Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 4/9/13
(Ryan Shazier needs to be leader in 2013 - Photo courtesy USA Today Sports/Donnovan Young) 12-0.... Perfect.  That was the Ohio State Buckeyes 2012 season, one that could've ended with a Big Ten title and a National Championship game appearance had players before them and Jim Tressel not been idiots. Alas, Urb's 1st season in Columbus was the best it could possibly be.  A lot of that was thanks to a very talented and productive front seven, but as they enter 2013 that front seven is now a completely unknown entity and two-thirds of the linebacking Corp - a staple of any Ohio State and Urban Meyer coached team - are gone.  It's one of the biggest battles in Columbus this spring and if there isn't a feel of stability to the position group it could spell trouble for the now postseason ban free Buckeyes. Background Linebacker has a rather significant history at THE Ohio State University to say the least and really I doubt any of you need a reminder of some of the names that have put on the scarlet and grey and patrolled the middle of the defense for the Buckeyes. That said, this season is going to be very interesting as the Buckeyes face an uncertain future with two-thirds of their linebacking Corp from a season ago gone. Yes, the slogan "Next Man Up" comes into play and this is tOSU we are talking about, here. It's not as if they aren't supposed to be loaded with 5 and 4 star talent at every position group, right? Well, that may be true, but it's also a group with virtually no experience returning as well and talent is no guarantee of results. Not only are two starters missing, but half of the two deep from the end of the season on the 2013 roster, so there is a lack of proven depth no matter where you look along the linebacker group. So, who's stepping in and stepping up? Who can we expect to become household names this fall? Let's dive in to a messy situation in the middle of the Buckeye defense. Who's Leaving? Etienne Sabino (2012 stats): 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception Zach Boren (2012 stats): 50 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery Who's Filling the Void? That's the $1 million dollar question. If you have the answers please, please let us and the Ohio State coaching staff know. There aren't any specific players with definitive starting spots locked down at middle linebacker or at the outside linebacker spot opposite Shazier. What's Happening this Spring The good news is that Ryan Shazier is around and he just happens to have had one of the best 2012 seasons of any linebacker in the Big Ten. However, he'll go from a play making role to a role of leadership as well as making plays (and his 115 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss in 2012 suggest he'll be just fine).  Look for junior Curtis Grant to have perhaps his last shot at locking down the middle linebacker spot this spring. He was in the mix last year and lost out, moving around the linebacking Corp as a backup. The problem with that? He played in just 8 games and made just 8 tackles in those games.  Outside and opposite of Shazier the first crack is going to Josh Perry, playing all of 48 snaps on defense last season. But expect him to be in a battle with about four other sophomores who were mainly special teams players. What to expect heading into summer and fall? Expect a lot of competition and not a lot of answers to be known. Especially since we haven't seen the spring game happen yet (April 13) and there are a lot of names with little experience. In fact it wouldn't be surprising to see these battles play out into the non-conference season. Practice is one thing, but playing every down or the majority of downs in a real game is completely different.  In the end expect Grant and Perry to be the likely guys to take over, but also watch for a push from incoming recruits like Trey Johnson (MLB) and Mike Mitchell (OLB) when they get on campus this fall - we all know Urban is about getting the best players on the field regardless of their class.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

John Wall lived up to promise to Atlanta celebrities in Game 6

Let’s watch this devastating tackle sum up today’s Old Firm match

WATCH: Texans announce draft pick from space

Report: Four teams were willing to draft Joe Mixon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Listen to NHL officials who were mic’d up in the first round of the playoffs

WATCH: Actor Michael Ealy butchers Redskins pick announcement

Report: Bills ‘unlikely’ to pick up Sammy Watkins option

Report: Cowboys DE Randy Gregory fails another drug test

Report: Magic want Cavs GM Griffin to run basketball operations

Seven most shocking development from Day 2 of NFL Draft

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker