played before they gave out awards but is the reason Ohio State football is Ohio State football.

Bill Willis did not win the Heisman but was the first African American to be awarded as an All American. He played both ways and became the first African American full time starter in the NFL.

All other reitred jerseys won the Heisman. And yes Troy will eventually have #10 retired.

westofyou
11-18-2008, 02:25 PM
If you are at home now and want to watch Archie run, the 74 UM/OSU game is on ESPN Classic (Bucks win 12-10)

BigggRedMachine
11-18-2008, 02:50 PM
I believe that Chris Wells is the most physically talented Ohio State running back since Archie Griffin. I believe that Chris Wells will go on to have a long, rewarding NFL career like Eddie. But...

The question really depends on how you measure it... in terms of hardware, no. (He could have had the trophy if it weren't for injuries.) In terms of titles, no. (Clearly not his fault, but even Clarett's 2002 team won the title.)

When Chris Wells is healthy and strong, I've seen very few NCAA running backs like him. He's built like a faster Jamal Lewis. He easily delivers the most punishing stiff arm in NCAA football. Can't wait to see what he does against those Wolverines...

Roy Tucker
11-18-2008, 04:55 PM
If you are at home now and want to watch Archie run, the 74 UM/OSU game is on ESPN Classic (Bucks win 12-10)

If you look closely, you can see a long-haired Roy and his 12 pack of Stroh's up on the C deck.

1974, ugh. Michigan State and Levi Jackson.

sonny
11-18-2008, 10:46 PM
I'm a die-hard Penn State fan and even I know Archie was a great back. In fact when ESPN did their 25 greatest college football players of all time. Archie ranked 21st on the list.

I always thought Robert Smith had the most untapped talent. Dude could flat out run with the football. Unfortunately he never reached that potential due to his "philosphical" differences with the team and coaches.

Maurice Clarrett Says hi. Seriously, If Mo had half the work ethic any of these other backs were talking about, He'd be up there for sure. We shall never know.

bucksfan
11-20-2008, 11:37 AM
It is certainly hard to compare given the different things each have been asked to do and the different players that have played with them. But talent-wise I have to agree with BigggRedMachine - he may be the most talented all around combined with the physical gifts. If he would happen to stay and perform as expected next year, he certainly could be the best since Arch. My comments on the others (not necessarily in order):
- Eddie - just over all a great college football player with very good size, toughness, and running-back ability; Maybe no single tool; stands out but no denying what he did on some dynamite offensive teams.
- Keith - His last 2 years overlapped with my college days in Columbus, so I am very partial to him. Illinois game my freshman year is still the best performance I have ever seen. Actually met him at Tommy's when I came down to campus as HS senior and saw hime play years earlier in basketball state championship for the defunct Dayton Nettie Lee Roth HS. It sure was a shame he was hurt his senior year. That darn Flutie pass I swear cost him Heisman. He was a good pass catcher, very shifty, and strong. A senior year like his junior year and I think he would get my vote.
- Clarett - tough to tell what coulda been, as he seemed to have that great "football ability" and a few more tools than Eddie had.
- Robert Smith - was as smooth as smooth. DId not get to be on great teams and of course had the conflict with Uzelac (sp?). I still liked him quite a bit regardless of a stronger personality. Even bought his book (but then again I am a Buckeye through and though)
- Carlos Snow - I had to add him even though obviously not the impact of the others being mentioned. A CAPE product along with Vinnie Clark, he seemed a threat any time he got the ball, and not in the "Ray-Small-I-think-he-should be able-to" kinda way but a more realistic "could-do-it-any-time" feeling. Short but fast and strong and could cut on a dime. My buddy ended up somehow holding his helmet after we rushed the field one game (he didn't take it originally!), and nearly panicked when he heard Carlos yelling for it! Again also during my "college career" so of course the influence of some fond memories is present....