Ohio State sophomore safety Brendon White stepped up in Saturday’s game against Nebraska when his team needed him the most. The Buckeyes were down three starters after junior Jordan Fuller was ejected for targeting and White came in and soon eliminated any concern.
He finished the game with 13 tackles — eight solo — and two tackles for loss.
While the original plan was for redshirt freshman Shaun Wade to be at field safety and Fuller to be at boundary safety, White came in and performed well in Fuller’s absence. And in so doing, he certainly made a strong case for a starting job opposite Fuller.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said on Tuesday that White and Wade would be splitting reps at safety in practice, and the starting job opposite of Fuller would be determined through their respective performances in practices this week.
Sophomore Isaiah Pryor will be back and working this week, but he was expected to be on the outside looking in. Meyer did say that he could get in the mix with a good week of practice, however.
Both Wade and White have had very unique seasons. Even though coaches had said Wade was competing for a starting job, neither were realy in the mix just a few weeks ago. Both have now taken advantage of their opportunities on the field.
Wade’s role on the team has been transitioning throughout the season. He has seen time at corner, nickel, and at safety. Not many players could do what Wade has been able to do, and his versatility as the No. 1 nickel back makes him very valuable on this team.
White, however, came in and produced like no other safety has this season. But now even though his role could change as he fights for the starting spot, his mindset remains the same. He will always compete to better himself for the benefit of the team, even with the pressure now of competing for the starting job.
“I’m not going to try to change anything,” White said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and that’s going hard every day, having that eagerness to want to be great and wanting my teammates to be great. At the end of the day, whoever gets the starting job, the coaches made the right decision and I’m going to be there if it’s me or if it’s not me. At the end of the day, I want the team to win.”
For co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, he just tries to put the best two safeties out there, regardless of field or boundary. If Wade wins the job, Fuller will move to Boundary. If White wins the job, Fuller will stay at Field. Grinch just wants the two most consistent safeties on the field, whoever that may be.
“It’s matched with the game plan,” Grinch said. “Those guys that perform the best over the course of the week in practice will determine who the starter is and how we split reps from there. We are certainly not opposed to playing more than just one or the other. That’s the message to them, keep competing and the more guys that play, the better.”
Even with an ongoing battle, the team is confident that whoever starts opposite of Fuller will get the job done
“When you got a lot of guys that can play, I know it’s hard for the coaches just deciding who is going to play, but like they said, they are just going to be battling it out,” fourth-year junior cornerback Damon Arnette said.
“We all know both of those guys are ballers and whatever they decide, it’s going to help us.”