'Penny' defense a first for Buckeyes
By Rob Ogden
The Buckeyes debuted a new defensive look last Saturday at California when they put seven defensive backs on the field at the same time.
The "penny", as the formation is known, was used by the Buckeyes in order to properly defend Cal's air raid offensive attack.
C. J. Barnett
Photo by Dan Harker
Senior safety C.J. Barnett said they started working on the formation during practice last week, and that it was something they had never before used.
"I thought it worked pretty good. I loved it," Barnett said. "I had never been in a position where we had seven DB's on the field at once, and I'm for it. We can keep putting it out there."
A defensive back through and through, Barnett said he was thrilled when he first saw the defensive game plan.
"Lets do it, I've been waiting for it, it's been a long time. I'd have 11 DB's if we could," he joked.
Barnett said he isn't sure if they would ever again use the formation, and added that it helps some of the younger guys get more game experience.
"More opportunities for guys to get out there," he said. "Armani Reeves works his butt off on special teams so it's great for him to be able to get out there.
"It's nice to have a lot of depth. With the depth in the backfield, we're allowed to do things like that, which we've never been able to do since I've been here."
Rattlers will bring the blitz
Preparing for a 1-2 FCS school like Florida A&M might seem like an easy task for Ohio State, but there is one aspect to the Rattlers' game that shouldn't be ignored.
Photo by Dan Harker
"Their defense is 100 percent blitz. Every snap they're blitzing," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "We gotta show up and play hard or we'll look silly. The last thing I want to see is people in our backfield. If you don't prepare for it you'll look silly."
Facing of heavy dose of blitzes in week one against Buffalo, the Buckeyes allowed four sacks to the opposing defense.
Ohio State allowed only one against San Diego State in week two, and didn't surrender a sack last weekend against Cal.
Florida A&M has recorded six sacks in three games this season.
Right guard Marcus Hall said the fact that Florida A&M blitzes so much means the Buckeyes can't take the Rattlers lightly, or they'll get burned.
Athleticism is Florida A&M's greatest asset
When asked about what they've seen on film from Florida A&M, Meyer, Barnett and Pittsburgh Brown all said the same thing: athleticism.
"They're gonna throw down the field. They've got a good quarterback and athletic wide receivers," Meyer said.
Rattlers quarterback Damien Fleming completed 70 percent of his passes in 2012 and retained two of his top targets from a year ago.
"He's an athletic guy. He can toss the ball around, he has great athleticism," Barnett said. "He's gonna be a guy we have to contain, and keep our eye on. Their whole team has guys that can make plays, so we'll have our hands full."
Fleming hasn't been nearly as effective so far this season, as his completion percentage has dipped to 48 percent.
Meyer said the Buckeyes' focus is more on themselves than it is on the Rattlers.
"We want to play clean, fast and win the game," he said. "I want to come out of the chute fast, that will be four games in a row. Our guys have come out fast three in a row, so I'm pushing that again real hard."
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