Silver Bullet Defense!

Silver Bullets Again?

I wanted to talk about some of the talent we have on defense and how the Buckeyes’ new defensive staff will bring the most out of this talented young roster. This will be a two part article as I look at the linebackers and defensive backs.

Before I get into the staff’s new package and way of thinking defensively, I want to say something about our old “bend but don’t break” defensive package. While it was effective for many years, I think it’s just a little too passive with the development of College Football and all the spread offenses the past 5-10 years. With that being said, there is still a place for it, but that would be more for situational uses.

The one issue the Buckeyes could run into is not ensuring the defense has a true understanding of the scheme while keeping it as fresh in their minds as possible, which could turn into a nightmare. This is a good defense to play when the Buckeyes have a sizable lead that does not warrant the old “Pre-Vent defense” (which I absolutely loath).

Ohio State 4-3 Tight

Under the former defensive staff, our defense (attempted) to limit offenses with gadget plays or a breakdown in the scheme as their only options to move the ball. It was also easy to man up on receivers when you were giving such a cushion to the WR’s. The Buckeyes would just seek a big safety to play as the fifth defensive back, while removing a LB from the field.

That brings me to Coach Ash and his “Walkout Linebacker” role, which will be asked to do an awful lot. Finding this type of player to successfully play this position is going to take some serious evaluating and recruiting. This player must be linebacker sized and will be expected to step out and cover the slot receiver at times.

Needless to say, most linebackers do not excel in coverage, so again this will need to be a special player with speed. I mean if linebackers were that good in coverage, you would see the death of the nickel and dime packages as teams would never get out of their base defense. This position needs a new, much more “Badass” name….I think that would work right there as they will need to be one to be successful.

This could turn into a very big positive for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail as well. How great of a selling point: if you become a Buckeye, you will be able to compete for the “Badass” position and stay on the field all three downs. If you think about NFL teams and what they are looking for, a “three-down linebacker” is one (see Seattle Seahawks).  That is really what it will take to be a high first round draft pick as a linebacker going forward; He must be able to cover as he will be expected to stay on the field for all three downs. Read More

One Fan’s Opinion: Defensive Dreams

Written April 29th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Mike checks back in with part two of his post-spring look at the Ohio State football team, getting defensive this time:

When asked to write about the Silver Bullets, I cannot express to you the level of excitement and overall outlook for our beloved Buckeyes that got me pumped for the passing of summer. This will be an improved and potentially dominating defense that will make us proud as fans.

As far as I am concerned it started with the addition of Chris Ash (DC) and Larry Johnson (DL). These coaches are difference makers at practice, game time and recruiting. The impact is already present as witnessed by over 61,000 Buckeye Fans at the Spring Game.

The scheme employed by Ash will be simple, yet aggressive in the back end of the defense. He will allow the players to use their instincts and athletic ability to make plays on a consistent basis. This will mean more press coverage and much less of the “Bend Don’t Break” mentality we have witnessed in the past.

With that being said I would like to highlight a few players that stand out to me in the secondary heading into fall:

  1. Doran Grant gets forgotten about at times with all the talented youth waiting in the wings. We need to remember this is a former 5 star recruit who is suited to be more physical at the line of scrimmage using his hands and size. I really think he has a big year and finally shows he is the player we recruited. He will also be counted on to be more of a leader this year as we have a lot of youth on the depth chart.
  2. Eli Apple/Gareon Conley will both play a lot this year, though it will be a dog fight to see who gets the starting nod if they can beat out (Armani Reeves), which I think happens by mid-season at the latest. Both players are taller cornerbacks (6’1) that are rangy with speed and good hips. One play during the Spring Game I seen Apple “lay the wood” to Corey Smith as he attempted to catch a pass over the middle making me realize what a good hitter he is as well. Conley covered very well and had his hands involved frequently. In a nut shell, if they both stay healthy and out of the dog house, the sky is the limit for both these young men!
  3. Vonn Bell if healthy is penciled in as one starter at Safety. He missed most of the spring with a torn MCL, and it’s being said he “should” be ready for fall camp which we need. He is fast, athletic, a strong tackler but most impressive is his Ball Hawking ability. He will be fun to watch.
  4. Cam Burrows is a 6’0 converted Cornerback that I think will be the other starting safety. He has good coverage skills and will also be able to be an enforcer up in the box when asked. I am really excited about his potential and cannot wait to see him live in action. The only area of concern right now is depth (especially with the Thompson transfer) but once the rest of this recruiting class arrives, we improve right away in that area. Erik Smith is the one kid who I think will be in the 2 deep almost as soon as he walks on campus and contribute!

