After a successful debut season, the antics of Ohio State’s starting safeties Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell have resumed for spring ball. Not even interviews are safe, as both players refused to be separated when an Ohio State spokesman tried to corral them into different areas after Thursday’s practice.
Powell’s “Don’t leave me!” screams won out, and off they went answering questions together.
What follows are the highlights from the duo's post-practice interview.
On the end-of-year improvement from the safeties in 2014:
Bell: "I guess we were the underdogs, you know? We felt like we were playing with a chip on our shoulder. We had a point to prove."
Powell: "I would say that losing J.T. and having Cardale go in, I was very confident in Cardale. But you never know what can happen. With it being his first couple of games, you never know what he could do. So that just made us go out there and basically try to get him the ball back as much as possible."
On the play of Cardale Jones this spring:
Powell: "He sucks! (laughter) No, Cardale is still putting that ball where it needs to be. He’s threading it. He got Vonn today, threaded it right in there."
Bell: "He did, he got me one time. That’ll never happen again, but he’s slinging it around pretty good. He’s making the right checks, the right reads. He’s trying to get the defensive indicators. He’s really doing his homework off the field."
Powell: "Judging from last year to right now, he knows he’s the man right now. He knows he has to compete for his job next year, so he has to come out here and take every day as seriously as possible. That seems like what he’s doing. Like Vonn said, he’s studying the defense and making some very excellent throws."
On which safety is the biggest playmaker:
Powell: "Vonn. Vonn is."
Bell: "Oh my god."
Powell: "Vonn is the man around here! I’m just that other guy. (laughs) When the plays need to be made, one of us is going to make the play. The last couple of games, me and him made some very key plays. It’s basically like a good duo. I would say we’re like one of the best duos in the nation. We just have to go out there and prove it."
On the cornerback situation opposite returning starter Eli Apple:
Bell: "Gareon is stepping up. Damon Webb is stepping up. Cam Burrows, too. It’s a lot of guys that got a year under their belt."
Powell: "The thing about Gareon, he was successful last year. He just had Doran in front of him. There’s really not too much of a dropoff in my book. He’s making a lot of plays out there. He’s looking like a No. 1 corner to me. That’s my personal opinion. With him and Eli on both sides, Eli already has the experience and is making the plays like he was making last year. I’m very confident."
On sophomore safety Erick Smith:
Powell: "Erick’s the man. I tell you what, if I ever break a shoestring, ain’t nobody going to blink an eye. Everybody’s going to be like, ‘You know what? We’re good.’"
On setting examples:
Bell: "Everybody looks at us as leaders. They look for us to make that big play, bring that passion and bring the energy every play. We’re yelling out down and distance every play. We’re jumping around yelling out Cardale’s name. We’re just playing with energy and having fun out there. That gives a good vibe to the whole defense, and they just look up to us to make a play for them."
On their hobby of keeping quarterbacks humble:
Vonn: "I think we just harass him (Cardale) every play even more. I guess I do. I tell him he’s not nothing."
Powell: "We called a safety blitz where Tyvis got in there, baby! I had to pull up on him. I forgot that he wasn’t life. When I saw it was him I sped up even faster. But at the last minute I had to dodge him and get out of the way. I want him to know this: If this was live, you were going down, baby!"
Vonn: "They won’t let us hit. Coach Meyer won’t let us hit."