Bell to Play

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Last updated: 12/29/2013 1:38 PM
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Football
Bell To Play More in Orange Bowl
By Rob Ogden

After two miserable performances from the secondary to close out the calendar year, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said there will be a personnel change.

Moments after stepping off the airplane Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Meyer confirmed freshman defensive back Vonn Bell will see significant playing time in the Orange Bowl against Clemson Jan. 3, and will likely start in the Buckeyes' nickel package.

Bell's move to nickel could slide redshirt freshman Tyvis Powell  to free safety, pushing senior safety C.J. Barnett back to the strong side.

The odd man out will likely be senior Corey Brown, who has started the past eight games in place of the injured Christian Bryant.

In all likelihood, Brown will fill the dime role, a position he occupied through the first five weeks of the season.

The Ohio State defense surrendered a combined 755 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns against Michigan State and Michigan — two teams not known for their offensive prowess.

Meyer has questioned his secondary's proficiency all season, now he's hoping Bell is the answer.

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier has been a steady force for the Buckeyes all year. He said he thinks Bell can bring something extra to the defense.

"Vonn is a really good athlete and a really good player," Shazier said. "He changes up the game when he gets in. His athleticism and judgement on balls. I feel like he can help out a lot when he's in."

In some ways, the freshman out of Rossvile, Ga. is being baptized by way of fire.

The Spartan and Wolverine aerial attacks are nothing in comparison to what the Buckeyes will face against Clemson, which possess the 11th-best passing game in the nation and one of football's top receivers in Sammy Watkins.

Bell has appeared in all 13 games this season, but most of that experience has come on special teams.

He has 12 total tackles including one tackle for loss.

He's not just an ordinary freshman, though, Shazier said.

"The thing with Vonn, he started off like any other freshman: lost, didn't know what to do," he said. "But now he gets it and he knows what he's doing. I think he's ready to step in."

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