Al Washington Enters Ohio State Linebacker Room With Returning Starters, Yet Uncertainty

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buckeyestu's picture

The linebackers surely can't play any worse next season.

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BiggHoww's picture

2019 the season of hurt feelings

The ugly truth is often downvoted

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chef2323's picture

Surely you can't be serious

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3ydncloudofdust's picture

"You have to play with emotion, you can't let emotion play with you." - Ryan Day

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BrazilianBuckeye's picture

I still have nightmares in which Borland turns to look incredulously at a runner/receiver behind him moving downfield, then giving futile chase in his waddle-like macro speed, hoping a safety or cornerback can do his job for him.

OSU 2019 defense - The Twelfth Man

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tjjordan's picture

We all know what we need to do we just have to wait and see if it gets done. 

tj

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EasyEMoney5's picture

There is way too much talent in our linebackers for them to under-perform. They struggled this year, but based on talent alone I have high expectations for this group overall. The on-field results aren't there, but based on rankings this has to be one of the most talented rooms in the program. If there is a massive difference in LB play next year, it will just confirm what we already knew, Davis just wasn't adept at developing players or recruiting them.

E

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BuckeyePat's picture

I was going to write a post but you definitely beat me to it. . WAYY too much talent for guys to be looking lost

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PhillyNut's picture

Recognizing that Davis was not (for good or for bad) solely responsible for linebacker recruitment your last sentence contradicts your third sentence. "but based on rankings this has to be one of the most talented rooms in the program" then "Davis just wasn't adept at developing players or recruiting them".  I think we will find it was the development issue.

I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!

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stpetebuck's picture

Yes development not recruiting. 

Look back and watch Darron Lee fight through blocks. Haven’t had really anyone develop the hands to do that. But anticipating and burst, at the optimal angle, may be at the top of the list. That’s half technique and half scheme. 

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wyatt's picture

 Very good write up Colin on our LB coach and situation. Great minds think alike. /s

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dan_isaacs's picture

If #32 is starting over #17 and #5, my head might explode.

Dan Isaacs

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gobucks5413's picture

I didn't know Keandre Jones was already a senior. I thought he'd be a monster (and Hilliard fo that matter)

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Grouchy_Old_Vet's picture

https://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/scholarship-grid

Its crazy to see some of the names that are juniors and seniors already. Where does the time go?

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BurningRiverBuckeye's picture

Did he not redshirt a year? I thought him and Haskins came in the same year and Haskins is a RS soph. 

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Byaaaahhh's picture

Not sure about his classification but I think I remember seeing him on special teams and garbage time before 2018. 

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cdub4's picture

Jones never took a redshirt.

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whalewars's picture

Anyone would be an upgrade, but to add the little slap to Coach Harbaugh, Day and Washington have my votes of confidence.

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Txsbuckeye's picture

Browning, Borland, and Barrison

#TheBuckeyesAgainstTheWorld

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3ydncloudofdust's picture

Well Harrison has a job - the rest are up for grabs IMO. 

"You have to play with emotion, you can't let emotion play with you." - Ryan Day

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DCDDC's picture

The Killer B's

m GO BLOW!!!

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WorthyBuck's picture

Borland is not big, fast, or atheltic enough to be a suitable starter on a team/progrm of this level.  He is a weak link and unless the ball comes directly to him he is unable to make the play.  It is frankly embRassing how slow he is.  Just in the Rose Bowl he failed to mke numerious plays simply because he was not fast enought to get to the ball.

He is a MAC talent who should never see the field here again.  

Borland is not the only problem, but his ceiling is lower than what an acceptable level of play for a starting LB at OSU should be. No amount of experience or coaching will ever make him good enough. He is to Ohio State as Aaron Craft is to the NBA.  Just not good enough athletically.  

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a.buck's picture

How do you really feel tho?

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Trebor40's picture

Borland's strength will hopefully become a team strength and that is diagnosing a play and tackling with solid form. Coach Mattison has historically done this with his defenses VERY quickly and I believe THAT will have easily as much of an impact as Washington for NEXT season! 

