Defensive back issues continue to be main concern

Matt BuckeyeInsider

While there has been a lot of hand wringing over the inconsistency of J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State passing game, the Buckeyes have a larger concern with the continued problems in the defensive secondary.

“That is No. 1 on the hit parade,” said head coach Urban Meyer of the pass defense struggles on his Big 10 teleconference Tuesday.

With three new starters in the defensive backfield, Ohio State’s growing pains have been obvious.

The Buckeyes gave up over 800 passing yards to Indiana and Oklahoma. In last week’s win over UNLV, Ohio State gave up just 88 yards through the air. However, there were three pass interference calls and a holding flag in the secondary.

Cornerback play has been the specific area of scrutiny. Denzel Ward has been solid at his corner spot, but Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette have struggled while sharing time at the other corner position.

Sheffield, a junior college transfer, had two of the pass interference calls against UNLV and was the guilty party on the holding call.

“I thought our corner development would be a little bit further ahead, but they are making strides,” said Meyer on Monday. “We’ve got to get that fixed and move forward. And it’s technique-related. It’s not effort-related. It’s certainly not talent-related.”

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