Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Ozone Links
Buckeye Football Notebook: 'I've Never Seen a Team Like This...'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer spoke this spring about the importance of building leaders throughout his team, but it wasn't something that was actively taught to his team until relatively recently.

Last year players took leadership classes, and whether that was directly tied to the Buckeyes winning a national title or not can't be proven, but it certainly didn't hurt.

In Meyer and his staff's first season at Ohio State, they had leaders like John Simon and Zach Boren, who are still talked about today. In 2013 they had guys like Kenny Guiton, Christian Bryant, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, and Ryan Shazier.

Last season the Buckeyes were relatively young, so Meyer had to create new ways to develop leadership, and the classes certainly worked. Not surprisingly, it appears that they continue to pay off.

"I’ve never seen a team like this from a leadership standpoint," cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said on Tuesday. "I’ve really never been a part of an organization like this from a leadership standpoint, where leadership is taught. It’s not just expected, but it is taught to everybody and everybody has an opportunity to lead, and because of that we’re seeing the fruits of that three years down the road.

"This is the best group of leaders I’ve ever seen across the board on this team. I love this team. They’re just a joy to be around, to coach, they’re focused, they get it. And they don’t have to be older — Raekwon McMillan can grab a guy who’s a freshman and say, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta do this.’ And the kid listens because he respects him and because they respect the process. And I think it’s really been extraordinary to me."

The search for a deep threat in 2015 is an ongoing concern simply because of how important that role was in the 2014 team's success. Devin Smith not only stretched the field, which left large areas of the middle wide open, but he was also extremely productive when the ball was thrown in his direction.

Without a single designated player stepping up to fill that void, some may be concerned that the threat simply won't be there like it was last year. The reality, however, is that it might not be one guy who steps forward, but several.

"We're trying to find out who that guy can be," offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said recently. "We have a lot of talented guys with good top-end speed, so it's just a matter of who can actually get open and make the play because those long balls are much more difficult. They look easy, but that adjustment at full speed and defensive backs around you, Devin was fantastic at that."

So who would be some of the candidates to take a crack at it?

"My goodness, Curtis Samuel, Braxton Miller, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, all those guys are big top-end guys, very fast. Maybe I forgot somebody else," Warinner answered.

That is a long list of names, and he certainly forgot guys like sophomore Noah Brown, or freshman Torrance Gibson, or Johnnie Dixon, or Jalin Marshall, or James Clark, or Corey Smith, or even No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas.

It simply may not be as cut-and-dried as to who the one deep threat in this offense is going to be, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"I don't think you narrow it down to three or four guys unless it separates itself out," Warinner said. "You'd like to play the guys who deserve and have earned the right to have most reps more, but then keep them fresh enough that they can play fast through four quarters.

"Also depth is good, competition is good, and fresh guys are good. You get late in the season and a guy has maybe three or four hundred less plays on his legs, it's good for you when you make that stretch run. We'd like to have a nice pool of guys to play out there."

They say that defense wins championships and offense sells tickets, but if you ask the Silver Bullets, they'll tell you that they can do both this year.

Asked if the Buckeye defense could be the star of the show this year rather than the offense, the always upbeat Tyvis Powell had no problem vouching for his defense.

"Well, you know, every year that is our goal because when everybody comes to the game, it’s always about the offense," he said smiling. "‘Oh, the offense is gonna score all of these points. They’ve got the Braxtons, the J.T.s, the Cardales, the Zekes.’ Nobody really says too much about the defense other than Joey Bosa, so due to the fact that we know that, it’s just us coming out here and basically wanting to make everybody leave the game talking about those Silver Bullets."

Considering that people still haven't stopped talking about the Silver Bullets from games that were played in December and January, it's not like they've been ignored. All eyes will certainly be on the Ohio State defense when they open the season at Virginia Tech in a little under two weeks, and fans will no doubt be expecting them to continue right from where they left off last winter.

* * * * *
To Contribute by mail Make checks and mail to:
Ozone Communications, LLC
1351 King Avenue, Ste 100B
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Contribute to the-Ozone.

(c) 1996-2020 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, rebroadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisements Disabled