I am very confident in our young players and Coach Ash’s ability to scheme and motivate. Once healthy, this unit is going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses in the passing game as well as run support. We will be a young secondary from day one but very solid and a group that will improve vastly as the season progresses.

The Linebacker group is the most concerning to me as a whole. Read More

Silver Bullet Points Works For The Weekend

Written August 17th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Quick notes from week two of Ohio State’s pre-season practices. Obvious soundtrack is obvious

Doghoused

Buckeye 411

  • Thank You- Sad news out of Columbus the past few days; Adam Griffin and Jamie Wood have both undergone surgeries that will effectively end their careers with the Buckeyes, it was announced on Thursday. Saturday, Tight End Blake Thomas from Cleveland St. Ignatius also decided to hang up the cleats, after medical examination of a persistent “stinger” injury revealed the possibility of greater neurological damage from future injuries. All three have been valuable parts of the team throughout their tenure, on special teams, on the practice fields, and in the community. We wish Adam, Blake, and Jamie nothing  but the best, and pray for both their recovery and for them to find a way to continue to be involved with the scarlet and gray.
  • Video Evidence- Friday also saw the charges against Bradley Roby reduced to a class B misdemeanor, after security footage from the bar in Bloomington clarified the events in question. According to the initial story, Roby pushed/punched a bouncer after leaving the venue and trying to return; video showed that he was actually roughly escorted from the premises and then shoved several times by the security staff before “lunging” at one of them. It was at this time that he was accosted and handcuffed.  Interestingly enough, the initial police reports indicated that there was no footage available… Hoosiers, man. At any rate, it looks as if this will be deferred to a Diversion program.
  • But… On Saturday, Coach Meyer announced that Roby was suspended for the Buffalo game and perhaps further, dependent upon his meeting certain expectations.
  • In Rod We… Whoops- As we alluded to in Wednesday’s SBP, Rod Smith will also miss the Buffalo game, one that he was slated to start following Carlos Hyde’s suspension. Smith, we’re told, is being punished for a violation of team rules that occurred in January or February.
  • By Committee- Which means that, by default, the Running Back depth chart for Buffalo will be- Jordan Hall, Brionte Dunn, Warren Ball, and Ezekiel Elliott. Given that Dontre Wilson also plays a part in the teams running game, Marcus Hartman sums up the state of affairs nicely:

Hartman RBs

  • For Those Of You Keeping Score At Home- The “suspension count” is as follows: Carlos Hyde (3 games min), Bradley Roby (1 game min), Rod Smith (1 game), Najee Murray (unknown), Marcus Baugh (unknown). Two starting running backs and an All-American corner. Yup, Urban is sure lax on discipline… wonder if he’ll let the team vote on anyone’s punishment?
  • Movin’ Day- A couple of  positional notes, as JT Moore (TE) and Billy Price (C/OG) move from the warm embrace of Coach Vrable’s defensive line to Coach Warriner’s Legion of Doom. The LoD will be anchored on the right side by Taylor Decker, who’s wowed during spring camp.
  • Getting Defensive- Ryan Shazier ran a 4.35; 5 B1G Quarterbacks have filed for restraining orders. Joe Burger was running with the first team defense on Saturday, and not Josh Perry, which was a bit of a surprise. Noah Spence is up from 227 to 255, and is a bad man.
  • Offensive Notes- Braxton’s leadership continues to draw praise from players and coaches alike. Devin Smith has really stepped up, and was MVP of today’s scrimmage.
  • “Newest” Buckeyes- Here’s who’s lost their black stripes as of today: Joe Ramstetter, Dontre Wilson, Mike Mitchell, Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Cam Burrows, Aaron Mawhirter, Billy Price, and Michael Hill. The rookies have started a cool new tradition- they’re taking the stripes (once removed), and linking them into a chain to indicate their connection to each other.
  • Who Does Number Two Work For? Well, if you believe Patrick, it works for Ohio State, who find themselves in that slot in the first AP poll of the season.

