Buckeyes Dealing with Loss of Bryant
By Rob Ogden
Christian Bryantis helped off the field after suffering a broken ankle against Wisconsin.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The reality of the loss of Christian Bryant began to set in Wednesday, four days after the senior safety suffered a season-ending broken ankle in the Buckeyes' 31-24 win over Wisconsin.
Linebacker Curtis Grant said Bryant's vocal, hard-hitting presence is already missed.
"Missing his leadership, just yelling out there, just trying to get everybody back together," Grant said. "But it's just a bump in the road. We've just gotta rally everybody back up together and just keep going."
Senior Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown will now play a bigger role in making sure the Buckeyes stay on their current path.
Meyer reaffirmed Wednesday that Brown is getting the first-team reps in Bryant's absence. He added that freshmen Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell will likely see increased action, as well.
Asked if the loss of Bryant will force Bell, a true freshmen, to accelerate in his development, Meyer said there was "no question."
"He has to be ready," he said.
The real impact of Bryant's loss might not be felt until later in the week, possibly Saturday when Ohio State travels to unbeaten Northwestern, Meyer said.
"Tomorrow we'll see more. Right now it's just a grind. You're trying to get ready," he said.
Bryant had recorded 22 tackles a one interception this season before going down on the final series of Saturday's game.
Bryant's partner at safety, senior C.J. Barnett, took Bryant's injury as hard as anyone.
"It was tough. Honestly, I didn't even enjoy the win," Barnett said. "That's the worst news, not being able to play with him. He's done."
Barnett said a lot of the team went to visit Bryant in the hospital, where they found him in good spirits.
"He came back to meetings today, he was the same Christian," Barnett added.
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier wore No. 2, Bryant's number, during practice on Wednesday. A team spokesman couldn't confirm the reasoning for the number change, or say whether or not the change was permanent, but Shazier does have a history of wearing a number as a tribute.
During the Penn State game last season, Shazier wore No. 48 instead of his normal No. 10 to honor a high school friend who had died earlier last year.
If Shazier does decide to wear the number as a tribute to Bryant, he likely won't be the only one. Grant said he'll etch the number two onto his wristband.
"We all probably will" he said. "That's a brother that we lost. He means a lot to this team. That hurt us last week, all we can do is just go out and win this game for him."
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