The standard is high at Ohio State, and the position is not easy.
There are a lot of responsibilities on a given play at linebacker for the Buckeyes, and just as many things that could conceivably go wrong. Playing at the second level for the Silver Bullets isn’t for the faint at heart, believe me, and it takes a lot of courage to go out there and try to make plays in the physical Big Ten.
But when mistakes are made, it’s also fair to point them out. So after a lot of BuckIQ film sessions this offseason that have focused on what Ohio State did well last season, for this breakdown in the Lettermen Row lab with Austin Ward, we’re going to dive into the key problems that popped up at linebacker a year ago.
To be fair, the Buckeyes were utterly dominant defensively down the stretch. It also probably wasn’t a coincidence that the successful run late in the year coincided with plugging Tuf Borland into the full-time role at middle linebacker. But whether it was simply the change in personnel or perhaps some subtle tweaks to the scheme, there’s no question Ohio State had it rolling defensively in time to throttle Michigan State, keep the rivals in check in The Game and then win a pair of trophies to cap the year against Wisconsin and USC.
But maybe the Buckeyes could have achieved even more if not for some costly missteps in losses to Oklahoma and Iowa. Both games had some similar issues that appeared to be plaguing the linebackers, and in this latest episode of BuckIQ, we’re diving into what went wrong.
The personnel, of course, is going to look different this season with Chris Worley and Jerome Baker gone and Borland still not back to 100 percent health yet. But Ohio State must learn from the mistakes of last season in order to take the next step on the way to another potential Big Ten title.