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).
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
As a part of today’s Army All-American festivities, Ohio State’s defense received a verbal commitment from one of the top defensive backs in the country and a stand out in the state of Ohio.
Cleveland Glenville’s Erick Smith joined a long line of Tarblooders to don the scarlet and gray after a week where he excelled against some of the nation’s best athletes as a part of Army AA practices and scrimmages
Smith, a 6’1″, 185 pound safety led his Tarblooders team to the State Championship this year, and is described as a big hitter with solid hands who can play either the strong or free safety slots. At Glenville, he played on both sides of the ball and is a nifty runner with the ball in his hands.
Ranked as a “four star” prospect by most recruiting services, Smith held offers from Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Illinois, and West Virginia.
His announcement today was not without some drama/excitement, depending on your perspective. Rumors had swirled all week regarding several of the Glenville All Stars choosing a different path; first it was Kentucky, and then there were reports that Smith wanted to postpone making a selection on Saturday so that he could take additional visits to Michigan and Michigan State.
This went against thoughts that he and Marshon Lattimore has been a “package deal” who’d wanted to announce at the Army Game for quite some time (Lattimore will announce in the fourth quarter). So, even though the Buckeyes were the recipient of his verbal commitment today, don’t be surprised if this process draws out until NLOID. It’s the “Glenville Way”, and fans should just take rumors and reports with a grain of salt until ink is on paper in the WHAC.
When Smith reports to Columbus, he brings a skill set that the Ohio State secondary has been looking for all season; he may be a great replacement for fellow Tarblood Alumni Christian Bryant. You can see why in the highlights from the State Title game after the jump: Read More