tBBC Roundtable: Ohio State Recruiting 2013

Written February 7th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

After a momentous day for Buckeye football, and after a few frosty beverages, here’s the staff’s reflections on the epic 2013 recruiting class!

Charles Brought Us A New Table!

Charles Brought Us A New Table!

Who’s the player on offense/defense who will make the biggest impact during his career at OSU?

Ken: Mike Mitchell. I think he has potential to have a Spielman/Katzenmoyer type career at OSU

WVa: Offense: I am going to go with one that has been in the fold for a good bit. Jalin Marshall is the guy I see coming in right away and contributing and will have a great career in Scarlet and Gray.

Defense: Tracy Sprinkle is my guy here. He looks to me to be the perfect fit to take over where Nathan Williams left off and really reminds me of my favorite Buckeye to come out of WV Darrion Scott. Good size and plays low and will show early what he has in that motor that never quits.

Tim: For me, the player who will make the biggest impact will be Cam Burrows. There is a question of whether he will play safety or corner at OSU, but wherever he finds himself playing, he will be an impact player on defense. His combination of size and speed could enable him to be a great one.

Jason: Jalin Marshall. All these kids have tremendous talent and endless possibilities, so I’ll put my eggs in the basket of the one who’s the best player in Ohio

Eric: The biggest impact defensively is likely going to be on the Defensive Line, where the Buckeyes are going to be making up the most ground.  A good freshman, like Joey Bosa, could step in and really make life easier for the defense.

Offensively, that’s a little trickier.  The answer is going to be whoever manages to fill the playmaker role for Urban Meyer the best.  It could be Ezekiel Elliott, James Clark, or Jalin Marshall.  It could also be any one of a dozen others who may prove to be extremely effective as a fast, shifty, playmaker.

Mali: I think that we’re going to see some amazing things from Dontre Wilson… I watch what DeAnthony Thomas does in Eugene, and what Harvin did with Meyer at Florida, and I can’t help but envision some fireworks from the moment he steps on campus.

I’m also excited to see what Chris Worley will bring to the table- a safety that hits like a linebacker, or a linebacker that can run with receivers… as the game gets faster, it’ll be great to have a counterpunch.

What new recruit will most likely see early playing time? Who redshirts? Read More

Michigan Recruiting Weekend Roundup

Written November 27th, 2012 by Joe Laing

The weekend was just another building block for Urban Meyer.  There were 50+ recruits in town that got to see a great environment, the coaches and players at an all time high in terms of excitement, and how close knit the team is.  In addition all the coaches and players showing respect for the seniors that will be leaving and the field littered with underclassmen making impacts all over the field.  So lets just say that all recruits were excited, they had a great time, enjoyed the game atmosphere, got to see Urban Meyer’s championship rings, and loved how everyone felt like it was a family atmosphere.

