“We always talk about the brotherhood of trust. If I’m worried about not playing, then I’m being selfish and not caring about the team, putting the team first. In order for us to win, I can’t be selfish. I have to put the team first and respect the brotherhood and respect my plays and snaps.”
Throughout the offseason there was plenty of talk about Ohio State introducing a new safety/linebacker hybrid position. The “Bullet” was something new co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington utilized at Michigan, which they called the “viper”.
After stepping into the Nebraska game last season for Jordan Fuller, who was ejected in the first half, Brendon White made an instant name for himself, registering 13 tackles in the win over the Cornhuskers. Following the Nebraska game, White played no less than 53 snaps in the rest of Ohio State’s game last season, finishing his sophomore campaign by earning Defensive Most Valuable Player honors in the Rose Bowl win over Washington.
During the offseason, White was talked about as a prime candidate to take over Ohio State’s new hybrid Bullet position, but things haven’t gone exactly to plan this season for White. The Bullet position has been slow out of the gates for Ohio State, with the most usage White has seen so far this season in a game came against Indiana when he was on the field for 27 snaps.
Even though Mattison has liked what he has seen from White this season, it has been hard to get him on the field with how well the rest of the defense is playing. Another reason for the lack of playing time for White has been because the Buckeyes are using a lot of three cornerback sets, which leaves White on the sidelines.
Even though he hasn’t been out on the field as much as he was hoping heading into the season, White is staying positive and knows his time will come. The new position is still a work in progress for the Buckeyes, but don’t count White out to make a big impact the rest of the year, as the pressure ramps up each week.
“He has a spark and we go about the business of trying to create a blaze, a fire. It was always there. I think it’s still there now. That confidence comes from that, for sure.”
Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington on linebacker Baron Browning via Nathan Baird, Cleveland.com
Expectations were high for Baron Browning when he came from Texas to Ohio State out of high school. The linebacker was the top ranked outside linebacker in the country in the class of 2017. Coming into this season, Browning had yet to live up to those lofty expectations. Last year Browning started three games for the Buckeyes, but it he was stuck behind Tuf Borland on the depth chart.
This year has seen a huge change in Browning’s production on the field. While the talent has always been there for the linebacker, there is one noticeable difference that has helped Browning come into his own. New linebackers coach Al Washington has been instrumental in helping Browning make an impact on the football field. The relationship between Washington and Browning clicked early on, and soon after Browning essentially became part of Washington’s family
Even though Borland is still technically the starter at middle linebacker, Browning usually sees the field after a few series. By the time games this season have been over, Browning usually ends up seeing more snaps than Borland. Instead of worrying about starting and playing time, Browning is making the most of when his number is called.
The revival of Browning’s career has been a major reason why Ohio State’s defense has been much improved over last year’s edition. Browning and Malik Harrison are two athletic linebackers that Ohio State can put on the field and make it tough for opposing offenses to find any traction. After looking like he could be a bust through his first two seasons in Columbus, not only is Browning helping his team chase a national title, but he is putting himself in position to move on to the NFL, possibly after this season if he decides to declare for the NFL Draft.
“I learned a lot about myself personally, a lot about coach (Chris) Holtmann. We really bonded over that experience and talk about it a lot. I feel like that will help me connect with the team more, them seeing me go through the struggle and be able to break through it.”
Musa Jallow is entering his third season at Ohio State, but incredibly he isn’t even 20 years old yet. Jallow skipped his senior season on high school to join the Buckeyes, and is still one of the youngest members of the team.
Even though the guard isn’t 20 years old yet, he has already been through the gauntlet in Columbus. Jallow saw his minutes fluctuate last season, going from playing just 31 total minutes during a six-game stretch, to playing 31 minutes against Wisconsin, and averaging 25 minutes per game in the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Jallow’s struggles and successes during his time in Columbus so far is a big reason why he is going to be looked at as a leader for this year’s Buckeye team. Another reason why Jallow will be counted on by head coach Chris Holtmann is because of his willingness to do whatever is needed to help the team succeed. Hopefully this year sees Jallow earn and more consistent role on the team, because if there is any Buckeye who deserves it, he certainly does.
“We know we’re going to have our hands full. We gotta play our best game right off the hop.”
Ohio State’s men’s hockey team kicks off their season on Friday in Toledo, when they take on 14th ranked Western Michigan in the Ice Breaker Tournament. The Buckeyes are coming off a season in which they won their first Big Ten regular season title, as well as earning their third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.
Returning to the Buckeyes this season is forward Tanner Laczynski, who tallied 30 goals and 20 assists last season. Laczynski is the nation’s second-highest returning point scorer, with 109 points in his career. Joining Laczynski is goaltender Tommy Nappier, who was Big Ten Goalie of the Year last season, and ranked fourth in the country with a .934 save percentage.
A lot is expected of Ohio State this year, but expectations aren’t quite as high as last season, when the Buckeyes entered the season as top-ranked team in the country. After winning the Big Ten, Ohio State bowed out of the NCAA Tournament earlier than they would have liked, losing to Denver in the first round. Following Friday’s contest against Western Michigan, the Buckeyes will play either Bowling Green or Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday in Toledo.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Metallica will headline two nights at the 2020 Sonic Temple Music Festival
- The annual Columbus Italian Festival takes place this weekend.
- Scene 75 Entertainment Center will open on Friday at Tuttle Mall.
- After nearly 100 years of serving the community, the YMCA is planning to phase out the downtown Columbus location.
- Will Smith is apparently working on a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air spin-off series.