28 April 2010
Defensive line - I love what I am hearing about this unit. I could pass along a story about every player on the depth chart. To think the Buckeyes lost three starters from this uint, a couple of seniors who had been integral to the success of the unit over the past couple of years in Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger, as well as Thad Gibson and be better. Yes, I am saying better. Observers are telling me this unit with Cam Heyward, John Simon, Dex Larimore and Nathan Williams will be better than last years unit. Heyward has had a monster spring. He stepped forward as a vocal leader in addition to taking his game to another level. Nathan Williams will be better than Thaddeus Gibson. Think Mike Vrabel. I have always said that you have to believe you are the man to be the man. That is what I have heard about the Buckeye defensive line. They know they are good. One observer said they have the "swagger." One player I want to single out is Keith Wells. He shows flashes of being an NFL player. He is ever finds the focus to be an every down and an ever rep guy, he will be a great player. That intensity and focus are currently lacking.
Linebackers - It is more trying to find the reps for everyone with the linebackers. Rolle and Homan are every down players. They never leave the field. Having linebackers that can cover as well as play the run is what everyone is looking for. It looks like Etienne Sabino has arrived. He was as good as any linebacker prospect to ever come into the program in my time. He has stepped it up and nailed down the third linebacker spot. Dorian Bell is playing so well that the starters all need to keep playing as well as they are playing. All he needs is a shot. Andrew Sweat was not completely healthy. He will be right back in the mix this fall. I don't know what is going on with Whiting. With this depth chart it is hard to stand out but I never heard anything to make me think it was the depth chart that was keeping him from having an impact. I was never really a fan. He is young. Way too early to say he is not going to have an impact, especially with his pass defense skills in this day and age where linebackers must be as good against the pass as they are against the run. A name to keep in mind is walk-on Tony Jackson. He is running with the 2s a good bit. I remember him from high school. He had a very unstable senior year. We know he was a player but the Southwestern City School District was already showing signs of disarray. He was at the new Grove City school then disappeared and showed up eventually at Westland. He is not the usual walk-on. He was a player who was going to see Big Ten offers if he had a more stable situation. What a steal by the staff.
Defensive backs - Torrence, Chekwa, Hines and Johnson look like a really solid unit. I am not so sure about the back-ups. We have seen the staff be very aggressive in recruiting with defensive backs. Based on what I am hearing out of camp I can see why. Veteran Donnie Evege was the only corner who showed he is ready to play. Both Corey Brown and Dom Clarke struggled in coverage. I always saw Corey Brown as a safety. I did not see the hips and the recovery speed to be a corner at this level. I suspect we see him at safety before his career is down here. It is too early to get worried about corner but I would like to see more athletes in the mix. For the first time Ohrian Johnson showed me that he could be the man at free safety. He was always a good athlete but he never showed me anything on the field. I saw him around the ball in the spring game. That is the first thing I want from my free safety. We will see about the back-ups. I have concerns not just at safety but at corner too.
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