Ohio State Senior safety and captain Christian Bryant went down near the Ohio State sideline on the final possession of last weekend’s 31-24 victory against the University of Wisconsin. It was announced minutes after the game that Bryant broke his ankle and would be out for the season. The news was so upsetting to coach Urban Meyer that he slammed his fist on the podium during the post-game press conference. Bryant has been outstanding on the field. He is third on the team with 22 tackles (11 solo) and also has an interception. The bigger loss might be the loss of Bryant’s leadership in a vulnerable Buckeye secondary.
Enter Senior Corey “Pitt” Brown. Brown has been really impressive for the Buckeyes this season, making the most of his limited playing time. Brown is one of the best special teams players on the team and his play with the kick coverage team has turned heads on the coaching staff and expanded his role defensively. Brown has seen time at safety and even started the season opener for C.J. Barnett. Brown has also played a hybrid linebacker role in the defense. Overall, Brown has 21 tackles (12 solo), just 1 fewer than Bryant. Brown beat out highly touted freshman Vonn Bell to earn the starting job. With Brown’s move to safeties, linebackers like Joshua Perry and Trey Johnson really need to step up in their roles as well.
Losing Bryant will also lead to an increase in responsibility for key defensive players on the Buckeyes. Captains C.J. Barnett and Ryan Shazier will have an increased presence in the defense now that Bryant will not be on the field. Losing Bryant also should force Bradley Roby to step up. Roby has struggled mightily this season and has been burned more often than an NFL top-10 caliber prospect should this season, despite recording 2 interceptions to this point. Roby needs to step up his play and lead by example. Brown, who is a fifth year senior, should provide leadership himself as well. The loss of Bryant is big, but the Buckeyes couldn’t ask for a better