Buckeye Football Notebook
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The bowl practices are a time for young players to get a few more reps than they have throughout the season, as there just isn't enough practice time to get as many snaps for players as coaches would like. With the additional practices for the bowl game, those snaps become more readily available, especially on the scout team.
“It's all about making the most of your reps,” said safety C.J. Barnett.
“You get more than you would in the season, but we're still trying to prepare for a game. It's a heightened sense of awareness, that you've got to make the most of every rep because you know you're not gonna get a lot.”
Making the most of those reps is what gets some of the younger guys noticed. When asked who some of those younger guys were, there were several answers.
“Darron Lee has been getting a lot of praise, he's been doing a heck of a job on scout team,” said center Corey Linsley.
“Tyquan Lewis is getting a lot of praise. I'm always impressed with Mike Mitchell. He's not on scout team a whole lot, but that kid's fast. He's really fast. Eli Apple's doing a pretty good job. Kevin Niehoff is another guy on scout team that I see day in and day out and go against.”
“Vonn Bell, definitely, and Tyvis Powell,” were two names from Barnett. “Both of those guys are good ball players and I think that they'll be great for Ohio State.”
Fundamentally Speaking, No Scoops Will Be Served
While Urban Meyer has already confirmed that the plan is to get freshman safety Vonn Bell on the field more in the Orange Bowl, how exactly that will happen has not been confirmed. Meyer didn't say exactly where Bell would play, only that he'll play.
C.J. Barnett, Bell's fellow safety, was just as coy, and when asked what the secondary was working on in practice, he went as vanilla as he could get.
“This bowl practice thus far we've worked on our fundamentals a lot,” he said.
“In terms of pass defense we've worked on breaking on the ball, and just everybody being on the same page. Guys doing their job, that's the most important thing.”
Surrounded by reporters, when asked if there would be any personnel changes, Barnett poked his head above the fray, looking towards Ohio State's SID to rescue him, and unable to get help, went right back to vanilla.
“Right now we're just working on the fundamentals,” he said. “We're just working on our fundamentals and trying to get ourselves better.”
Everybody's a Critic
When Urban Meyer makes mention of the pass defense rearing its head again, it's not done in a complimentary fashion. The Ohio State defense gave up 300 yards passing in five games this season. While most would claim that the Buckeyes have struggled on defense for the last three seasons, the Buckeyes never gave up a 300-yard passing game in 2011. In fact, that defense only allowed five games of 200 yards passing.
The 2012 defense, meanwhile, gave up three games of 300 yards passing, so while it was worse, it still wasn't as bad as it was this year. The criticisms of the Buckeye pass defense this season hasn't fallen on deaf ears among the players, but that doesn't mean they're putting any stock in it.
“Yeah, there's critics for everything,” said Barnett. “I think LeBron James was criticized a lot too.”
“You know, we're winning, and that's the most important thing. Everything isn't perfect, but we worked to get better every week. We win. That's all that matters at the end of the day.”
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