The Ohio State cornerback rotation and its development over the years has been written about countless times here, so there should be no need to delve into the history of it.
What began as a pipe dream by Kerry Coombs has turned into a new standard for the Buckeyes.
A year ago, Urban Meyer said that things went so well the first time doing it in 2016 that they needed to do it again in 2017.
They were able to re-establish the three-man starting rotation last season even though they needed to find two new starters. This year, with starters Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield returning, it would seem that the rotation would be much easier to establish this season.
What has become an assumption at Ohio State, however, is still pretty rare around the rest of the nation.
Watching from afar the last two seasons, new OSU cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson wasn’t even aware what the Buckeyes were doing.
“No, I wasn’t,” he said. “I mean, I watched from afar. There were times on tape where we would play people that Ohio State had played, and had a chance to watch those gentlemen play, and just going, ‘Oh my goodness, these guys are loaded.’ Just didn’t realize the depth of talent.”
With just one spring practice down and over a dozen more to go, there are still plenty of questions to be answered for the Buckeye corners. The desire for a rotation remains, but the application is still being worked out.
“We still have to talk about that as a staff because we just want to make sure we’re able to do it,” Johnson said last week. “Everything we do will be evaluated, not just team reps, but one-on-one reps as well. Everything our guys do will be evaluated and will be coached to get them better. Rotation-wise, that’s what we’re having our meetings about. We’ll have our plan, we’re just not sure, not concrete on the plan yet. It’s developing, and it’ll be finished here very shortly.”
To translate, yes, the rotation will continue, provided they have the talent to do so. Given the way the Buckeyes have recruited at cornerback under Coombs, the belief is that things will be just fine.
Last season, Jeff Okudah stepped into the rotation as a true freshman in the Cotton Bowl and played well. Okudah is out this spring with a shoulder injury, however, which slows his progress considerably. But his injury also helps to provide reps for second-year corners Shaun Wade and Marcus Williamson, as well as true freshmen Tyreke Johnson and Sevyn Banks.
Whether Taver Johnson will find the talent that a rotation would need this spring is still very much in the air, but he feels pretty good about the Buckeyes’ chances.
“When you have that many guys and you’re able to rotate, then you want to, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “And seeing that happen, obviously it worked. And that’s something that I feel like with the talent that we have, that could be an opportunity here as well.”
Okudah showed signs already that he can be a better CB than both Sheffield and Arnette this season. Wade looked great last spring and could make a significant jump this spring. I see 4 guys being worthy of being in that rotation by this fall. The coaches will probably start Wade slowly with special teams and some mop up duty and have the three with experience in the rotation to start the year.
With Okudah out, that means our worst nightmare, Arnette is pretty well locked in at corner, unless Shaun Wade or Tyreke Johnsopn beats him out. Arnette IS HORRIBLE. What does Coach Meyer and the defense coaches see in him? Were they so influenced by Coach Coombs? I hope Taver Johnson can see Arnette’s ineptness. Teams will be throwing at him continously, not saying Sheffield is any better. Hope Okudah makes a quick recovery and Wade or Johnson or Williamson beats out Arnette.
What do you have against Arnette? Did he sleep with your wife or something? Just let it go. He’s a solid CB and got better as the season went on. He’ll get even better this off season and he much better in 2018.
I don’t get why some fans have these ridiculous hot takes. Because Arnette didn’t live up to your Godly expectations, he should be benched or kicked off the team. How about rooting for all the players on the team develop into better football players instead of wishing they would be cast aside.
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