When Urban Meyer hired Alex Grinch a few months back, it was done with the intention of freeing up Greg Schiano and allowing Grinch to continue working in the secondary, which is where he has always excelled.
Schiano will still be around, however, because he loves coaching the secondary as much as anybody.
But this is Grinch’s baby now, and when a coach is talking in the safeties room, it is Grinch’s voice that is being heard.
He hasn’t been around long, but he has been working full blast with his safeties to get to know them, get to know what they can do, and let them get to know what will be required of them moving forward.
They have learned a lot from each other in their brief time together, but spring ball will teach them all much more.
“It will be interesting, and you’ll find out a lot more,” he said prior to spring camp getting underway. “I mentioned to the guys this morning, however important the offseason is, from a meeting room standpoint and from a walk-through standpoint, and we’re cranking all of those things up quite a bit now as we lead into next week, but we haven’t performed on the field yet.”
Ohio State will be replacing one starting safety in Damon Webb, but he was more than just a starter. He was a leader. He called the shots. Teammates could rely on him to make the right reads and be where he was needed.
The safeties have studied up, but once spring practice gets going again, they’re going to have to put it all into action. They’re not alone, however.
“That goes for all of the positions, whether you’re talking about safeties or anyone else,” he said. “We have rehearsed the calls, we haven’t performed the calls. Life changes when there’s a football out there, and that’s what we’re going to find out.”
Like every position coach on the Ohio State staff, there is plenty of talent to work with. The Buckeyes return starter Jordan Fuller, who finished second on the team in tackles last season with 70. His 57 solo tackles were 13 more than anybody else and would have been good enough to finish fourth on the team in total tackles.
The expectations remain high for Fuller, but the Buckeyes need to find him a partner, and then find two guys to put behind them.
“It’s an impressive group of guys,” Grinch said. “I think they have good speed and good movement skills as you look at it. I think the film suggests that Jordan Fuller can be an elite defensive back in this conference and on a national level, and we’ve got to make sure the rest of the guys respond to the challenges that are put forth in front of them in terms of who’s going to be the two starting safeties and the two safeties behind them, and who’s going to be competing for time come the fall.”