Tyvis Powell Saved Ohio State Against Michigan Last Season; Can He Help Save the Pass Defense, Too?

By Patrick Maks on August 13, 2014 at 8:15a
Tyvis Powell, American hero.

In case you were wondering, no, Tyvis Powell didn’t make the photos of his game-winning interception against Michigan last season into a poster for his own amusement. But it’s not a bad idea to consider for next year.

“It’s definitely time to go out there and get a poster of me making some more plays,” he said with a wide smile before giggling and bashfully bowing his head.

But Powell, a rangy and talented sophomore safety, doesn’t need many reminders of how he saved the Buckeyes from an embarrassing loss to their arch rival. People do it for him already.

“I got a bunch of tweets about it every day,” he said. “And I get reminded about it every day.”

For Ohio State, it’s a moment that ideally turns into a regular occurrence. Because Powell, an up-and-coming face on a defense looking for impact players, will play a critical role in whether the team’s well-documented defensive overhaul actually works this fall. 

After finishing 112th in pass defense and being a major pressure point behind the how and why coach Urban Meyer's previously invincible squad unraveled in 2013, the Buckeyes are hell-bent on fixing a defense that fell woefully short of expectations. You already know that. 

"When you come to Ohio State, we wanna be considered the best," Powell said after the team's Spring Game in April. "As far as last year goes, we were not the best defense."

Not even close. So Meyer, after vowing to be more involved with the unit than ever before, brought in co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash to help fix a problem that seems so much deeper than just faulty schematics and coverages. 

"Everything is a process, nothing happens overnight," Ash said a few weeks after being hired in January. "Just because I showed up, it doesn’t mean the Ohio State defense is going to be miraculously better overnight."

He's right. There's no magical potion or trick to cure a secondary that returns just one full-time starter in senior cornerback Doran Grant. Powell's the next most-experienced after starting five games last season – mostly as the team's nickel. In that span, though, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder showed bursts of potential that suggests why the Buckeyes need Powell to be someone they can count on this year. 

"He's really stood out and he looks like he's got a chance to be a real guy," Ash said in March. Translation: Powell could be a big-time stud. 

"I'm excited about him. The obvious is that he's long, he's tall, he can run. He's got great ball skills, he's a very smart player. He's got a really good football IQ," Ash said. "Up to this point, Tyvis competes, he's smart, and he's got a little bit of everything."

Powell, like most members of the defense, insists Ohio State is now faster, more aggressive and better-equipped to execute Meyer's small-group cohesion "power of the unit" theory thanks to Ash and a new playbook that's supposed to simplify everything and, in turn, fix last year's damning deficiencies. 

"Everybody’s definitely moving more fast and quicker. You know exactly where people are supposed to be on out on the defense so it just basically builds that trust and that confidence that you know your players are going to be where they’re supposed to be," he said. 

"I’m able to move around and see stuff way quicker than even in the springtime just from studying the film and stuff like that. I even tried to get the other safeties to learn the stuff that I figured out and it just definitely allowed me to go out there and move faster and be where I’m supposed to be real fast."

Remember, that's the sort of stuff that made Powell's heroic interception against the Wolverines possible in the first place. He knew the exact play that was coming thanks to cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and thanks to watching film. 

“That was our season on the line," he said after the 42-41 win in Ann Arbor. "We had 12-0, the Gold Pants, the chances for a national championship. It kind of hit me, like, ‘I saved the season.’" He did.

So now, can he help save Ohio State's pass defense?


Comments Show All Comments

Habu71's picture

With much of the focus being on players that have yet to play a down of college ball, it's good hear of the confidence in players like Powell & Grant. Looking forward to great leadership and play from those guys. 

+2 HS
LoufromOSU's picture

Good luck Tyvis.  We definitely need improved play out of the safety position.

There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you. - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
jdagrava.1's picture

Tyvis did us all a favor last year when no one else could stop scUM from screen-passing and misdirecting all the way down the field.  Now let's see if he can be an anchor in this secondary and bring Ohio State's defense back to the level that it is expected to be.  I know I'll be rooting for him.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

+1 HS
thevman19's picture

Can't wait to see this new look defense. Even with so many new faces in the back 7, I feel that the return of The Silver Bullets is eminent.

The road to nowhere leads to me...

WezBuck28's picture

Does anyone remember what tyvis was rated coming out of high school?

+1 HS
Orangeslash's picture

247 had him as a 3* Athlete, the 36th best "ATH" in the nation.

+2 HS
Amalgamate's picture

247 sports had him ranked as a 3 star with other interested schools as Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Cincinnati, MSU, Minnesota, and others. He's a Bedford (Cleveland) kid. 

+3 HS
LoufromOSU's picture

If you recall, he committed during the most tumultuous times for OSU football and stuck to it through thick and thin.  He comitted the day after Tress 'retired' and never waivered.  Everyone should be behind him 100% (not that they are not).

Here is an older article from another site that discusses his background and commitment to OSU:  http://buckeyeempire.com/blog/2012/06/18/woody-would-have-loved-tyvis-po...

There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you. - Woody Hayes

+12 HS
apack614's picture

He seems like an intelligent and humble young man, I have full confidence in his ability to help bring the silver bullets out of last years slump. Go get em Tyvis!

