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Ohio State Linebackers Look to Redeem Themselves for Porous Play of Last Season

May 31st, 2012 at 1:38 PM
By Justin Damron


One of the spots on the Ohio State football team that was riddled by injuries last season that looks to become a strong point this season on the defensive side of the football this season is… the Linebacker position.

Going into last season the crop was thin, with senior Nathan Williams on one side, Storm Klein on the inside, and Etienne Sabino covering his other side.

As the season wore on player became battered and bruised, running the line backing crew very thin, Coaches Vrabel and Fickell put there heads together and came up with a plan that at the time was a big question mark.

It came to a point after the season ending injury suffered by Nathan Williams, the coaches decided to throw then freshman Ryan Shazier to the wolves, kind of trial by fire type of deal.

Hind sight is always 20/20, but neither of these two coaches could have imagined the Shazier experiment going as well as it did.

Shazier a natural born athlete, got into his first game and didn’t look back, making play after play and big hit after big it, Fickell and Vrabel looked like genius’s.

As it is now, Shazier, now a true sophomore stand to man the wide side of the field at outside linebacker, with his big hit ability coupled with his vision and athleticism he will be a player to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.

After an injury to Storm Klein in spring practice, sophomore Curtis Grant who struggled mightily in his freshman campaign came in to his own this spring, seemingly playing good enough to take over the starting middle linebacker position.

Grant, who thought it would be a good thing to add weight to better take on the bigger opponents in the Big Ten conference, says now that was a bad idea because it only slowed him down. Throw that together with uncertainty, and your half way to a recipe for disaster on the football field. Now back on the right track Grant is poised to have a break out season in the middle for the 2012 Buckeyes.  

Coming into 2012 the only returning starter at linebacker is outside linebacker from Dr Krop high school in Miami, Etienne Sabino. Sabino returns to a place where he started to find his niche during the second half of last season. Sabino returns hoping to lead the Buckeye linebacker in his senior season.

When the two deep post spring depth chart was released by head coach Urban Meyer, the names Luke Roberts, Connor Crowell, Stuart Smith, and Joshua Perry were mentioned as possible back ups for the starters. That means three freshman and a senior defensive lineman turned linebacker are the second line of defense for this group.

Any way you look at it, some are more experienced and some or chomping at the bit for there chance to prove they have what it takes to take the field in Ohio Stadium. One thing is for certain; Sabino, Grant, and Shazier will be roaming the defensive backfield ready to dispose of opposing ball carriers in the upcoming Buckeye football season.

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Twitter @The_JDam

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