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Silver Bullets Reloaded: Defensive Backs

Written August 25th, 2011 by Jim

Orhian Johnson is the lone returning starter in the secondary.

 

After losing three starters from last season, one would think the secondary would be in rebuilding mode at camp. Like the rest of the defense, that has not been the case at all. The starters (with one small exception) have been set from day one.

Continuity in the secondary is important, and the Buckeyes have had plenty of it so far. Outside of the offensive line, communication and coordination is more important in the secondary than anywhere else on the football field, and having the same players together helps out tremendously.

I have been very impressed by the secondary during practice. Despite three new starters, they all play (and most importantly communicate) like seasoned veterans.

Bold prediction time: despite the attrition, the 2011 defensive backs will be better than a year ago.

Here is a player by player breakdown of the two-deep. Read More

Upperclassmen Check-In Coverage

Written August 7th, 2011 by Jim

UPDATE- Photos after the break, courtesy of Josh Winslow

Happy to be in camp- can you blame him?

Following check-in today there are now 104 players ready to start fall camp tomorrow morning.

Not among those 104 are LB Johnathan Newsome, LB Dorian Bell, and WR James Louis. Their official status remains unclear, but they did not check into the hotel today, so everyone can draw their own conclusions from that.

Outside of who didn’t show up, and despite my best wishes from yesterday, it turns out that players arriving individually over an extended period of time doesn’t create much more to write about than when they arrive all at once on a bus.

One interesting note is that former Buckeye and Cardinal OL Alex Stepanovich arrived at the hotel today, and he will apparently be helping the team in some capacity.

The pictures will tell the story of everything else much better than I can with words (1000 to 1 and all that) so stay tuned for more Josh Winslow photographs later this afternoon.

We will have continuing coverage from practice tomorrow morning as well.

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It's coming soon.

It has been a long and arduous off season for Buckeye Nation.

The anticipation and anxiety surrounding the August 12th NCAA hearings alone are enough to put someone on edge. How severely will the NCAA ultimately punish Ohio State for its transgressions?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Next up was the resignation of all-time great Jim Tressel and the resulting uncertainty surrounding Ohio State’s next head coach. Luke Fickell is a great defensive coach and an even better Buckeye, but will he be the long term answer to Ohio State’s head coaching vacancy?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Finally, what initially looked like a 2012 recruiting class for the ages is quickly turning into another source of concern for fans. As I have mentioned previously, it is still much, much too early to give up on the class, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a source of stress for the next several months. Will Luke Fickell (or the next head coach) be able to salvage the 2012 recruiting class before signing day?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Clearly there will be plenty of uncertainty and things to worry about in the coming months. If you are like me, however, you are already so sick and tired of worry and speculation that you have entered a state of comatose. Obviously, being in a state of comatose isn’t very much fun, so I have decided to switch my coping mechanism.

While this off-season has dragged on to the point that it seems like it will never end, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view and the season is fast approaching.

Rather than worry about things outside of our collective control, it’s time to refocus our energies on getting excited about the football season that kicks off in 65 days.

Here is a list of some things that I am most excited about for this season and beyond. Read More

Spring Game: Players to Watch on Defense

Written April 20th, 2011 by Jim

 

Spring is the time for young defenders to shine.

The Buckeyes have to reload on defense more in 2011 than any year since 2006. If you remember back, the 2006 defense had to replace all time great A.J. Hawk amongst many others. The task was daunting, but players like James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins quickly emerged as the next great Buckeye defenders. A defense full of newcomers helped lead the team to a perfect regular season and a trip to the national title game.

Will Etienne Sabino be the next Laurinatis? Will Travis Howard be the next Jenkins? If anything, the players this season have more experience under their collective belts than the 2006 group did, which bodes well for the silver bullets.

Jim Tressel has received plenty of criticism on offense over the years, but on defense there is not much to complain about. The Buckeyes have been a top ten ranked D annually under Tressel regardless of attrition each year, and this season should be no different.

