Schlegel Competing At Linebacker

The Buckeyes should have one of the nation's top groups of linebackers this year, and a big reason is junior Anthony Schlegel. Schlegel talked yesterday about the competition at LB and also gave some thoughts on married life.

Although there isn't any noticeable difference because of it when he's on the gridiron, this Anthony Schlegel playing linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes is actually different than the one that previously played at the Air Force Academy.

Schlegel was married in February, but he claims that the sacred union he made with his wife has been a change only for the better.

"It's actually just helped only because now I can go home and she cooks for me and we hang out," he said. "She's my best friend, so it's only helped it."

However, there's really no x's and o's discussed at the dinner table.

"No, she's not a coach at home; she just takes care of me, which is something that the other guys don't have," Schlegel said. "I just go home to a wife. Dustin (Fox) has it, and it's great. It's awesome now."

Wedded-bliss aside, Schlegel thought the defense was pretty awesome in the jersey scrimmage, even though they weren't able to wrestle the Scarlet ones away from the offense.

"They had the ball on the 38 (yard line) and we were three-and-out, three-and-out. I thought the defense played really well," he said. "We started off kind of slow, but (in) jersey scrimmages they have everything mapped out and they're doing certain things because they know what we're running, and they can find little different wrinkles to run against our stuff. But I thought defensively we played really well."

Schlegel assessed his own play during the scrimmage in a similar manner

"I thought that I played fairly well but there are certain things I just got to get a little better at," he said. "Everybody is going to find something that they've got to improve on. I just think that we can keep playing better. I think this defense is going to be really good."

The Buckeye defense still has another week of practice to hone their skills before they begin game preparations to shut down Cincinnati on Sept. 4.

"(In) our last week of practice, we're just trying to get to where everybody is perfect," Schlegel said. "The way Ohio State is fast on defense is because everybody knows what everybody's doing, and when you have that type of knowledge you can just play fast and let your abilities take care of the rest. So that's what we're really trying to do this last week."

Inevitably, questions about Schlegel versus Mike D'Andrea come up.

"Mike played well. He had an interception and a couple of big hits," Schlegel said. "That's what competition is all about. I have to elevate my game, and he has to elevate his game, and that's why Ohio State is successful -- there are always people battling. So that's great. That's what we want."

Although both guys have worked with the first unit throughout camp, Schlegel doesn't really view it as an individual competition.

"Right now in camp, what we're doing is we're just rolling (guys in and out), and they just want to put the guys out there that know the defense and can play," he said. "We're all battling, it's just who's going to make plays. And all of us had plays today, so that's good."

In certain instances during the scrimmage, D'Andrea played alongside Schlegel in a four-man linebacking set behind a three-linemen front.

"It's a situational-type defense," Schlegel said. "We run certain things in certain situations with different personnel, and they're going to use it so they can get us on the field at the same time. But that's all up to Coach Snyder and Coach Tucker."

The Bearcats, behind a veteran quarterback, will be a difficult test for the defense in the home opener. Their former coordinator, the head coach at Cincinnati, knows the potential strengths and weaknesses of this defense as well as their current one. According to Schlegel, the defense will be up to the challenge.

"I know we're ready to go play a game right now," he said. "We've just got to get working on our timing, and everything and just being perfect, really. That's why we will be able to have a great defense this year once we get that."

He's just ready to hit someone who's wearing something other than a scarlet or gray jersey.

"Amen to that," Schlegel said. "It's going to be great."

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