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BuckIQ: Evaluating options to fill out Ohio State linebacker rotation

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Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington has no shortage of talent on hand. (Sammy Silverman/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

BuckIQ: Evaluating options to fill out Ohio State linebacker rotation

COLUMBUS — Obviously not every Ohio State linebacker can play at once.

And given all the talent on hand for the Buckeyes, even making the two-deep comes with heated competition in the bid to be part of the active rotation.

Al Washington is blessed with enough personnel to do just about anything he could possibly dream up with his unit. But that also comes with a challenge of figuring out the best way to utilize a roster that is loaded with veterans, up-and-coming stars and defenders with enough positional flexibility to make his job even harder.

“I played football,” Washington said. “Everybody wants to play. I think we’ve got to do a really good job of keeping them engaged. Fortunately last year, all of those guys played, and it wasn’t like they played in the fourth quarter when the game was over. They played in some critical moments. So, I think that piece of it helps.”

How do all of those pieces fit together? Washington has time to sort through all of that once the Buckeyes actually get into training camp, hopefully early in August if there are no schedule changes. But to get a feel for the candidates as Linebackers Week comes to a close at Lettermen Row, let’s dive back into every BuckIQ film breakdown since the end of last season.

Roll the tape!

Baron Browning is disruptive force for Ohio State

What makes Baron Browning such a disruptive force for Ohio State? Where is the best place to unleash his athleticism on the Buckeyes defense? How high is the ceiling for the senior linebacker? Former Ohio State and NFL star Bobby Carpenter popped in some film and answered those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

K’Vaughan Pope flashing big-time potential for Buckeyes

What makes K’Vaughan Pope such an intriguing player for Ohio State? How can the linebacker make a jump into the rotation after primarily coming off the bench so far in his career? Where does he fit best in the lineup for the Buckeyes? Former Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren checked out some clips and answered those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

Teradja Mitchell building steam for breakout Ohio State season

What makes Teradja Mitchell so exciting to Ohio State? Now that he’s healthy, can the junior linebacker make a big jump into the lineup for the Buckeyes? How high is the ceiling for the hard-hitting defender? Former Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren broke down a few clips and answered those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

How Tuf Borland helps power Buckeyes defense

Why is Tuf Borland so important to Ohio State? Is his athleticism perhaps underrated as he heads into his final season with the Buckeyes? What can the program do with him during his final season in Columbus? Former Ohio State linebacker Anthony Schlegel made his debut in the virtual film lab to answer those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

Pete Werner opens up options for Ohio State

What allowed Pete Werner to become such a key defensive contributor for Ohio State? Where can the senior get even better heading into his final season with the Buckeyes? Is there any role he wouldn’t be comfortable playing for the program? Former Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren was back in the Lettermen Row film lab answering those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

Healthy Justin Hilliard showing big-play potential

What makes Justin Hilliard such an inspirational story for Ohio State? How can the senior linebacker contribute on the field as well for the Buckeyes? Where is the best place for the Silver Bullets to use the veteran tackler? Former Ohio State and NFL star Bobby Carpenter was back at Lettermen Row in the film lab to answer those questions in this episode of BuckIQ.

Zach Boren

Zach Boren was a 2012 captain and member of the 12-0 team. Winner of the Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship Award and an ESPN/Kirk Herbstreit "Herbie". Zach remains in the Columbus area and heads the development of Boren Brothers.