Morning Conversational: What Has Greg Mattison Seen From Brendon White So Far?
The Ohio State football team has gone through a number of changes from January until now.
A new head coach. New defensive staff. New quarterback room.
But perhaps no single Buckeye has gone through more changes than junior Brendon White.
After spending a second or two at linebacker prior to his freshman season, and then a stint at wide receiver, White was moved to safety. Last year as a sophomore, he stepped in during the middle of the season and solidified OSU’s deep safety position for the first time all season.
In doing so, he seemingly settled the spot in the coming years as well.
But then OSU head coach Ryan Day went out and hired some defensive coaches who believed the Buckeyes were lacking a hybrid safety/linebacker.
They quickly locked on to White as their top target at the position and this spring seemingly proved their intuition.
“I think we definitely put him in the best position for his skill level,” co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said last week. “We play a lot of man coverage and to do that as a safety sometimes you have to have the ability to play down on a slot. You have to play against a really good player and sometimes safeties can’t do that. Therefore you come with packages.”
Those packages will see him alternating with Sam linebacker Pete Werner. Depending on the opponent, down, or distance, it will generally either be White or Werner in the lineup.
“Pete Werner is an outstanding football player,” Mattison said. “Him playing outside of the box might not make him as good a player, where Brendon might be. So you come up with what we’re calling the Bullet position where he can cover that guy. We’re trying to make him that position and that’s not always easy, especially when you’ve had a lot of success playing zone coverage as a free safety. Now you’re playing a lot of man coverage so we say how can we make it best for him?”
The coaches know they are asking a lot of Brendon White, and he has been receptive to everything they’re throwing at him. He has only had 15 practices at the position, so he will continue watching film and studying the possibilities of his position over the summer. Then once fall camp hits, he will be getting closer to being the kind of playmaker that the Bullet position requires.
“The thing I’ve really been proud of is ever since the spring — and we had a very good conversation about this — about what he must do to improve, what he has to do to be the successful player we want him to be, and he’s been all in,” Mattison said. “I’ve noticed in the workouts he’s working really hard, so I’m really excited about him.”
Werner is going to make all of you eat your words this year. Guys that are 6 3 235#’s 4.55 speed don’t fall out of tree’s. Last year was his first as a starter. “They” say players biggest improvements are made between their 1st & 2nd years. I’ll be here reminding y’all how your eye for talent is worse than Warinner’s and Fickle combined.
Brenden White has a legitimate shot at attaining at least 1st team All Big 10 in 2019. I also suspect we’re going to be seeing a healthy dose of Jahsen Wint. They’re both very good in coverage, and both guys will cover a lot of ground just to put an offensive player on their back.
I’m trusting that the staff will get the right linebackers on the field. By the end of game 1 we’ll have a very good idea how incompetent Davis was, and by the end of game 2 how pathetic Greg Schiano ran the defense.
My biggest takeaway from this article is Pete Werner is the starting linebacker. What an F’ing shame! So much for a competition this fall… so much for 3 best LBs… and if by some happenstance Werner is one of our best 3 LBs we have missed major in recruiting.
He was the No. 1 at Sam all spring long, fwiw. K’Vaughan Pope was the No. 2. We’ll see what happens in fall camp, but I expect the same starting trio as last year when OSU is in their Non-Bullet lineup.
Yeah, Borland and Werner are proven as far as I am concerned. Proven is not always a positive thing.
Very true. The devil you *don’t* know ain’t always bad … i.e. Brendon White last year.
My reaction is the same watching Werner wander aimlessly all last season and we now have the very defensive coaches that ate 62 coaching and evaluating his play. My slim ray of hope hangs on The Best Man and Schiano being even worse coaches. I’m praying to the Holy Trinity: Gradishar, Spielman and Katzenmoyer.
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