COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes took a major hit on the defensive side of the ball when Christian Bryant suffered a season ending injury in the closing moments of the game against Wisconsin and while there are obvious thoughts for a complete and healthy recovery for the Ohio State defender, the question comes up of who will be the next man up?
The Buckeyes have several players who have seen playing time, none in a starting role however backing up Bryant and playing in various variations of the defense including the nickel, dime and penny packages.
Urban Meyer said on Monday during his weekly press conference that he gave his thoughts to the defensive coaches and that they would be meeting to see who would be "the guy" when the Buckeyes travel to Evanston (Ill.) to take on the Northwestern Wildcats this upcoming weekend.
We decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to dust off our old "Roundtable" feature and asked it amongst ourselves, who should be the next man up to replace Christian Bryant moving forward?
Kevin Noon - Managing Editor
The most obvious answer would be Pittsburgh Brown, he has been in the program the longest and generally seems to be the next man up in a lot of situations but I am going to buck the trend and say that Tyvis Powell should be the guy. Powell has been credited with two starts when the Buckeyes have had to open in the nickel formation and from a production standpoint, he isn't all that far off from Brown's numbers on the season. What Powell gives you that a player like Brown doesn't is three more years after this season. Sure, Powell is still learning the position and there are few players that could match Bryant's experience in the Ohio State defense but all things considered Powell has good size and height (6-3, 196) and could give the Buckeyes some different looks as they swing Brown over to the main nickelback and keep developing Vonn Bell in the dime until he is ready to emerge as a future leader of the team later in his career.
Patrick Maks - Staff Writer
I have the belief that three heads are better than none. Urban Meyer said Monday he's considering using defensive backs Corey "Pitt" Brown, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell to replace Christian Bryant. I say why not use all three of them? While Brown is certainly the most experienced of them all by a long shot, you could make the argument that Powell and Bell have more potential. I think Ohio State does itself a favor by rotating the three of them. Perhaps give the plurality of the time to Brown, but use Powell and Bell often to spell him and keep fresh legs on the field. Obviously, it'll need to be done in such a way as to not rupture the defense's cohesiveness. But I think it's more than possible to utilize all three defensive backs in the wake of Bryant's absence.
Andrew Holleran - Staff Writer
The choice has to be Corey Brown. He's a redshirt senior, is the most experienced option, and the best option in this situation. As talented as Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell, and Ron Tanner are, the defense just can't afford to plug someone in that could be a liability. And because of those three players inexperience, that's what they would be. Brown would not be a liability. Maybe he won't make the defense any better, but he probably won' t make it much worse. And that's what Ohio State needs right now.
Andy McLachlan - Staff Writer
I am going to go a little off the board with Vonn Bell. Watching Christian Bryant go down in the final seconds against Wisconsin was heartbreaking. The senior was arguably the best defensive player during the first five games and was likely headed for all-Big Ten honors. Filling in Bryant's shoes cannot be done this year. There's just no one on the roster that brings the same impact. So when picking the replacement, I'm looking for more of an "it" factor rather than experience. The Buckeyes have the ability to review all options, thanks to C.J. Barnett. Vonn Bell will likely not get the first crack at Bryant's spot but he's in my opinion the best choice. You're going to be hard-pressed finding a better athlete in the secondary.