Defensive Breakdown

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Last updated: 08/07/2013 5:36 PM
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Football
Buckeye Defense Practice Report
By Rob Ogden

For the first time during camp, reporters got a look at how the depth chart might read come Aug. 31. Here are a few developments that caught my eye on the defensive side of the ball on day four of camp.

Defensive Line

Adoolphus Washington
Photo by Jim Davidson
Adolphus Washington

It’s clear that Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence have the end spots on the line locked up. What was less obvious, however, was who will occupy the two interior positions. If Wednesday is any indication, it will be juniors Michael Bennett and Joel Hale.

Bennett and Hale took the first-team repetitions during 11-on-11 drills Wednesday.

That group did enough to impress senior safety C.J. Barnett, who said “the sky is the limit” for the young linemen.

“Adolphus Washington is an animal,” Barnett said. “Him and Noah and Mike. I know we lost Johnny (Simon), Big Hank (Johnathan Hankins) and all them but it’s Ohio State; one down, next up.

“We’re not worried about what we lost, just who’s next.”

Michael Hill
Photo by Jim Davidson
Michael Hill

Taking second-team reps on the line were junior Steve Miller, sophomores Tommy Schutt and Chris Carter and freshman Michael Hill.

Linebacker:

While the two-deep on the defensive line was fairly predictable, the linebacker groupings on Wednesday came with a few surprises.

As expected, getting the first-team reps on the outside were Ryan Shazier and Josh Perry. But between those two at middle linebacker was sophomore walk-on Joe Burger.

Junior Curtis Grant, who most suspect will occupy that spot come game day, spent much of the day on the sidelines.

Also rotating in with the first team was redshirt freshman Tyvis Powell. Powell is a leading candidate at the star position, which is essentially a nickel-back that can double as a linebacker.

Senior safety Christian Bryant said he thinks Powell is ready for the responsibility.

“Right now I feel like Tyvis has it locked up,” Bryant said. “Tyvis has grown tremendously, not only physically, but mentally. I’m pretty confident in him on the field.”

Highly-touted freshmen linebackers Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell saw second-team action.

Defensive Back

C. J. Barnett
Photo by Jim Davidson
C. J. Barnett

With so many new additions in the defensive backfield, it was interesting to see where each player stacks up on the depth chart.

It was no surprise to see Barnett and Bryant occupying the safety spots, but the rest was somewhat unpredictable.

Getting first-team reps at cornerback were junior Doran Grant and freshman Gareon Conley.

Still awaiting word from coach Urban Meyer about a possible suspension, All-American cornerback Bradley Roby practiced with the team, but only saw action with the second team during the 11-on-11 drills.

Roby made a nice play to intercept a pass in the end zone, but was also the victim of an acrobatic catch by Corey Brown in the corner of the end zone. The official ruled that Brown came down inbounds, but Roby wasn’t buying it and asked the official to check the video.

Also taking second-team reps were freshmen Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and Chris Worley.

Michael Hill Stands Out

Michael Hill
Photo by Jim Davidson
Michael Hill

Possibly the most impressive player of the day on the defensive side of the ball was Hill. He drew praise from the coaches all morning as he repeatedly got to the quarterback during drills.

Hill earned the second-team reps over fellow freshman Joey Bosa, who most considered the more highly regarded recruit. One former player on hand said Bosa looked too light while Hill is all of 305 pounds.

Worley Brings Targeting Rule Back Into Focus

Freshman safety Chris Worley drew a flag when he delivered a high hit on tight end Nick Vannett in the end zone. The hit was one that might have warranted an ejection under the new targeting rule this season.

The play fired up both sides as defensive coordinator Luke Fickell protested the flag.

After practice, safeties coach Everett Withers said they’ll use the tape of the hit to teach the players about the new rule.

“What (the rule) does, it makes coaches on defense make sure you’ve got two or three deep, because it will affect you at some point in the season.” he said.

Injury Update: Safety Jayme Thompson left practice today with what appeared to be an ankle injury. His father tweeted after practice that Thompson had broken a bone in his ankle.

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