Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Freshman focus: LBs ready for work
By Austin Ward
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The time to wait is over.
A senior has been removed from the equation at linebacker for at least three weeks for Ohio State, and it's going to be up to a freshman to fill the void at the second level starting on Saturday at Indiana.
There is no shortage of options with a handful of talented defenders waiting for a chance to contribute, but to this point they've all largely been limited to special teams work. Two of them were given opportunities to show what they could offer in a blowout win against Nebraska with some inconsistent results that reflected their youth, but they both factored in this week's Freshman Focus and could be critical players to watch on the road against the Hoosiers.
What it means: The Piranha kickoff coverage unit is the place for a young defensive player to make an early impression, and Bogard took his turn against the Huskers by flying down the field and making a pair of plays to pin them deep in their own end. Bogard made the last special teams tackle of the game with a hustling effort in the final minute, but he really turned heads by bringing down Ameer Abdullah on the 8-yard line in the first quarter.
He said it: "Kids like Devan Bogard and Jamal Marcus and David Perkins, Najee Murray, Armani Reeves, they’re just screaming down the field to do what they can to help the team. That’s one of the great things about college football -- you get to play those guys and enjoy what they do." -- cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs
What it means: The opportunity for playing time is there now with Etienne Sabino on the shelf for at least three games, and Williams tossed his hat into the ring against the Huskers. His first tackle came on special teams, but he also contributed defensively by coming up to the line of scrimmage and teaming with Johnathan Hankins on a fourth-quarter takedown, holding Nebraska to no gain on a drive that ultimately produced a punt.
He said it: "David Perkins is a guy that is helping us on kickoff but should be further ahead. Jamal Marcus should be further ahead. Camren Williams played a little bit, he was in on the big one. They’re all good kids and they have talent, we just have to accelerate their growth." -- Meyer on the freshmen linebackers
What it means: The Buckeyes have tabbed Perry as the guy to replace Sabino on the outside in their base personnel grouping, and he was involved in a handful of snaps there last week after the injury to the veteran. Perry wasn't credited with a tackle, but he has impressed with his improving knowledge of the defense, solid athleticism and a physical presence at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds. Perry isn't likely going to be included in the Nickel package with senior Storm Klein still available to pair with Ryan Shazier, but he should get a long look against the Hoosiers.
He said it: "Great kid -- very talented, he’s just got to learn to release and let it go. Obviously [defensive coordinator Luke] Fickell had confidence in him. I asked the same question, 'How did he play?' He played OK, he’s got to play better. He’s willing and a good person and a lot of talent. ... Josh Perry is a guy that has to step up." -- Meyer