Buckeye offense a challenge for Buckeye defense.
By Rob Odgen
Ohio State players and coaches haven't hesitated to talk about how much improved the Buckeyes' offense is going to be this season compared to a year ago.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Coach Urban Meyer has made it clear that the Buckeyes are a faster team now, and will display a different kind of offense in 2013.
That theme has been well documented.
"Last year, our offense was really good, but this year I feel like it's 10 times better than what it was last year," junior running back Rod Smith said. "I feel like already with just one week into camp we've shown something that we didn't even show in week two of last season. I feel like this offense is really taking off.”
So far, the only defense that can attest to the Buckeyes' supposedly improved offense is their own.
As defensive coordinator, Luck Fickell's squad has to face the new-and-improved offense every day.
After two weeks of fall camp, Fickell said the most notable addition to the offense is speed – not just from individual players, but from the group as a whole.
Photo by Jiim Davidson
"There's definitely more speed. There's more confidence," Fickell said. "When guys know what they're doing and why they're doing it, their ability to play faster is obvious.
"It's not like just because they've been here another year with coach (Mikey Marotti), he's made them from a 4.5 guy to a 4.3 guy, but when they understand what they're doing and why they're doing it, they're a lot faster, and in turn, that makes us have to play a lot faster."
Having to go up against that speed everyday isn't an easy task, Fickell said.
"It's tough. It's an everyday process," he said. "We don't sit there and try to game-plan against our offense, but the reality is, we've got to play against them everyday. It's great work. We see great running backs, we see a great offensive line and obviously a quarterback that can do unbelievable things. That's gonna do nothing but make us better."
The task is toughest on freshmen who are still getting accustomed to the college game, especially when they're trying to defend Meyer's offense. The complexity of Meyer's scheme can make an unprepared defender look foolish. A running play looks like a pass, a passing play looks like a run.
Asked how he was going to compete against 300-pound offensive linemen, freshman defensive lineman Joey Bosa said "I don't really know. You just have to go work hard, go as hard as you can."
Freshman Vonn Bell said the speed of the game has been one of the biggest adjustments for him so far, but when asked how he's going to defend a speedster like running back Dontre Wilson, Bell didn't back down.
"I’ve got speed too," he said. "Dontre ain’t gonna outrun me, I told him that. So, we’re going to work hard. It’s going to be competitive excellence."
"It’s an explosive offense we’ve got here, so we’re gonna try to make an explosive defense as well," Bell added.
Although Smith said the defense isn't the only side that feeds off its counterpart.
“I see guys like Christian Bryant who has been in the rotation since his freshman year, he's really that vocal leader. He gets them pumped up every game day, every practice," Smith said. "Even when he's getting the defense pumped up, he's getting me pumped up because I know I've got to go against him. I don't want them to show me up."
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