Jersey Scrimmage Notes - Defense

By Johnny Ginter on August 20, 2011 at 3:00p
El Capitan

Watching the defensive side of the ball during the jersey scrimmage, it was easy to tell who this year's impact players are going to be, and where most of the noise is going to come from on the field. The defensive line made the offensive line look silly on multiple occasions; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stringers were all susceptible.

The LBs looked pretty good as well, especially against the run. Andrew Sweat at Will is a revelation. Given room to run and blitz, he is a whirling dervish of pain. Storm Klein and Ryan Shazier both had some notable stops. The secondary did get burned a few times, most notably Doran Grant on a 55 yard Bauserbomb to Devin Smith, but overall played well. With two weeks to go, it seems like barring any long term injury, the depth chart is mostly settled and the defense should be ready to go.

Overall expect this to be an Ohio State defense much like the ones you've become accustomed to over the past four or five years: One that is consistent, tough, sound at tackling, stays mostly in the Nickel, and is strong against the run. It's also a very young defense at certain positions, but with veteran leaders like Sweat, Johnson, and Williams (among others), I think this group could develop into one of the nation's best by the end of the year.

Here are some of my notes from this morning's scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball:

  • Stewart Smith, a 2nd team DL, had a number of excellent plays, including a nice TFL on 4th down in the red zone
  • Speaking of which, Ryan Shazier had a thundering hit on Boom Herron at the goal line to prevent a TD. This defense hits like a mack truck, and Shazier is no exception.
  • As previously mentioned, Andrew Sweat seemed very comfortable at Will, and said after the scrimmage that he enjoyed working there quite a bit. He had 9 total tackles and 4 TFLs. Look for him to get a ton of action this year.
  • Mike Vrabel gave some love to Nate Oliver, saying that he was "extremely proud" of him and the work he's put in. One thing that you can definitely expect from the defense this year is a lot of rotation, especially among the DBs, as the staff tries to find time for the talent they have.
  • When asked about how Fickell has helped him as a coach, Vrabel mentioned that while he has a good grasp of the technical side of coaching, reaching college kids was something he had to pick up from his good friend.
  • Lots of 4-3 in goal line situations, as would be expected. In 3rd and 4th and short running situations, the defense does an excellent job of collapsing the middle of the line very aggressively. The offense would later play against that tendency using some playaction, which worked fairly well. Braxton Miller's insane quickness also made the defense pay for over committing a few times.
  • On the d-line: Nate Williams was somewhat limited in reps, but that may be to prevent him from killing someone. He's terrifying. Jon Hankins similarly looks like a beast out there. Both guys had sacks on dudes wearing black no contact jerseys, but who found themselves contacted anyway.
  • Sweat summed up Hankins in one word: "Dominant." Not bad for a three star rated Sophomore DT.
  • Freshman Michael Bennett was again working with the 1s, and had a nice sack later on.
  • Bradley Roby is your 2nd starting cornerback; I think that competition is pretty much over. Roby isn't a big guy, but he's got speed and should have a lot of opportunities to prove himself if opposing offenses decide to stay away from Howard Island.
  • Tyler Moeller was dressed, but didn't practice. Dave Biddle reported that Orhian Johnson said that he's been limited all of August, and didn't know the severity of his injury. Hopefully it isn't too bad.
  • Fickell mentioned Christian Bryant specifically in his interview afterwards, saying that the coaching staff "expects big things" from him this year. Truthfully, Bryant seemed to get a little lost in the wash today. He's easily the smallest member of the defense, and needs to make sure that his positioning and angles are perfect or he'll get run over.

Comments Show All Comments

Buckeyejason's picture

Good stuff, I'm excited to see Sweat excell thid year.He's paid his dues and I fully expect an All-Big ten year out of him.

Didn't expect Bennett to come in a due what he's doing already but couldn't be happier for the kid.


Johnny Ginter's picture

Didn't expect Bennett to come in a due what he's doing already but couldn't be happier for the kid.

I DID and will never shut up about it, not ever

gravey's picture

me too.  I wish I could find where I wrote it..


Jason Priestas's picture

I love the fact that a freshman linebacker is laying wood to a senior running back.

Also, Bauserbomb needs to become a thing.

original buckeye's picture

Glad to hear Sweat played well. I remember thinking he didn't look that great in the spring game on some plays, and was hoping there wouldn't be a drop off at LB this year.

BuddhaBuck's picture

Thanks for the insight Johnny.  These guys sound like they'll be more Silver Shotgun Shells than Silver Bullets.

Don't text while driving.

Northbrook's picture

I asked Moeller if he was going to be ready today at the Agonis Club dinner last night. He said monday.

Sarah's picture

Good to hear.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

One thing I love already about this defense, even beyond the embarassment of riches at LB and DL, is our secondary. Last year was ridiculously rough from an injury standpoint and now we are just about 3 strings deep at every single position. I love hearing that guys with talent like Pittsburgh Brown, Dominic Clarke, Dionte Allan, Doran Grant, Christian Bryant, etc are backups - that really speaks to the talent we have at every single level in our secondary. 

Buckeyejason's picture

Is the Moeller injury anything to worry about? I hope he finally gets to play a full season and shows his stuff


buckeyes763's picture

anyone see the BTN preview of ohio state, where they said the weakness of our defense (specifically the depth) is our defensive line? ...thats when i quit watching

Buckeyejason's picture

Yeah I saw it, got a little chuckle out of that. Ginardo is a jerkoff.


Buckeyejason's picture



Normal Buck's picture

I just figured you were suggesting he'd been hitting the gin to have made comment like that.

Doug T's picture

The defense will get 5 or 6 shut outs this year!

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Dinardo uttered the same dumbass comments as everyone else. "OSU is in crisis! They have to take a step back! They just have to!"

bucknut24's picture

Not that I like the guy but he does have a point.  There isn't much dept after the starters.  If the underclassmen step up then no problem what so ever but it's hard to tell.

theDuke's picture

Yeah, as forementioned, I'm super pumped up for this group of bullets. Can we just call them v.50cal? or 12 gauges or Howitzers, cause i think that d line is going to hurt people this year. The one issue i can see, from here on my couch, is if a team gets to the second level in the running game. You know, kinda like Wisky last year. And that's where the ?'s have been all along, at the Linebacker pos. Besides our d line, I'm expecting a number of interceptions from the db's. Those guys are just freeeky athletic.


GoBucks713's picture

T-shirt Idea: OSU - where our Linebackers coach does nothing but catch touchdowns

-The Aristocrats!

jenks's picture

I am concerned the defense only looks so good because the offense isn't.

Logic says this isn't the case given the talent and coaches, but it still worries me.

yrro's picture

Hasn't been true for the last 9 years, so I don't really expect Heacock and Fickell to have suddenly forgotten how to coach.

jenks's picture

Agreed. Maybe the better way of looking at it is "the offense looks worse than it is because the defense is so good."

Buckeyejason's picture

Its tough to worry when you churn out top 5 defenses year after year. That's one category that should put our minds at ease. QB play and offensive production is the big ?