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Ohio State football’s new bullet position is starting to come into focus

Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison gave a glimpse into how the defense would look as Ohio State mixes in the new position

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“The bullet position is a position [used] when teams want to try to spread you out and use a very, very athletic tight end to get a mismatch on what most people would be a big, strong sam linebacker.”

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison via The Lantern

After the performance of Ohio State’s defense last season, it became quite obvious that something had to change. New head coach Ryan Day brought in a handful of new coaches on the defensive side of the ball to try and shake things up. New co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley are already making some waves with what they are expecting from the Buckeye defense.

The bigger change heading into the 2019 season for the Ohio State defense is the introduction of the bullet position. Traditionally Ohio State has run a 4-3 defense, with four down linemen and three linebackers. With more teams running a spread offense, the bullet position allows for Ohio State to bring a linebacker-safety hybrid into the box. Not only will the bullet position introduce a player with cover skills in the passing game, but they’ll also have the speed and physicality to make plays.

When Ohio State announced they would be working on introducing the bullet position to their defense, safety Brendon White was the obvious choice to be the first to take on the position. White burst onto the scene when Jordan Fuller was ejected early in the Nebraska game, registering 13 tackles. White went on to make a big impact for Ohio State the rest of the season. Jahsen Wint is another safety who has caught Mattison’s eye for what he is capable of doing at the bullet position.

Ohio State will still continue to use the 4-3 look on defense, but there will be rotation with the sam linebacker and the bullet. How much the bullet is used is still not known yet. A lot of how much the bullet position will be used in the defense will likely depend on who Ohio State’s opponent is and what type of offense they run. No matter how much the bullet position ends up being used in the defense, it is refreshing to see Ohio State’s defense evolve and try new things, especially after the last few years where the old defensive coaching staff seemed stuck in their ways.

“I do think Justin has taken a stride in the last couple days and the last week. He’s moving he team nicely, taking care of the ball better the last couple days, throwing the ball on time. The improvement’s there and the leadership is improving.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on quarterback Justin Fields via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Yesterday, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day announced that he would be announcing the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes on Monday. Even though it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Georgia transfer Justin Fields would be named the starting quarterback since he announced his transfer in January, Day has taken his time in officially announcing who would replace Dwayne Haskins behind center for the Buckeyes.

While Kentucky transfer quarterback Gunnar Hoak and Chris Chugunov, the only returning quarterback on Ohio State’s roster, have taken snaps with the first-team offense during camp, Day says for the most part Fields has been taking snaps with the first-team offense. Hoak and Chugunov have at least gotten comfortable with the first-team to give Day a little bit of confidence in Ohio State’s quarterback depth, starting Fields makes the most sense.

It would have taken a monumental effort from Hoak or Chugunov to unseat Fields for the starting quarterback role, given Fields’ dual-threat ability. After Ohio State used primarily a passing attack to overwhelm opponents last season, the ability of Fields to not only throw the football, but run it as well, should help the Buckeyes continue to put plenty of points on the board with a high-powered attack. Even though it may have taken Fields a bit of time to get comfortable in Day’s offense, it sounds as if the highly-touted quarterback is finally putting it all together.

“This is my fifth year and I haven’t been more excited for a season yet. I really love the group of guys, really love the program as a whole with the coaching staff, so I’m excited.”

Ohio State goalkeeper Parker Siegfried via the Ohio State Athletic Department

Ohio State’s men’s soccer team will open up their exhibition schedule on Saturday afternoon against Xavier, and morale is high for the Buckeyes as head coach Brian Maisonneuve enters his second year as head coach. Ohio State posted just a 1-15-2 record last year, but the former Columbus Crew midfielder got a late start with the Buckeyes after he was hired in late April.

Maisonneuve is confident we’ll see a better Ohio State team this year, as he has had a full offseason to implement his tactics and practices. Last year at this time, players and coaches were still getting to know each other and hadn’t yet really become a team, where this year there is a total different energy in the men’s soccer program. Even though there was a lot of turnover from last season’s roster to this year’s team, the full offseason with their head coach has the Buckeyes excited for the season.

After exhibitions with Xavier, Mt. Vernon Nazarene and Butler before taking on Cal State Northridge on Aug. 30 in the 14th annual Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Classic. Ohio State’s participation in the annual classic will conclude on Sept. 1 with a match against Illinois-Chicago.

A key member of Ohio State men’s hockey 2019 Big Ten championship team will be staying in the Buckeye State. Goaltender Sean Romeo signed yesterday with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Romeo will be joining a Cincinnati team that accumulated the most points in the ECHL during the 2018-19 season. The Cyclones made it to the division finals in the ECHL before falling to the Toledo Walleyes 4-1.

Romeo appeared in 54 games for Ohio State over the past two years, posting a 30-17-7 record, a 2.21 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage. Romeo’s goals-against-average and save percentage both rank fourth in Ohio State history. As good as Romeo was for Ohio State in 2019, he was even better during his junior season, as he was named a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award, which is given annually to college hockey’s top goaltender.

Now Ohio State hockey fans who want to watch Romeo’s career progress will have to travel just a couple hours to see the goaltender play in Cincinnati. With Romeo in the fold, the outstanding goaltender could be just the piece the Cyclones need to help them continue their success and win their first Kelly Cup since the 2009-10 season.