The Craft comment actually stings and shows your jealousy more than his failings. You cannot imagine anyone looking like him dusting you and so you attack him. Yet putting Aaron Craft, "Not one of, but THE quickest defensive guard tOSU has EVER had" Scoonie Penn in the same description as Borland is as ridiculous and pointless to your reference as the comparison you are trying to make between college football and the NBA! 

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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allinosu's picture

I don't see it at who will start but how much the rotation plays out. It appears they all have flaws somewhat but who does the best with the scheme that will be used will determine playing time. I think there will be several used on a regular basis.

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NHBuckeye's picture

I'm hoping to see Browning, Mitchell, Harrison as the starters.  

Fields of Dreams

 

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MDBuckeye23's picture

I am actually in agreement with you right now on January 10, but my hope is that none of them (not even Harrison and I am a big Harrison fan) have a job. Day 1, Washington needs to walk in there and say that the 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes currently do not have any starting linebackers and have a totally open competition. I think Keandre Jones is going to make a serious push on the outside and his speed/hitting will be a big time plus in the pass rush. 

I would also love to see moments with a combo of Cooper/Z.Harrison/Young/M.Harrison/Cornell in the Rushmen dropping Browning and Mitchell into coverage and sending Jones or Gant on the backside blitz!

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BbBnD's picture

I wouldn’t expect a ton of Harrison in 2019. He’s obviously a physical specimen, but he has a looooong was to go on technique. He’s very raw. 

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

How about a Defensive Coordinator that runs a scheme that puts the LBs in better position to make plays instead of putting them on the line of scrimmage where they get taken out too easily? I dont think Greg Schiano did Bill Davis any favors in that regard. That might a reason why Day went after both Mattison and Washington. They work well together.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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MiamiBuckeye's picture

Let’s just hope that it was Don Brown’s fault that Michigan played terribly against good offenses after shutting down cupcakes (Penn State was the exception)

"porque las estirpes condenadas a cien años de soledad no tenían una segunda oportunidad sobre la tierra."

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PhillyNut's picture

I expect/hope that they did work well together but remember that Washington was only there a year and both were position coaches so he never had to work within a scheme owned by Mattison.

I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!

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bornbredbuckeye's picture

I was also wondering if the defensive scheme would change a little or even completely with a new DC, 4-3 to a 3-4?

GO BUCKS!!! *ichigan sucks!!!

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Gflbuck's picture

I for one would not like to see this with not with out our D-Line and LJsr.  I am doubtful he'd allow it either being assistant head coach now but just a rookie arm chair guess.

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MiamiBuckeye's picture

With better linebacker play this team would have been in the playoffs probably. Looking forward to what Al Washington can do

"porque las estirpes condenadas a cien años de soledad no tenían una segunda oportunidad sobre la tierra."

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Dominus's picture

I too am definitely looking forward to what Washington does with the Buckeye linebacker corps. It will be great to have a pair of qualified fresh eyes looking at our linebackers and ensuring that the best players get developed and actually play. It will also be great to see what our new co-defensive coordinators do with scheme and positioning of our elite players.

I really like what Ryan Day is doing thus far in doing his best to fix something that was quite obviously broken. I'm excited to watch how this team develops under Day's guidance as it appears that there will no longer be any favoritism towards senior players and full accountability demanded from under-performing coaches.

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Seattle Linga's picture

Nice article Colin.

I feel confident in the future and that the right man is on the job but what does the current depth chart look like heading into the 2019 season. Gonna have to make huge strides to get different results. 

Go get'em Cal Poppy - we are behind you !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

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ollie81's picture

I wouldn't put the blame on the players only.  They were constantly out of position, stacked at the line with nobody at the second level to stop a big play.  Hell the DB's were bailing 20 yards away from the WR's all year.  The defensive scheme was a joke, it looked like a prevent defense all game. 

"Because I couldn't go for three."

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PhillyNut's picture

Actually looked half like they were defending on a fourth and short with the front 7 until late in the year.

