COLUMBUS, Ohio — The man-to-man plan wasn’t scrapped just because the top cover guy was missing.
Reflecting on the assignments and the play-calling, the players that were available to cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs were in one-on-one matchups over half the time in Ohio State’s first game of the season.
The ability to dial up pressure and attack the quarterback wasn’t entirely compromised, either, with Coombs quick to defend the Buckeyes as more aggressive than perhaps they appeared last weekend.
But while Ohio State has consistently stressed its next-guy-up approach and insisted its schemes don’t center around one player and his respective talents, taking arguably the best cornerback in the country out of the equation due to Bradley Roby’s suspension definitely seemed to force a little tweaking in the secondary.
“I think we were probably a little more aggressive than people think,” Coombs said. “At the same time, we weren’t all up in their face and pressing all day and trying to make sure we had enough energy to play four quarters of a football game in that heat without a whole lot of depth.”
The Buckeyes were also short a body at safety with senior C.J. Barnett a late scratch due to an ankle injury, and the absence of two starters with so much experience could understandably limit the playbook.
But it’s Roby’s ability to lockdown half of the field that truly frees up the Buckeyes to pin back their ears up front and dial up blitzes without the fear of getting beat in man coverage down the field. And while he was serving his punishment from coach Urban Meyer for an off-the-field incident at a bar in July, the shorthanded Buckeyes weren’t pushing the limit quite as often in the win over Buffalo as they figure to on Saturday against San Diego State.
“I think so, I think we all want to be a little more aggressive,” Meyer said. “We didn’t play as much bump-and-run coverage, however, we did pressure quite a bit.
“Roby coming back now frees up Armani [Reeves], who was a tremendous special teams player for us a year ago, and we had to be very cautious. He played a lot of football for us in that heat. That helps with our depth.”
Continue reading this article at ESPN: Returning Roby gives OSU new look