COLUMBUS, Ohio — The announcement was still fresh in mind, barely more than 24 hours old as Urban Meyer reported for the first meeting of the day. Saturday night’s win over Wisconsin was creeping into Sunday morning when the Ohio State coach walked to a podium he would soon smack after revealing star safety Christian Bryant had been lost for the season with a broken ankle, and it was still early on Monday when his staff met at 7 a.m. to talk about replacing him.
The emotions might still have been raw given Bryant’s importance as more than just a tenacious tackler thanks to the vocal leadership and veteran leadership he provided the Buckeyes in the secondary. But there was nothing Meyer could do to change the fact that Bryant was no longer a part of the plan for trying to stop No. 16 Northwestern on the road this week, and finding somebody to fill that void will stay at the top of the agenda until No. 4 Ohio State finds its best option. “This is not an easy one,” Meyer said. “Last year, I would have put my hands all over that, because I didn’t really know safeties coach Everett Withers very well. But he’s an excellent football coach, and when we met this morning, I wanted opinions from the entire staff, and I’m going to give mine.
“And we are going to meet again at 2 o’clock and I want to hear what they are going to do.”
After all that brainstorming, the Buckeyes don’t necessarily need to have identified a permanent solution, but they will need to settle on somebody to line up in Bryant’s spot at safety when they hit the practice field on Tuesday afternoon.
The list has already been whittled to three defensive backs, with Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown the most likely candidate given his experience and some consistent production already this season from his role in the dime package. But nickel safety Tyvis Powell is also a potential target for a starting role in the base formation, and talented true freshman Vonn Bell also gave the Buckeyes something to consider during those conversations on Monday.
But whoever ultimately emerges and takes over Bryant’s job moving forward, the shoes are going to be extremely difficult to fill — and there isn’t going to be much time to get used to wearing them either.
“This is a very complicated offense,” Meyer said. …
Continue reading this article at ESPN: Buckeyes search for replacement for Bryant