Found August 07, 2013 on
Safeties are the players farthest removed from the action.
Yet they'll be in the middle of Ohio State's hopes this fall.
Starters Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett account for 50 percent of the seniors on the defensive side for the Buckeyes. They've been through a lot, with three coaches in their college careers, weathering a dreary 6-7 record two years ago and playing important roles in the 12-0 bounce-back season of 2012.
With most of the defensive front seven gone, they're being asked to not only be major contributors on the field but also to be instructors for all of the younger guys stepping into starting roles for the first time.
''It's on our shoulders,'' Barnett said. ''Me and Christian, being seniors ... it's a duty for us. We've got to stand up to the challenge. Everybody is going to be looking to us.''
For a young defense, the two wizened veterans in the secondary are key.
''I like the leadership in the back end of our defense, that's Christian Bryant, that's C.J. Barnett,'' coach Urban Meyer said. ''I'm real pleased with that.''
A quick look at last year's stats underscores their importance.
They are among the top four returning tacklers from a year ago. Bryant was second (to returning linebacker Ryan Shazier) with 70 tackles, including one interception, a fumble recovery and 12 passes broken up.
Barnett was fourth in stops with 56, including 2 1/2 for losses, and also had two interceptions and six breakups. Corey ''Pittsburgh'' Brown also returns as a backup for the Killer Bs at safety.
''I think it's important that those guys who have played a lot of snaps here - Christian Bryant, C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown - those guys have been around this program a long time and have a lot invested in it,'' said co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers. ''It's really important that they show leadership, not just in the defense room but throughout our football team. That they help us with our young guys.
''The Ohio State way - they know it.''
Cornerback Bradley Roby, who was third in tackles with 63, is currently working out with the second team as part of his punishment for a summer skirmish with a Bloomington, Ind., bar bouncer. Roby may face additional sanctions, pending the outcome of his legal case.
Roby's situation adds to the problems for the defense, which may have the top four tacklers from last season but is missing the next eight on the list.
Asked if the safeties must set the tone for the unit, Bryant doesn't mince words.
''I would say so right now, just because of the experience and the leadership that we have coming back in the secondary,'' he said. ''All of the older guys in the secondary are trying to do a good job of leading the young guys in the right direction, showing them the way. Because, like (running backs) coach (Stan) Drayton always says, `They have no idea what they're getting themselves into right now.'''
How well Bryant and Barnett do may well determine just how good Ohio State is.
A year ago, Ohio State was seen as a relatively talented team, but one that was coming off a losing season. There were a lot of question marks with a new regime coming in.
But a strong core of seniors helped turn the tide, transforming a team with a lot of concerns to one with no losses.
''It's important that their leadership comes out,'' Withers said of Bryant and Barnett. ''We had great leadership last year and you saw where it got us.''
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP
BEST OF MAXIM
It’s that time of year, folks! Ohio State Football is BACK! The Buckeyes have hit the ground running this week, opening practices to get ready for a follow up of last years undefeated season. It’s been a hectic off-season (to say the least) for Head Coach Urban Meyer. But even with the busy months of June and July behind him, Meyer still has some questions to answer about his...
Photo: Courtesy of The Ohio State University.
John Thomas Barrett (J.T.) is a 6’1, 230 pound dual threat quarterback from Wichita Falls Texas. He signed with Ohio State in April and arrived on campus in January of 2013. He is a great representative of the athletic, mobile quarterbacks that coach Urban Meyer wants to see at The Ohio State University.
Barrett’s senior season...
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The early returns are that it's still very early. But after just three days and one practice in pads, Urban Meyer likes what he sees from his Ohio State football team.
First, he talked up quarterback Braxton Miller.
"Braxton has come a long way," Meyer said. "It's just two days, but he's been really good."
"I like his whole demeanor...
Few players in Ohio State history have garnered the fans respect and admiration as a non-starter than Kenny “Low G” Guiton. A true fan-favorite even before he got his chance at stardom, Guiton was always known as a strong candidate for the starting position at Ohio State. The obvious emergence of Braxton Miller changed all that, but Guiton has proved himself as one of the...
The Ohio State Buckeyes' 2013 jerseys will be featuring a subtle yet big-time addition to the back neckline in the form of seven Buckeye leaves, one for each championship.
Ohio State sophomore tackle Taylor Decker has been in a position battle since he stepped on campus last year, but he's in solid positing to land the Buckeyes' starting right tackle position this year. However, Decker hopes to accomplish a lot more than simply being named the team's starter.
Former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel was once quoted as saying that “the two most important people in Ohio are the Governor and the Quarterback for The Ohio State University. And the quarterback is number 1.” Of course, this came from Captain Buttfumble, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt, even though it absolutely sounds like something The Senator would say to a recruit...
In the mist of our Buckeye Empire Summer Series, we have uncovered some of the greatest stories never told about different Buckeyes on the Ohio State roster.
The story of Cardale Jones may be one of the most interesting to-date.
Cardale’s journey to Ohio State began at what seems to be a Buckeye breeding ground: Glenville High School.
A Cleveland, Ohio native, Jones attended the...
Key Players: QB Braxton Miller, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Devin Smith, DT Adolphus Washington, LB Ryan Shazier Key Losses: TE Jake Stoneburner, OT Reid Fragel, DT John Simon, DT Johnathan Hankins, CB Travis Howard Breakout Players: WR Evan Spencer, OT Taylor Decker, DE Noah Spence, OLB Josh Perry, S CJ Barnett Offense Projected Starters: Quarterback- [...]
[[ This is a content summary...
Jim Delany is known as one of the most powerful men in college sports, and the Big Ten commissioner was on Ohio State's campus Wednesday to discuss a multitude of topics while celebrating his 25th year at his post. Take a look at what he has to say about the Buckeyes, Braxton Miller and more.
College football season is nearly upon. It is time to look forward into the new year and feast on what will most likely be another dramatic and intense season as always. This should apply to the Big Ten as well, as there will be several major storylines throughout the season. The Big Ten looks to have some strength at the top of the conference this season, with five teams ranked...
With National Signing Day exactly a half a year away, here's a diagnosis of where the Buckeyes' recruiting stands.
Ohio State's secondary includes two senior safeties and a lot of other questions this preseason as another veteran faces punishment and a plethora of youngsters compete for playing time. The specter of a rule change also looms for some.
Ohio State made some news when announced this week that it would be donating its share of Penn State's bowl revenue to some local children's charities. BuckeyeSports.com takes a look at one of those charities, the CASA of Franklin County.
It may have been Ohio State's fourth practice of fall camp at the Wood Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday, but it was the first workout session open to the media. BSB attended the three-hour practice, and came away with a full list of observations. Get the full scoop from today's practice inside.