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2021 tOSU Defense

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by ScriptOhio, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.



    In the immediacy of the national championship game, Shaun Wade didn’t rule out one more year at Ohio State. To the contrary, he propped the door for a return wide open.

    “You know, I do want to come back and everything,” Wade said less than an hour after the Buckeyes lost to Alabama. “I've got to talk to my parents. It is upsetting that we got here and we just didn't accomplish the goal, and that's just been my goal, winning a national championship and just winning big games like this. I'll just go back with my parents, go talk to them and just go from there.”

    Whatever conversations took place over the past four days, however, led to the inevitable conclusion most had predicted.

    Wade, who appeared destined for the 2021 NFL draft dating back to the moment he announced he wouldn’t enter the 2020 NFL draft, announced on Friday morning he has decided to go pro. No, the Buckeyes couldn’t cap off his career by beating the Crimson Tide for a title, and no, he didn’t boost his draft stock the way he had hoped in his move to outside cornerback. He fell short of those goals. But after four years, he still felt the time was right to take the long-awaited jump to the next level.

    Thus, Ohio State loses a multi-year starter in its defensive backfield whose exit from Columbus clears the runway for what has a chance to be a massive offseason competition for spots in Kerry Coombs’ secondary rotation after a season of lackluster production.

    Essentially, there are two factions among returners on the back end of the defense: Returning starters and unproven underclassmen.

    Almost every year, those returning after a season starting would have a significant advantage. Remember all of the times over the past few years when fans wondered if there would be changes among the starting linebackers? If Tuf Borland or even Pete Werner would at some point get placed? Those who entrenched themselves as starters hung on as years passed.

    If we’re putting odds on what will happen over the course of the next eight months ahead of the Sept. 2 season-opener at Minnesota, it’s fair to view cornerback Sevyn Banks, slot corner Marcus Williamson and safety Josh Proctor as favorites to become second-year starters with Cameron Brown having the edge at the other cornerback opening. But after what transpired on the field in the 2020 season, nobody should – or will – view their starting jobs as completely safe.


    This was, of course, a secondary that was arguably the No. 1 reason why Ohio State ended the season ranked 85th of 127 teams nationally in opposing yards per pass attempt, 87th in opposing quarterback rating, 111th in opposing completion percentage and 122nd in opposing passing yards per game. The porous nature of the defensive backfield allowed Indiana's Michael Penix. Jr. to toss for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdowns in mid-November, then didn’t improve enough to avoid Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith torching the Buckeyes for 464 passing yards and five touchdowns in the national championship game.

    Each year, the Buckeyes have a stated goal for their secondary to be the Best In America. As Jeff Okudah used to say, that’s more important to this team than the DBU moniker that’s so often debated. This past season, Ohio State's secondary was nowhere close to being the Best In America.

    The way to fix what went wrong in 2020 and to reclaim that BIA status won’t be to simply trot out the same group of guys in 2021. Coombs needs to – and will – explore all options over the course of the offseason.

    Entire article:
  2. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Options for Buckeyes to take over at cornerback
    The loss of spring practices, the changes to training camp and the shortened schedule all hurt the Buckeyes last season — but it was also a setback in building for the future. Freshmen cornerbacks Ryan Watts and Lejond Cavazos didn’t get the reps, development or experience they would in a normal year, and that will surely add some urgency for Coombs over the coming months as he tries to get them ready for a potential spot in the rotation.

    Assuming Sevyn Banks doesn’t make an unexpected leap to the NFL as well, he’ll be in position to become the top lockdown option in the secondary. Banks was really coming on late in the season, flashing his speed and physicality while hinting at his potential for stardom. He’ll likely be paired with Cameron Brown as he recovers and returns from an Achilles injury suffered in October. Brown’s loss might not have seemed like a huge deal at the time, but he was the most experienced member of the secondary outside of Wade and was a key part of the plans to continue the three-man rotation Coombs has long favored at cornerback. It’s unclear when exactly Brown might be fully cleared for contact again, but based on similar injuries the Buckeyes have dealt with, it should be in time for summer workouts.

    Evaluating impact of losing Shaun Wade
    Perhaps no program has recruited at a higher level in the secondary than Ohio State over the last decade, and the pipeline of talent is still flowing. So, even though last year was nowhere near the Best in America standard, there is no reason the Buckeyes shouldn’t be able to bounce back in a major way — even without Wade around next season. Certainly Coombs is going to have to do some serious evaluations of what went wrong, and Ohio State is going to have to figure out exactly what it wants to be defensively after taking such a significant step back against the pass last year.

    But Banks and a healthy Brown are a fine place to begin the reload, and the return of Marcus Williamson for another season might add some of the versatility that Wade once provided in the backend. Throw in the rise of Watts or Cavazos and Ohio State has the personnel to return to dominance.