Here are the players to watch in the spring game who will look to continue the defensive tradition of excellence. Read More

Spring Game Primer

Written April 11th, 2011 by Jim

Excited for football yet?

With spring practice well underway and the spring game quickly approaching, it is time to move from “way too early looks” at each position into some more informed analysis based on practice reports.

[Note: I apologize for not getting to the defensive backs in my “way too early looks”.]

This offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The tattoo revelations leading up to the Sugar Bowl and the resulting suspensions guaranteed a shadow over the off season. The additional news concerning Jim Tressel didn’t exactly make that shadow go away.

Fortunately, time heals all wounds, and cracking pads on the field helps to speed up that process- at least for me. After some time off from writing following the Tressel news conference (which is part of the reason why I didn’t get to the DBs), my enthusiasm for football is back in full swing.

So what follows will not only be a look at the DBs for the first time, but also a review of all of the position groups with some updated thoughts based on news from practice. I apologize ahead of time if this ends up being lengthy.

My rebuttal: FOOTBALL!

My attitude this offseason has always been that no matter what happens, when the Buckeyes take care of business on the field everything else will fade into the background.

Redemption through wins.

Off field BS be damned.

Here is a look at how each position is looking heading into the spring game.

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Regular Season Review: Defensive Backs

Written December 7th, 2010 by Jim

No position went through more turmoil in 2010 than the defensive backs. They endured injuries- lots and lots of injuries, position changes, schematic changes, bad stretches in games, criticism from fans, and everything in between.

Through it all, however, the secondary continued to play remarkably well. In fact, some fans might be surprised at just how successful they have been.

Led by the senior trio of Jermale Hines, Chimdi Chekwa, and Devon Torrence, Ohio State was able to field the fourth best pass defense in the country which only gave up 156.3 yards per game through the air. On top of that, the Buckeyes recorded 18 interceptions, tied for the 10th most in the country.

Stats, as always, should be taken with a grain of salt, but given the circumstances, those numbers are impressive.

The secondary will need to be impressive against a potent Arkansas passing attack led by Ryan Mallett. In fact, how well Ohio State defends the pass will be one of the top things to watch for in the Sugar Bowl.

Here is a look at how the players in the secondary have done this season, and what to expect in the bowl game. Read More

Thoughts from the Pressbox

Written October 23rd, 2010 by Eric

Like this, only without the typewriters.

We here at the Buckeye Battle Cry have been working hard at improving ourselves week after week.  The holy grail, of course, is to become recognized by our favorite University as a legitimate news organization.

This season, we got lucky.

Ohio State rewarded us with press passes to the Ohio University game (which Jim attended) and to the Purdue game.  I was lucky enough to be the one able to use the Purdue pass today and I wanted to share with you what it’s like to spend time in the press box.

Afterwards, I’ll regale you with actual football news and notes.  Specifically my thoughts on how the Buckeyes looked from my seat in the stadium.  Read on for more!

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Buckeyes Beat Down Purdue 49-0

Written October 23rd, 2010 by Eric

Oh, it's on...

The Buckeyes came back to Ohio Stadium looking for a little bit of payback and they got it in a big way.  The Boilermakers were completely outmatched, falling to the Buckeyes 49-0 in the Bucks first shutout of the year.  Pryor finished the game with 16/22 with 270 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the day.  The Buckeye running game also made an appearance as Dan Herron picked up 74 yards on 16 carries with 2 touchdowns.

Ohio State started the game with the football on the 40 yard line after Jordan Hall allowed the ball to bounce out of bounds.  The Bucks started out on the ground the first few plays, giving Herron the ball repeatedly.  The strategy clearly surprised Purdue’s defense who was expecting a healthy dose of Pryor all afternoon.  With 5 straight carries, Herron stuck the ball out over the goalline and scored, setting a clear tone for the game.

Purdue started the game out to surprise the Buckeye defense themselves.  A quick pass over the middle gained 15 yards, though two Buckeye defenders were in position to almost make a play on the ball. Purdue switched into their more traditional running offense but were unable to get through the OSU defensive line forcing them to punt.

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