I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!

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BuckeyePat's picture

Too much talent to waste. . Let’s just hope we figure out who to play before week 10 like we did with White. I’d say give me Browning, Harrison, and Tuf with a rotation with Mitchell till Teraja gets some experience

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analyticalguy's picture

I'm hoping to see LBs in position and making plays. I don't care who.

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SoulPatrol32's picture

I’m ready for a shakeup in the LB room. Harrison can be a star when playing disciplined and some of the other guys hopefully will respond well to a fresh chance at playing time. I personally would like to see some combo of Jones, Browning and Harrison on the field. 

Just posting and hoping my comment isn’t deleted. 

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Buckeye Hill's picture

I just want the LBs coach up!

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Hovenaut's picture

Once upon a time...Linebacker U.

Need to reclaim the standard. 

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buckguyfan1's picture

Buckeye LB's should be feared...

Simplify...

9-0 and a chance to go 10-0...

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SoulPatrol32's picture

Obligatory 

Just posting and hoping my comment isn’t deleted. 

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@osu.fbu's picture

We definitely need to go back to giant shoulder pads and visors.  They could make Screech look intimidating.  

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Kugel's picture

I don't think that Kat needed big shoulder pads and a visor to be intimidating.

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GoBuckeyes1020's picture

This group reminds me a lot of the receiver room before Brian Hartline took over. Great athletes not meeting expectations. Hopefully we see a similar jump in production from this group with new leadership. As was the receiver room just a year ago, the linebacker room is filled with a ton of untapped talent.

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, take your pick

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stpetebuck's picture

Great analogy here!!!

i told my my Ttun friend that if the 13-1 Buckeyes had an ‘above average’ defense it could have been 15-0. 

Those defensive stats are shockingly bad. We have the highest composite player rating in the country. Yes those d coached all deserved to be fired. 

https://247sports.com/Season/2018-Football/CollegeTeamTalentComposite/

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45has2's picture

One's father playing for Ohio State seems like a connection to Ohio State to me.

Censores irrumasti.

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MDBuckeye23's picture

I think you have to work on your reading comprehension. Washington has a connection to Ohio State, Billy Davis did not. 

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Cooper's picture

Being a captain shouldn’t mean you’re entitled to playing time. If you can’t get the job done, you shouldn’t be out there. If Tuf starts the next two years, Teradja will have to wait until his senior year to start. That’s cringeworthy. 

This is definitely where I parked my car.

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Byaaaahhh's picture

A lot of people were complaining that Tuf was too slow. IIRC, wasn't that one of the knocks on Teradja too?

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Cooper's picture

Teradja was on kickoff this year and would fly down the field and blow up the upback, time after time. I don’t foresee speed being nearly as big an issue with him as it is with Tuf.

This is definitely where I parked my car.

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BbBnD's picture

I recall that being a “weakness” for Mitchell too. However, when they’re using that as a criticism for the #2 ILB, it may mean he has decent speed, but doesn’t have elite speed. Borland is straight up slow. He’s got solid instincts, but watching him try to defend anything outside of the tackles, or god forbid a pass, is painful. 

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Gametime's picture

If I recall correctly, that was the year before he came to OSU...that he had gotten a little soft around the edges and didn't maintain elite conditioning or workout habits... I'm sure that wasn't and hasn't been the case being a part of Coach Mick's dojo and with the way he's looked on Special Teams... give me Harrison, Mitchell, and Browning with some Gant and Jones sprinkled in... I'm definitely over Werner and Tuf...

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

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robocard's picture

At this point, I would settle for consistency from the group. A tackle for loss followed by a 70+ yard run was just frustrating to watch. Do your job each down and we will be much improved. Harrison looked great for a few plays and then was missing, If Borland cannot improve his speed/quickness, then next man up. Hard to say which direction Werner will go and it is time for Browning to start playing like a 5 star. 

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TheDizzle's picture

Speed and Aggression.

