Today’s Topic: What’s OSU’s Biggest Remaining Question On Defense?
On Tuesday we looked at the biggest remaining question for the Buckeyes on offense, so today we are asking the same question of the Ohio State defense.
The 15 practices of spring football featured several defensive starters experiencing a lessened workload. This allowed the younger guys to get more reps and answer some of those unanswered questions.
If you’re going to look for questions, the one place you probably don’t need to check is the defensive line. With eight defensive ends and eight defensive tackles to choose from, there are enough answers to pass any kind of test.
Questions do remain in the secondary, however.
Second-year backup cornerbacks Sevyn Banks, Tyreke Johnson, and Cameron Brown all had moments this spring, but is there somebody among them who is ready to step up should something happen to starters Jeff Okudah or Damon Arnette?
We also don’t yet know where senior safety Jordan Fuller will line up when he finally suits up in fall camp.
But there are enough options on the roster to provide answers to whatever question may arise at safety. There are bigger concerns afoot.
Like last year, and the year before that, the biggest question coming out of spring for the defense is still at linebacker.
Improvements should be expected, however. You know how Jahsen Wint looked great at safety in the spring game after struggling last year? New coaching seemed to do him some good. It’s not unreasonable to expect the same thing of the linebackers and their position coach Al Washington.
Leaving the Bullet out of it, because I don’t think Brendon White is much of a question mark, the Mike, Sam, and Will all have some curiosity surrounding them.
Malik Harrison should be fine at Will, but it’s okay to want more than “fine.” And it’s very likely that you’ll get it. Pete Werner at Sam will be doing some different things, but also splitting time with the Bullet.
Of the various linebacker spots, the biggest question is still middle linebacker. Tuf Borland struggled with his Achilles last year and has dealt with a knee injury this spring. Despite the current setback, he should be healthier than he was last year. That can only help.
Behind him have been junior Baron Browning and sophomore Teradja Mitchell.
Browning possesses every measurable you could want in a linebacker, but hasn’t really shown that he can be THE middle linebacker.
Mitchell seems like the kind of guy who could be inserted into a game and have seven tackles in his first three drives.
But who knows?
Going from Greg Schiano’s defense and Bill Davis’ coaching, I don’t know what the ceiling is on the kind of jump these players can make under new management.
I do, however, suspect that it is quite sizable.
This may end up being the most entertaining position battle to watch in the fall — not that any of us will actually be able to watch it.