Now that we got that out of the way way we can talk about the information that really matters:

  • The Glenville 3 (’13 Chris Worley, ’14 Marshon Lattimore and Marcelys Jones) were in town and will all be Bucks when the time is right
  • WR and LB recruiting are clearly the two biggest positions that Urban Meyer and staff after after. At the WR position OH WR Shelton Gibson was in town and as we have said for the past couple months if all is in order in the classroom Shelton will be a Buckeye.  KY WR James Quick has said all the right things after his visit and I have penciled him in the class.  Urban Meyer is personally handling his recruitment and he doesn’t miss very often.  Juco WR Corey Smith was in town and the staff reaffirmed his OFFER, and encouraged him to revisit for an official in January and it sounds like Brown will take them up on that offer.  At this point I think that the staff would take all three and add to Jalin Marshall, Zeke Elliott, and Taivon Jacobs and be very happy with their offensive playmakers for the ’13 class. Read More

April Showers Bring Silver Bullet Points

Written April 19th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Thursday’s cup of Mulligatawny, carefully crafted for the best damn fans in the land… since you know how to ask. Fingers crossed for good weather on Saturday!

Mr. Romance, That's Me.

Buckeye 411

  • We Talkin’ About Practice- Today’s event was open to the press, and was a bit less spirited than last week’s affair. Afterward, Coach Meyer said that this was pretty typical, given how hard the team had been working. Highlights included John Simon being John Simon, Jordan Hall making plays in space, Sabino doing a great job bringing pressure, and some standout opportunities from some of the younger Bucks, including a couple of great plays from new DL Chris Carter and Connor Crowell. We also are hearing solid things about Michael Bennett… Bennett, Hankins, Simon are going to be in a lot of offensive coordinators’ nightmares, methinks.
  • Injury Update-  Lots of dings and nicks today: Shazier and C. Jones were out altogether with an illness, and Christian Bryant, Curtis Grant, CJ Barnett, and even Drew Basil were banged up. And that’s on top of the guys who have been rehabbing all spring: Storm Klein, Wood, Domicone, Nathan Williams, Reed, and Perry.
  • Tie? Today’s practice ended in a “tie”, with no winners and no losers.  The coaching staff reminded each other that this is like kissing your sister… one more aspect of the SEC that Coach Meyer has brought to Columbus.
  • Getting Drafty In Here- By the time you’re reading this, the football staff will have drafted teams for the Spring Game; Coach Hermann against Coach Fickell.  And the draft will not just include players, but athletic training staff, team secretaries, etc. We’ll have full coverage at tBBC once the lineups are announced.
  • Format- Four 10 minute quarters. Clock will stop in 1st half. Running clock in 2nd half.
  • Passing? Fancy!  Don’t expect the Spring Game to make Woody proud- the QB’s will be off limits for contact, and it will mostly be a passing scrimmage according to Coach Meyer.  He’s a bit worried, though, about the catching part of that exchange.
  • N00bs- Coach Meyer said that Taylor Decker (who got time with the one’s today), Mike Thomas, and Brionte Dunn have really excelled during the Spring Workouts.
  • Where I Disagree With Urban- The losing team on Saturday will get to do some Community Service, mostly likely in the Buckeye Grove dedicated to OSU greats. I love this idea, but don’t think that Community Service should ever be a punishment.  That being said, he’s Urban Meyer and I drive a Honda. FWIW.
  • If Only I Were A Student- I could tell him myself in the open forum that’s coming up in May.  Wonder if anyone will try to take him up on his offer to kick a field goal in next year’s spring event
  • That Awkward Moment- The Four Letter Network was in town today for interviews and practice footage… all while they are still involved in suing the University.
  • Anyway- Some great quotes from their time with the Buckeyes, including Stoneburner saying that this team sees the season as twelve bowl games and The Game as the Superbowl.  Braxton compared the new offense to Oregon in tempo- the goal would be to run 80 plays a game and create mismatches in conditioning as well as talent and strategy.  Let’s just hope that’s the only “Oregon” aspect we see in Columbus (more later).
  • Get Them Now- Between 45 and 60 K tickets have been distributed for the game; and Students get in free with ID.  Pack the ‘Shoe!!
  • Oh, And By The Way- I love Cam Burrows. That is all. And no, I’m not going to tweet at him to tell him so.

Read More

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