Keandre Jones, Baron Browning, and Malik Harrison

"The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish" - Charlie Chaplin

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typeOHpositive's picture

Nothing against these two young men personally, I hope they have great, successful lives, that being said I don't want to see Borland or Werner starting at LB again. Borland is just too freakin slow and if I see Werner bounce off another ball carrier/not make tackles I'll lose it. They are not Buckeye caliber LBs, sorry if that hurts feelings but you don't come to Ohio State if you think just being there makes you a starter, you gotta be the best and prove it every day.

"I don't want to be around average, why be around average!" -UFM

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bornbredbuckeye's picture

Make Weiner a captain of the special teams. He tore it up when that was all he played.

GO BUCKS!!! *ichigan sucks!!!

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BbBnD's picture

Werner could be good if he adds some mass. He probably shouldn’t have been starting until at least his 3rd year in the program. He needs some josh perry-like muscle mass additions. 

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ZeroDimension's picture

I’m worried a lot less about mass and more about how he tries to tackle.  I’ve seen some very bad angles , which is a better excuse than what looked like running away from contact . 

I don’t know the difference in special teams tackling versus linebacker, but he is one of the worst tacklers on the defnese.  Maybe special teams is more about getting there and running into someone since you are flying down field that force knocks them down.  

I don’t want the current Pete Werner on the defnese, but if he learns how to tackle I could see some huge upsides.  But I had more issues with him than Borland, but unless his speed was severely impacted due to injuries and needed more time to recover that he was not given, I’m not sure how you play him 

One Shoe

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rblackbu's picture

New DCs, new position coach and new D philosophy...spring ball is gonna be exciting to see who steps up. I think every backer on the roster will be given their chance to earn it. It’s gonna be a clean slate. 

"When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself..."

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Mrban Ueyer's picture

Why was Browning moved inside when he played outside his own HS career? Were we thin on inside LBers? Why not just let him play his natural position? 

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Dignan's picture

I really want to see Keandre Jones get some playing time. I think that guy could be a beast.

On the run from Johnny Law...ain’t no trip to Cleveland.

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BuxLax's picture

I am counting on scheme being the major issue in 2018. 

Perhaps it was too "complex" and we asked players to read and react instead of react. Maybe we transitioned from LB focused scheme to DLine focused (over the last couple of years) and with the loss of Bosa, we put the LB in "no mans land".  I saw flashes of brilliance with LB's (mainly Harrison) filling the hole and making 2-3 yard losses.  Whatever the case, I support Day's simplifying the scheme and letting players athletic talents take over as  the right approach. 

and no Coach Day did not ask for my advice. He came up with it all on his own. !!

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Bigfry's picture

I am sick and tired of the criticism of Tuf Borland. Everyone was on his bandwagon when he came in to play the mike after the Iowa fiasco. Browning is not a Mike LB. Tuf Borland played on 1 and a half Achilles’ tendons. Did any of you drug store QB’s play on a bad or not fully healed Achilles, I have. Constant pain!!!! He is a natural Mike. In the mind of Zach Boren. Werner is a poor excuse of a LB. he was Urban and Zdavis’s favorite. How in the h—- did hecgrade out as champion game after game, when he consistently took poor angles , got

trapped inside as missed tackle after tackle.

Harrison, Borland, Browning backed by Jones, Mitchell and Grant. Nuff said

Jack L Frysinger

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mb5599's picture

not sure anyone is personally attacking borland, just his speed.  you have to admit that he got left in the dust on quite a few plays.  probably due to the achilles, but if he cannot physically keep up, he needs replaced (except for when we play michigan since they just try to slam it up the middle on every play).  no position on this team should be safe.  if you are not performing for whatever reason, they need to let someone else have a shot.  hopefully borland will be completely healed by fall practice and can perform better.  best players need to play. 

Big B

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Buckeye06's picture

He's a MLB.  They by nature are the slowest LB.  The game is changing so of course they need to cover, but he shouldn't be out on an island with WRs often.  If he takes the right angle early in the play and diagnoses, then speed isn't that important.  A MLB shouldn't be in a "chase" position often 

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BbBnD's picture

If injury issues inhibit a player’s ability to run the way they need to to play the position effectively, they shouldn’t be on the field. That’s not an excuse. 