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

+2 HS
Amalgamate's picture

It seems our defense will be more aggressive this year which will be a welcome sight. I don't even care if there are coverage breakdowns if it means we're playing full speed, attacking the ball, and wreaking havoc on opponents. There were way too many coverage breakdowns last year while playing a soft defense so I'd like to think the change in scheme will help pressure the offense into mistakes even if we don't have all the mental errors cleared up due to implementing a new system. 

+1 HS
osu407's picture

Unless injurys strike (knock on wood), I'm not worried about our safeties at all. 

dubjayfootball90's picture

Said it once, said it many times, and I will say it again. Powell has become one of my favorite players since he stepped foot on campus. No, scratch that. Since he committed and STUCK WITH his committment through that turmoil. I know others did, but for somereason, this kid stood out, and now he is becoming a straight up stud in the defensive backfield. Good things on the Horizon. I can feel it!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
CC's picture

Wasn't it Tyvis that said "The business department isn't on probation"?

+3 HS
saluki2007's picture

The actual quote was “I didn’t hear anything about the business school going down or falling apart.”  Referencing a previous quote of “The football thing is second. Education is what’s first. That’s really what matters.”  It's all in this article

+3 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Good find. Awesome guy.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Buckeye06's picture

Is there any way we get another one of these from Tyvis this year?


+3 HS
sharks's picture

The safety formerly known as Dammit

A man got to have a code...

seafus26's picture

Not to take anything away from Powell but, the coaching staffs, players (including Powell should be evaluated for that 2 point conversion attempt in The Game:

michigan staff:

•used same formation and similar play earlier in game.

•lined up in same formation, keying what was coming, prior to OSU calling time out before the play

OSU staff and players:

• was going to use time out regardless. Everything was on the line and keeping it was not gonna help a final drive, should michigan score. And if they decided to kick after TO, can't carry TO to OT.

• During TO addressed shown formation, and "if they should line up in this again, here is what we're going to do to blow up that bunch formation and not allow them to clear out." If we get pass interference, then so be it.

• other strategy is discussed, as most think michigan was just showing a false hand and would come back with speed option

•players reminded of situational roles and one last time reminded if they do show that look again, do this to blow it up. T Pow was listening.

Props to the good guys.

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+1 HS
seafus26's picture

My quote used above is just my paraphrased words of what I imagine was discussed . Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+1 HS
Myc24's picture

Thank you Tyvis Powell. We appreciate your play last year, and we hope for many more this year. 

"Because I couldn't go for three!"  - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Film study and the predictable medicore coaching effort by Flounder Hoke - defeat is pretty much going to be in the cards for TTUN

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

+1 HS
Larryp713's picture

The confidence a play like that, against a rival in such a huge setting, can be a real catalyst for a young player. I hope that is the case with Tyvis. We are so inexperienced when it comes to the secondary that I am worried if either Powell or Grant get hurt, it will create a leadership gap in that group. Fortunately, Bell, Apple, and some of the other young guys seem to be very mature for their age, so they will have a steeper learning curve. I hope Ash is able to convert these guys to the elite group we are used to seeing!



awlinBrutus's picture

Like Cooper said, let them play as pups and see if they bite, or something to that affect. Our recruiting classes the last 2 years had a lot of talented DB's. I don't believe we were out talented on D last year. Unfortunately I don't think there is huge drop off between Apple and Grant. Talented, inexperienced but deep. Don't forget we have lattimore,smith and webb now so they may contribute, we are due for a pup to blow up.I think the speed and talent on the offense may surprise everyone this year. I think a lot talent was either wasted redshirting or injured last year, on both sides of the ball.


bakerjon's picture

I love that we are talking about a former 2-star athlete saving our secondary....

That said, really like Tyvis and his work ethic, coming out of the coaches doghouse (he used to be known as Da*mit Tyvis to Coach Coombs) and into a starring role. Good work young man. 

"You do what I cannot do. I do what you cannot do. Together we do great things"

AJBor41's picture

Back in 2011, prior to a daughter and the associated lack of sleep and time for certain hobbies, I wrote a few blog articles for a Buckeye site and got a chance to ask Tyvis a simple question. At that time, he was a high school senior and I asked him what he'd like Buckeye Nation to know about him. In his response, he said that "People may be faster than me, stronger than me, and have better high school seasons than me, but they will never outwork me!" Looks like he's continuing to live that, and he's definitely a favorite of mine on this team.

+1 HS
PasadenaBuckeye626's picture

Rewatched The Game last night.  I yelled in excitement after the interception and accidentally woke some people up in my house.  It was worth it

Go Bucks!

tiph88n's picture

I hope he becomes a stud!  He came back to Bedford near the end of this past school year and spoke to my students, as well as the rest of the students at the intermediate schools in Bedford.  The best part...he stressed the importance of being a diligent student and model citizen (very little concerning athletics).  No matter how he plays we should be proud of this young man.

Pain is temporary...pride is forever!

Bucksfan70's picture

Boss Tyvis

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.” - Jerry Rice

Woody16111's picture

As a unit, the LB's need to get better - w/out significantly improved LB play the D will not be ready for prime time. Key to the D is the LB play, IMHO.

As for the DB's - Grant, Powell & Reeves are all very good, and to me the glass looks half full. IMO, Vonn Bell is the guy to watch, I'm looking for BIG things from Mr. Bell.

"There is nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

Completed the "Double Skully" 18-August-2015

TURD_BUCKET's picture

Bring on the "Silver Bullets"

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden