Buckeyes look for Bryant's fill in.

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Last updated: 09/30/2013 4:44 PM
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Search for Bryant's Replacement Begins
By Rob Ogden

The Buckeyes' first real external test of the season came on Saturday when they faced Wisconsin. They passed with a 31-24 win over the Badgers.

Christian Bryant
Photo by Jim Davidson
Christian Bryant
Their first internal test comes this week, as the try to figure out how to replace senior safety Christian Bryant.

"We had a shot to our team where we lost Christian Bryant. We still feel that way, but the sign of a good team is always someone that really moves on and has someone step up in his place," Coach Urban Meyer said Monday, two days after Bryant broke his ankle on the penultimate defensive play of Saturday's game.

The search for Bryant's replacement began Monday morning at 7 a.m. Meyer said he met with his defensive staff to gather opinions about which direction they should head.

The group was scheduled to meet again at 2 p.m.

Meyer said senior Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown and redshirt freshman Tyvis Powell are the leading candidates to replace Bryant. Brown has played primarily at the dime position while Powell has occupied the nickel. Freshman Vonn Bell is in the mix, as well, Meyer said.

Corey Brown
Photo by Jim Davidson
Corey Brown

In Brown, the Buckeyes have a veteran fifth-year senior, though most of that experience has come as the dime or at strong safety. Still, Meyer said, that experience gives Brown a leg up on guys like Powell and Bell.

Corner backs coach Kerry Coombs said he expects Brown to get the first crack at the job.

"I think as we sit here this afternoon that Pitt Brown will go out and play," Coombs said. "I don't know the exact configuration of how those guys will fit as we go into the week."

But it's not as easy as just plugging in another player and moving on. Meyer said they lost a lot more than a free safety when Bryant went down.

"The issue is going to be not just as a player but who he is," he said. "That's one of the greatest things you get to do as a coach is watch and witness a young guy turn into a man and he has. I can't say enough good things about Christian Bryant and what he means. I'm hoping we can bring him with us to Northwestern, but he's an extremely valuable member of this team."

As well as he's preformed on the field, Christian Bryant adds a lot to the team off the field as well, defensive tackle Michael Bennett said.

Christian Bryant
Photo by Jim Davidson
Christian Bryant

"It's hard too see, how much Christian gives to the program, it's really hard to equal," Bennett said. "I wish you guys could hear some of the speeches he gives in the locker room. He's a huge leader on the field and a huge leader off the field. It's a hard loss but it's Ohio State, we got guys that will step up and fill that role. Hopefully he'll still try to be around as much as he can and keep leading just with his presence."

Receiver Corey Brown called Bryant the "heart and soul" of the defense. Coombs said he's one of the few guys that can command respect with his presence alone.

"He's a guy that has no hesitancy in standing in front of the team and addressing the defense," Coombs said. "There's only a handful of guys that can do that with any credibility and he's one of them."

Asked if there was any way Bryant could receive a medical redshirt, Meyer said he didn't believe there was, but added that he was going to look into it further.

According to NCAA rules, an athlete must have played in no more than 30 percent of the season in order to receiver a medical redshirt.

Having already played in five games, Bryant would not qualify.

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