By Mike Baldwin
The defense dominated the first scrimmage on Friday. Since it was a scaled down “thud” scrimmage and defenders weren’t allowed to tackle, and there were only 50 plays, 17 by the first-team units, it would be foolish to place too much emphasis on what transpired. Still, it was obvious the juco additions and young players like Richetti Jones and Ugo Chinasa should help upgrade the defense.
There was definitely a noticeable improvement in pass rush, which will be one of the key variables for OSU’s defense. Most importantly, there is improved depth. Markelle Martin, the high school early entry safety, intercepted a pass and took it to the house. Martin currently is running with the third team.
The defensive line will have much to prove but there are eight to 10 quality players that could figure into the rotation. The secondary should be fairly solid, especially if juco safety Lucien Antoine can carve out a key role. The key will be linebacker. Patrick Lavine and Andre Sexton should be solid on the outside. Orie Lemon played well in the scrimmage. Donald Booker, the juco transfer who reports this summer, recorded 161 tackles last season.
All in all it was a much needed confidence boost for a defense that has set a lofty goal of finsihing in the top 50 nationally. It’s much, much, much too early to draw any conclusions. But for Tim Beckman and his troops, it was a productive start.