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bucklox's picture

The fact that you have to justify his level of play by letting us know about his achilles injury is reinforcement of the fact that he shouldn't have been out there.  Hurt achilles or not, last year he wasn't good enough.

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Dillon G's picture

When your vocal leaders (doesn’t matter) don’t perform, play the next player. It is first rate bullshit that White was sitting.

#walkaway

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BuxLax's picture

The only leverage a coach has is playing time. If a coach isn't willing to sit a player for any reason - poor behavior, lack of execution, lack of athleticism, etc. - it sends a bad message to the rest of the team. Guys quickly pick up on that and lose motivation to get better, if things - playing time - doesn't change. 

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BUCKfutter's picture

all positions should start from square one this spring. i dont honestly know how these guys stack up. i know what i've seen and what i think (which is that harrison is the only current starter who should be starting), but let them decide it on the practice field in front of the new coaches.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

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Dstacify's picture

I think guys like Baron Browning, Justin Hilliard, and Keandre Jones should be given extended looks in the spring. That being said Washington is an improvement over Davis as LBs Coach and it will be interesting to see what he's able to do with Borland and Werner (Harrison clearly is a good enough player to overcome even Bill Davis's coaching).

11 Strong.

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Akron Buck's picture

LB is the position group with the most growth potential by far, with DB's second.   I am chalking the poor LB play the last 2 years to schiano having a shitty scheme and davis being a shitty coach.  Out LB's were not  a problem until Fick left.

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BUCKfutter's picture

that's a great point. what seems to get lost in all this far too often is how great a coach fickell was and is, and it's never been more obvious.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

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ClarkGrswld4's picture

who knows what will happen with the coaching changes but this board was rife with #firefickell a few years ago...funny how things work out sometimes

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TkeBuck's picture

the great lb's from tosu's past were fast and they played smashmouth football. they took on rb's headon and wrapped 'em up. werner and borland have never down that. tackling from behind. sucked out of position. forget scheme for a second and just look at the film. each of them with 2 years eligibility does not make them starters. we have talent behind them...use it.

klusewski

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Trebor40's picture

You realize that slow Tuf Borland led the team in tackles for loss, even with the D-Line playing disruptor roles instead of LB's! Yet he did need to sit as clearly the injury left him to slow to over come with strong play diagnosis!

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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stpetebuck's picture

It’s amazing how excited I was to see Werner get some pt. His ST play was so vicious leading up to last year. But watching the LBs walk right into blockers half the plays was ridiculous. Not sure we can even use last year as a measuring stick  

Conversely, Harrison seemed to be everywhere, use his vertical to deflect passes, and terrorized opponents’ backfields. He’s special imo. A good coach could make him a Butkus/Nagurski awards finalist. 

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Arizona_Buckeye's picture

As painful as last season was defensively at times - this can only be an upgrade and performances improved!  At 13 - 1, a B1G Championship, and a Rose Bowl win over the Huskies, I'm expecting some tweaks made and erasing the ridiculous number of long TD plays they surrendered last year!  From listening to some of the former player's weighing in as to why - it all pointed to coaching and over complicated schemes.  Let's get back to basics here... see ball, crush person carrying ball!

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

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BuckeyeJAK's picture

The best thing to happen to this group is Washington in and Davis out.Now the group gets a review and evaluation. Let the competition commence and may the best men play.

Mark May is a mental midget

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colo_buckeye's picture

Is it just me or did B. White look bigger than Werner on the field?  I kept thinking, man he (werner) looks like a safety forced into the LB spot.  Not a shot, just an observation.  

I am excited to see Mitchell get some time, he seems to have that silver bullet mentality (that take is not based on much just a feeling), heck there is a bunch of guys at that position I would like to see the potential of.  

