VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Who'll join Shazier as Buckeyes' linebackers?

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and his staff are looking for a few good linebackers.

Advertisement
With three of the mainstays - Etienne Sabino, Zach Boren and Storm Klein - at the position from last year's team gone, one of the top priorities during the Buckeyes' spring workouts has been finding playmakers at the open spots.

Co_defensive coordinator Luke Fickell surveyed the candidates but refrained from making any judgments after the Buckeyes' first two practices.

``There's a lot of good-looking players,'' he said of the early returns. He added, ``We hold our opinions until we get in pads and play some football.''

Asked after the opening practice on Tuesday what position concerned him the most, Meyer lumped together most of the defense.

``The front seven,'' he said. ``Because there's a bunch of new guys in there.''

Ryan Shazier, the one proven commodity at linebacker, is out for at least a couple more weeks while he recovers from surgery for a sports hernia. An All-Big Ten selection last season, he started all 12 games and led the conference in tackles for a loss (17).

``I'm taking my game to the next level,'' the junior said. ``Coach Fickell and I have been talking about plays and what offenses can do. I need to work on staying behind the ball and watching film will help me do that more out on the field.''

Behind Shazier, however, are some intriguing possibilities but also some question marks.

Curtis Grant is one of the major enigmas on the team. An acclaimed prep star out of Richmond, Va., he saw action as a freshman and then started at the outset of last year's sterling 12-0 season.

But then he lost the job and sank down the depth chart.

``I got too complacent,'' said Grant, who started three games last year at middle linebacker. `'That's the only thing I can say. I couldn't handle the glory, I guess, of being a starter. I should have kept working harder.''

Now he's an upperclassman and is being counted on even more to play up to his lofty blue-chip status in high school.

``All my life I've been a leader. Everybody always looked up to me, and it kind of got flipped coming to college,'' he said. ``I was looking up to someone else and I usually didn't look up to anyone. I always wanted to get better on my own and help the other guys. But after watching other guys, when it's your time, you feel it and you feel different. I feel like my old high school self.''

Meyer was asked if there was still a lot of focus on Grant.

``A lot,'' he said. ``Do we still have hope (for him)? Absolutely. Yes.''

Camren Williams, Joshua Perry, David Perkins, Luke Roberts and Conner Crowell, along with freshmen recruits Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell, are also vying for playing time between now and the opener on Aug. 31 against Buffalo.

Williams and Perry each played in 10 games last year as freshmen and lettered.

``Everyone is going to have an opportunity to show what they can do,'' said Williams, out of West Roxbury, Mass. ``There's a lot of competition at the (middle linebacker) position, and that's a position I'm interested in. I've been working hard to learn the playbook and improve at the position because as the mike you need to know where everyone is and what's going on at all times.''

Ohio State has had two practices so far, and now takes off for spring break. The workouts continue on March 19.

Fickell hasn't spent much time considering who's not around at linebacker. Instead, he prefers to look at who is back.

``There are a lot of guys with a lot of energy and some young guys that are really exciting,'' said Fickell, in his 13th season coaching at his alma mater and ninth as a coordinator.

``We don't rest a lot around here. If we did it might give us more time to think about the guys we lost.''

---

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Nelson: Ole Miss at Miss State
ASA: Big Ten Report - Week 13
Williams: Pac-12 Report - Week 13
Williams: Big 12 Report - Week 13
Williams: ACC Report - Week 13
Lawrence: Inside the Stats - Week 13
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 13
Bookmaker: Friday's Best Bets
Bookmaker: Books adjust Baker, Heisman
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
9-1 L10, 15-3 Run, 20-4 L10 Sat.
5-0 Sat, 19-8 L4 Saturdays, +1,285 TY
9-2 L11 G-Plays, 14-6 L20 Picks
8-1 Saturday, 10-2 L12 Over/Unders
5-2 Sat, 51-26 L10 Sat, +1,635 TY
12-4 L2 Sat., 15-6 Run, 7-3 G-Plays
18-8 L26 G-Plays, 13-4 Thursdays TY
13-7 L3 Weeks, 8-3 L11 G-Plays
3-1 G-Plays, 10-6 L2 Sat, 14-7 Run
+1,151 CFB Picks This Season
21-10 Run, 26-11 L8 Saturdays
4-0 Fri, 28-14 Run, 28-11 G-Plays
12-6 L18 G-Plays, +1,242 TY
3-1 Saturday, 4-1 L5 Guarantees
9-4 G-Plays, 23-12 Run, +1,220 TY
5-2 Record L2 Saturdays
6-1 L7 Guaranteed Plays
10-5 Saturday, 32-15 L47 Totals
5-2 Last Week, 12-4 L16 G-Plays
7-2 L9 Guaranteed Plays
12-6 Last 18 NCAA Picks
4-0 Record Tuesday
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks - Mississippi Rebesl at Mississippi State Bulldogs
2017 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 2489
Vince Akins + 1635
Mark Franco + 1285
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 960
Scott Pritchard + 700
Pat Hawkins + 580
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 71 %
Vince Akins 60 %
Mark Franco 60 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1585
Scott Pritchard + 1184
Bruce Marshall + 668
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 1244
Kyle Hunter + 1002
Pat Hawkins + 660
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mark Franco + 780
Marc Lawrence + 771
Gary Bart + 723
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership