Bryant Remaking Self As Senior

Christian Bryant is a senior, but he knows he has plenty of work to do before he is ready to maximize his ability. He is focusing on new techniques this spring with an eye on taking a leadership role.

Christian Bryant 4.0 represents a near full rebuild of the Ohio State football player, but Buckeye fans can still expect to find some of the features with which they are familiar for the 2013 season version.

The Cleveland native is among a scant few veterans back on the defensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes, and he is looking to not only provide stability at safety but also leadership.

Ohio State fans want to see him make big plays from the back end, but perhaps they would settle for him merely giving up fewer than he has during his past two seasons as a starter.

Known as an instinctual player since his days at Glenville High School, Bryant has long been the source of excitement on the football field.

The 5-10, 192-pounder is a big hitter despite his smallish frame, and his knack for finding the ball assures he is involved in a lot of plays. His 21 career pass breakups and 149 tackles are a testament to that.

He graded out as a champion five times in the first 11 games last season before finishing the campaign on a high note with four tackles, two pass breakups and a forced fumble as the Buckeyes beat Michigan 26-21.

His aggression sometimes gets him in trouble, though, and that is something he hopes to avoid in his last go ‘round in scarlet and gray as he hopes to make many more big plays than he allows.

OSU co-offensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers explained a few things Bryant is working on to achieve that goal.

"Probably the biggest thing is just the basic techniques and fundamentals of tackling and football positions, something that we've worked on every day with him since we've been here," Withers said. "He's gotten a bunch better, but he still has a way to go. Christian is one of those guys who is a natural football player, but he doesn't have some natural football position things, so he has to work at them. Really good football players work on their weaknesses. They don't just continue to work on strengths, they work on weaknesses. Every day, we continue to work with him."

Bryant also has worked playing under control. He has shown a tendency to go for a killshot and miss a chance for a pass breakup, interception or tackle in the past. While that has cost his team big plays in the past, it could be even more damaging this fall with the NCAA implementing a new rule that calls for the ejection of a player who is judged to have targeted a defenseless receiver.

Although Bryant said he wasn't aware of that specific alteration to the rulebook, he confirmed he is spending the spring redoing his tackling technique to be more effective – not to mention safer.

"I had to start from scratch as far as the football position thing went because last year as I was watching film of myself from throughout the year some of my tackles my head was down and I felt like I could really injure myself doing those type of things," he said. "But Coach Withers has played an incredible role, telling me to start from scratch."

What is the key? Keeping the eyes pointed upward and pointing the torso to the ground rather than sticking it up in the air, for starters.

"Reverse arc, keep my head up throughout tackle," Bryant said. "And that's what I've been trying to do throughout the spring."

Just like throwing his body around, Bryant has never been shy about speaking his mind. Head coach Urban Meyer hopes to see him channel some of his energy into something typical of seniors this year: Leadership.

"The bar has been set by a group of kids last year," Meyer said. "The good thing is the greatest way to learn is to watch others do it, and that group of seniors last year was as good a group as I've ever been around. We expect that out of Christian, and he's got leadership qualities."

That is a role the player plans to embrace.

"It has gone by fast," Bryant said. "I remember like it was yesterday in the Sugar Bowl or getting that foot infection my freshman year. It's been flying by. I think I've made the best of my opportunities so far but I have a big season ahead of me."


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