God > Family > Buckeyes football

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

The SAM Lb spot was probably more of a bulked up nickleback who would go into the box sometimes than a regular OLB.  He takes horrible angles, etc more than he has trouble b/c of a lack of size.....although putting on as much lean muscle without losing speed or agility would help

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Knarcisi's picture

Browning, Mitchell, Harrison 

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Kugel's picture

On paper, I really like this.

But I will say that Werner was all over the field last year, just one of those high motor guys that can be a tackling machine. Borland started to show out at the end of the year.

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pduncan710's picture

Rivals 2015 #3 inside linebacker: 4-star Justin Hilliard

Rivals 2016 #6 outside linebacker: 5-star Keandre Jones

Rivals 2017 #1 outside linebacker: 5-star Baron Browning

Rivals 2018 #9 outside linebacker; 4-star K'Vaughan Pope

Rivals 2018 #1 inside linebacker: 5-star Teradja Mitchel

Assuming Malik Harrison has a starting spot, that leaves the above 5 players for 2 spots. If our coaching staff can't get 2 starting caliber linebackers out of that group then that seems like a major coaching problem.

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

I think there should be open competition at the MIKE..

When it comes to Werner, he probably has the most upside and he is the one who can benefit the most from a college coach instead of Davis.  He does a good job when walked out onto the perimeter, but has terrible instinct, technique, etc when playing in the box.  It should be expected from a high school DB and a guy that spends so much time walked out

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Steelydan54's picture

I am confident that the 2019 Silver Bullets will be an improvement. However the coordinators and coaches sort it out, it will be better because they'll be gone if it's not. I am really liking Ryan Day's willingness to gut the weaknesses of this teams coaching staff and believe he will do the same with the roster. No loyalty to coach or player. Do you job, earn your spot, perform or be replaced. Every coach and player understands and respects that model, and it produces championship teams if the talent is available; and it is. Watch this team explode out of the blocks next season and start a New Day in OSU Football. 

Steelybuck54

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

I'd like to see the first team as: Harrison/Mitchell/Browning

Second team as: Pope/Hilliard/Jones

That'd be my hope.

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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yantubos's picture

Just do the opposite of whatever Bill Davis was doing and it should be fine

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NOBLUE's picture

hopefully the new LB coach is a better judge of talent and and know how to develop that talent

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

Washington has the hardest, easiest job on the staff. It is easy because the LBs have under-performed and improvement will be easily obvious. It is hard because the proverbial fruit basket may need upset to fix the issues.

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Ca114fire's picture

Carpenter, Hawk, Schlegel, Laurinaitis, Spielman, Katzenmoyer, Shazier, Diggs, Styles, Lee. Just to name a few. There is a high standard and a lot of history for linebackers at TOSU.
We havent had that the last 2 years. Hopefully we get back to that. Day seems to be able to make the tough choices. As far as the tough choices for who is starting remains to be seen. Hopefully these are training issues that can be overcome with proper coaching. But, you can only make a slow man so fast. I do know I'm excited for next year already and keeping our streak against that basketball school up north going

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acBuckeye's picture

It's mind numbing to think how Jones and Hilliard haven't been able to crack the starting lineup yet. Even if neither one has any clue what they're doing on the field, they almost certainly would be better than Borland and Werner.

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bd2999's picture

Really, if he can have them in position more times than not, I think the guys will do alright. Just was shocking how many times they took themselves out of plays or just took horrible angles to a guy. LBs are generally not fast enough to keep up with RBs or WRs when they start running but their job is to get to them before they have a chance to kick it into gear.

Just seemed like once they got beyond the line, there was nobody at all on a side of the field

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CherryWine's picture

His “perceived lack of speed”. There is nothing uncertain. He’s slower than Thanksgiving afternoon 

We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time, no no

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Jvillebuck's picture

Pete Werner is listed at 6'3" 236lbs. That's too small? He just isn't strong enough to fight off blocks. Borland is slow and isn't a Big10 quality football player. Any success he's had is due to OSU having a stout front 4. OSU needs two new starting LB's to join Harrison.

"We're going to give the ball to dumb-ass and grind meat"--Woody Hayes

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