OSU Q&A: Part 3

Part 3 of Badger Nation's Q&A with Bucknuts.com's Kirk Larrabee, as part of our "Ohio State Week."

BN: What problems might the departure of safeties Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey have on the secondary? Who will be filling their shoes?

Larrabee: Safety is one of only a few areas of concern for Ohio State. Senior Will Allen takes over at free safety and should do fine, but the strong safety spot is up for grabs (this year, OSU is moving to "left" and "right" safeties, but we'll continue to use free and strong to refer to them for now). It looks like sophomore Nate Salley is the favorite at the strong spot although sophomore Tyler Everett is going to push as well. I feel though that safety is a spot of a little concern, but the potential is there to have a fine tandem, whoever may wind up starting.

BN: Do you feel star recruit Donte Whitner might step in right away at safety? Who else from OSU's highly-touted recruiting class can contribute immediately?

Larrabee: I think Whitner can help right away. I don't know if he'll start, but I think his presence after coming in early gives the unit a boost and helps with depth. As for the other freshmen, I mentioned Irizarry, who I think should contribute early. From what I have seen though, I think most of the class will redshirt. There's talent in this class for sure, but OSU has the luxury of being deep in most areas and likely will not need much from this group of players. But I'd look for Whitner and Irizarry to contribute, and don't count out someone else at safety (maybe Ira Guilford or Curt Lukens). Many also feel David Patterson is good enough to get in the DL mix right away despite the depth and quality returning on the OSU defensive line.

BN: What effect will the departure of linebacker Matt Wilhelm have on the defense?

Larrabee: I think he'll be missed. Wilhelm is one of the top two or three hardest players to replace. Right now, it's early to say who will be the man at Mike LB (likely Fred Pagac, Jr or the athletic but still learning Mike D'Andrea, who had a fine showing in the spring game), but most people expect a drop off at that spot.

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