    Bottom line: Losing Shaun Wade certainly isn’t a surprise, but Ohio State should be able to absorb the loss thanks to the talent on hand.
  3. pnuts34

    pnuts34 Drunk off of wolverine tears

    I don't think we should be surprised if Coombs utilizes a youth movement next year. It's very possible that Banks, Ransom and Proctor are the lone returning starters to start next year, as outside of them no one else showed much. A starting back 4 of:
    Slot: Cazavos or Martinez

    And I can see Coombs rotating in frosh until he finds the best by mid season. Camps and a full schedule will benefit the young players the most, IMO.
  4. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    I would be surprised. Coombs has to play the best 4 or 5 guys without regard to age/years at Ohio State. Now, it could be that some younger guys beat out some older guys for playing time (PT), but will be on merit not age. Guys like Hooker, Williamson, Brown, Johnson, and/or Hickman, etc. has to be in the mix for PT too.
  5. pnuts34

    pnuts34 Drunk off of wolverine tears

    TBH, Hooker, Williamson and Johnson looked terrible last year. And unless they show Coombs something major in camp, I don't see them getting PT over the young kids. I forgot about Hickman looking decent, and Brown's injury makes him a big question mark. I could easily see the 4-5 best guys having guys who have only been on campus for 2yrs being in the mix. 2020 was an anomaly of a year, so I could see more of an open competition across the board
  6. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Hell, everybody in the defensive backfield this year looked terrible at times, even Shaun Wade. You can't just arbitrability give up on anyone. A few guys play like All Americans their 1st year, some guys make a big jump from their freshman year to their sophomore year, and others make the jump later (i.e. sophomore to junior, junior to senior, etc.). Look at Hooker's brother he was one of those "late bloomers". And alas, some guys never make the jump; but we don' know any of the players that you mention fall in that category yet.
  7. OH10

    OH10 *

    If Togiai, Tyreke, and Haskell all return in addition to JTT (should he commit) and Sawyer coming on board, the defensive line will be the deepest, most talented in the country.
    bukIpower likes this.
  8. pnuts34

    pnuts34 Drunk off of wolverine tears

    Can't the same be said about the coaching? A number of fans are calling for Coomb's head on a platter after one year...
    And I see your point, but I'm going off of last year's play, and those 3 looked completely lost and just plain bad at times. I don't remember Hooker looking out of his element(mainly because I only remember him on special teams). And it's been said constantly that Wade played out of position all year, so that makes sense why he looked so bad. But Hooker, Williamson and Johnson all played the positions they were recruited for(though the argument can be made that Johnson is a better S than CB), and all took bad angles, mad bad decisions that caused huge plays, or just didn't make a difference when called upon. But I said that we should have an open competition across the board, especially since the season was so abnormal. Those guys could prove me wrong, but you have 2 guys who have been in the program for 3+ years, Hooker the jury is still out
  9. bigdog3300

    bigdog3300 The G.O.A.T.

    The good news is I would feel very confident one of Ransom & Hickman will step up next year to be a legit quality safety, and Proctor has shown me enough that I know he can still develop.

    Getting a healthy Cam Brown at CB will be another great boost - Banks, Brown, and getting something out of Watts/Martinez/Cavazos and this unit can be solid....not great, not very good, but this team can still thrive with that.
  10. bukIpower

    bukIpower Senior

    Yes at safety we should be in a much better place.

    Hickman, Ranson but then we also get Williams back from Injury as well who was supposedly as a true freshman was very impressive. Nice thing about Williams is he's a bigger kid so we can drop him in the box when we need to and won't have to run a 4-4 again.
  11. billmac91

    billmac91 Senior

    I’m still really disappointed about the lack of development with Tyreke Johnson. Not sure where the issue lies, but he’s a kid you’d have expected to have seen field and begun the next step to elite CB. I hope a light turns on.....
  12. pnuts34

    pnuts34 Drunk off of wolverine tears

    It happens. OSU has countless guys that were highly rated in HS,and then did next to nothing in college. I hope the light goes on too, but with the talent that we’re bringing, I’m not too concerned if he doesn’t.
    bukIpower likes this.
  13. GovTressel

    GovTressel Junior

    Williamson will be a late first rounder next year...mark it.
  14. bukIpower

    bukIpower Senior

    Uhh... highly doubtful. I think he can have an all big ten type of year next year if everything goes better in the backend.
  15. bukIpower

    bukIpower Senior

    Yeah him being a miss might be even more hurtful than Grinch blowing it in 2018 recruiting wise. Had Johnson been an impact player maybe that pushes Wade back to the interior where he's better last year. We haven't had too many outright non impact 5 stars but it's safe to say Tyreke is on that pace provided some sort of miracle turnaround.

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