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
Ohio State realizes just how important recruiting and developing depth. And after years of linebacker issues tormenting Ohio State because of injuries, attrition, lack of development and a couple recruiting misses; the Buckeyes seem to be working hard at repairing the problem. Maybe over-repairing? I do not believe there is such a thing.
The great thing with the linebacker position is they can usually be moved to another position if better suited. They don’t have to stay at linebacker to contribute. If they have the frame to add size, they can move to a pass-rushing defensive end spot. If they are a “tweener” and fast enough, they can slide to safety.
If they’re versatile enough, they can move over to tight end (Sam Hubbard). And no matter what, they are almost always an asset on special teams, regardless of their position. In the 2015 class, the Buckeyes have already earned verbal commitments from Hilliard and from Dublin’s Nick Conner.
Benedictine’s Jerome Baker moved up his decision to this Friday, July 11th.
Could he be next?
As we sit here today, THE Ohio State Buckeyes have 10 commits and are looking good with top flight talent waiting in the wings. Over a month ago I wrote an article about how we as fans should not be worried because Urban and Company would take care of this in short order. Feel better now?
The staff had a great week, and we should be excited as Buckeye fans. We now have commitments from:
As of right now, I do not think the staff could be happier with this 2015 class. This does not include the 2016 commitment of OL Tyler Gerald, which only helps bolster the future OL and can start recruiting other kids in the 2016 class. To me, the best part of all of this is how Urban and Company have started putting that fence up around OHIO and the best kids. Kevin Feder was the only out of state kids during this haul…..NICE!!!!
I guess the most common asked question is who is next? Read More
It has been reported and confirmed that Joe Burrow committed to The Ohio State Buckeyes! That said, Burrow will most likely be the only quarterback taken this year unless Torrance Gibson comes this way. Some may see that as a bad thing, but with 2016 being a strong group of quarterbacks and Danny Clark coming in 2017, I think we could be in a much worse situation. To top it off, Burrow’s commitment has landed us a visit from Chris Clark, and he is working to help recruit a lot of these national kids! As a side bar, both Burrow and Clark showed up to the Elite 11 yesterday decked out in The Ohio State gear!!! (all smiles)
Then there is Damien Harris being interviewed here (all smiles):
“It’s still kind of cool the way things go with Coach Meyer,” Harris told cleveland.com Sunday, while attending a Nike Football Training Camp at Ohio State. “As a kid growing up, I’d see him on TV and I was like, ‘Man, he’s the man.’ And now I get to be real cool with him. We walk into a basketball game together, we just get to enjoy life together right now – maybe for the next four years. It’ definitely been a blessing. I get to be looked at as important enough to spend time with one of the greats of all time. It’s definitely an honor. I don’t take it for granted. I’m real thankful for it.”
If you have read all the reports you know that Justin Hilliard is now an OSU lean, in my opinion. Why else would you be recruiting other players to come to OSU, and befriend Raekwon McMillian. Remember, Sam Hubbard is an ex-teammate and very good friend (all smiles).
Now we get to Matthew Burrell, the big OL out of Virginia. This young man is 6’6, 290lbs and I would now say a Buckeye lean after his visit this past weekend. I heard he absolutely loved it and will be back (all smiles). Read More
One of the “bigger” recruiting weekends of the spring has gotten off to a great start, as Cincinnati Moeller’s Sam Hubbard has verballed to Ohio State to become the 6th member of the 2014 class.
Hubbard was initially a verbal commitment to Notre Dame for Lacrosse, but decommitted in the past couple of weeks and has said that he was going to focus on football for his college career. This decision came shortly after receiving a scholarship offer from Ohio State; many insiders saw “the writing on the wall” regarding his eventual choice.
In addition to Notre Dame (lacrosse), Hubbard held offers from Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, Illinois, Boston College, and The University of Miami. At 6’6″ and 225 pounds, he’s projected as defensive threat- he plays safety/linebacker for Moeller; similar to Ohio State’s “Star” position. There’s also speculation that he may be a “Leo” in OSU’s system.
After the break, check out his junior season highlights. For a different look at his speed and athletic ability, his Hudl.com profile includes some lacrosse action.