Today’s Topic: What’s the Latest With the Ohio State Secondary?
Ohio State opens spring ball this week and when they do, they will also be unveiling a new defense.
Based on the results the past two seasons, one could make a pretty solid argument that it is long overdue.
Last week, we received what was apparently our first look at one of the significant changes that the Buckeye defense will undergo, as former starting safety Brendon White is now playing linebacker.
Of course, this version of linebacker is a hybrid safety that will play in the box, out of the box, and probably also on top of the box.
Because of those requirements, it is fitting that they turned to White, who has practiced at linebacker, wide receiver, and safety in his short OSU career.
We have talked about this situation plenty over the last six weeks, so we don’t need to get into it again, but there are some other possible developments afoot.
From what I am hearing, the three-man rotation at cornerback may be done.
Jeff Hafley talked about the corner rotation back on signing day and admitted he didn’t understand it when he first heard about it.
“I remember the first time I had [Marshon] Latimore up on a visit [with the San Francisco 49ers],” Hafley said. “And I was so confused, I was like, ‘Why are you rotating? If you’re going to be the top-five pick in the draft, what’s wrong with you? Why are you rotating?’ He’s like, ‘Well, coaches rotate me.’ Then the next year, it’s Denzel Ward out. I’m like, ‘Why are you rotating? What is going on here?’ He’s like, ‘Well, the next guy is probably a first-round pick, too, Coach.’ And that just goes back to I didn’t get it at the time. I was like, ‘What are they doing?’ But the next guy is a first-round pick, right?
“So it goes back to the question: If a guy is good enough to play, we have to get him on the field. And if he’s doing everything right, we have to find a role for him. So if we’ve got three first-round picks at corner, and I’m not saying we do, we’d better find a way to use him, right? So I think we’ll figure that out. We’ll figure it out.”
As it stands now, a third cornerback is going to have to prove he belongs in spring and fall camp, and don’t be surprised if that third cornerback is not Shaun Wade.
Wade played corner, safety, and nickel last season, and ended up leading the Buckeyes with three interceptions and passes defended (10).
Based on a source, Wade may be staying at nickel, which would put him on the field 60-70% of the time, but not necessarily in the cornerback rotation.
There is also the possibility that he steps in for Brendon White at safety and then slides down to nickel on passing downs. We have seen this before, so it wouldn’t be an unusual substitution pattern.
I have not heard that he will be moving to safety full time, and if he doesn’t, that means the Buckeyes are still going to be looking for a partner to pair with Jordan Fuller.
Isaiah Pryor had his struggles last year as a sophomore in Greg Schiano’s defense, but now he’s an upperclassman and maybe his time is now. Junior Amir Riep, sophomore Josh Proctor, and redshirt freshman Marcus Hooker are also going to have opportunities to win the job.
Things could change once spring begins, and if it does, give credit to the players who make those changes happen.
And also give credit to the coaches for catching it before, say, October or November this time around.