New defense a mystery

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Last updated: 03/07/2014 3:16 AM
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Buckeye Defense Will Be New, Mysterious
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring football practice is upon us and we have gotten our first cursory glimpses at an Ohio State defense that has promised to be different, better and more aggressive.

Obviously, on the first day it's going to be impossible to learn too much, which is one of the reasons why the media is actually allowed in. What we do know, however, is that change is very much here.

New coaches have been brought in to spice up the defense, and new perspectives have been brought in as well. In fact, one of those perspectives will belong to Urban Meyer himself.

"I'm going to be more involved than I ever have been just to make sure that we get up to standard at Ohio State on the defensive side of the ball with emphasis on pass defense," Meyer said recently.

Urban Meyer
Photo by Jim Davidson
Urban Meyer

Meyer's involvement should finally ensure that the defense he sees on the field will resemble the types of defense that he finds frustrating to deal with as an offensive coach.

Exactly what that defense is going to look like this season, however, is still shrouded in a cloud of the unknown. It is ensconced in a mist of the unconcrete, at least to the outsiders. To even speak of it could bring unwanted tidings from those who don't want it spoken of.

Don't believe it? Last month cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs was asked what the defense would look like this season, and while answering he had to catch himself in order to not reveal too much.

"I don't want to speak out of turn," he said.

"I don't know that that's necessarily my role. What I would say is that we are going to change our style of play. We're bringing in a couple of guys who have done things differently and so that brings in knowledge to our room defensively."

This is going to be a slow burn. We're not going to be hit over the head with details. There will be a few plot twists along the way, and obviously the Ohio State coaches don't want to spoil things for us. After all, everybody hates spoilers. They're gonna make us earn this reveal.

In fact, I hope I am not revealing too much simply by talking about what isn't to be talked about. Still, this is a pretty big deal, and to ignore it wouldn't be fair to the public at large.

So what will the new Buckeye defense look like? Anything is possible, I suppose. Fans are hoping it looks like the great Ohio State defenses of the past, but they would probably accept a reasonable facsimile of recent Michigan State defenses.

Are either of these possibilities? Maybe.

"Coach Meyer has great thoughts and inputs about what he wants to see and so those are things that we're going to be implementing throughout spring," Coombs said.

"I think when you come to practice, you'll see those things. Again, I don't know that it's my place to speak about specifics. But, yeah, I think there will be fundamental change across the board."

Ah, but the specifics are what we want to know about. What are these fundamental changes Coombs speaks of? Until we are enlightened, however, the defense will remain a mystery wrapped in an enigma tucked away in a curio cabinet stored in the corner of a den of secrecy.

At least give us a hint. Will there be better tackling? Fewer penalties? Catchier motto?

As a guy who prides himself in letting people know when he's right, I'd like to have some type of idea of what to expect. Will the defense at least be a little more aggressive this year?

Can you at least answer that part?

"Yeah, I would think you would see a more aggressive style of play across the board from alignment to attack and so forth," Coombs said.

"And again I don't know that I, I don't want to speak out of turn, but I would say absolutely that would be the desire on everybody's part."

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. We know that the plan is to want a more aggressive defense, and now all they have to do is take that want and actually turn it into a plan.

How will that happen? That's what practice is for.

What will it look like once it's done?

Well, I could tell you, but I don't want to speak out of turn.

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