September 12, 2012

Bryant enlists in help of Ohio State great

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - After the first two seasons of his college career, Christian Bryant's time at Ohio State wasn't going exactly how he planned it. The junior safety had just finished his first season as a full-time starter, but it came during a 6-7 season where the Buckeyes' secondary gave up big plays to opposing offenses on a regular basis.

"For me last year, I'd say it was an average year," Bryant said. "Sophomore season, I didn't really know too much going into last season."

The Cleveland native finished third on the Buckeyes in tackles in 2011- not always the best sign for a defender whose job is to keep the ball out of opponents hands. After reviewing film of OSU's previous season, first-year Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer he was less than impressed by Bryant's efforts.

"I know Christian Bryant played here, but I didn't see as much as I'm seeing now," Meyer said.

In an effort to get his career back on track, Bryant enlisted in the help of one of the all-time greats to have played his position at Ohio State.

"I've been watching film with Mike Doss over the offseason, he was just critiquing my play from last year," Bryant said. "That got me a lot better."

A three-time All-American safety at Ohio State from 1999-2002, Doss was far from shy in giving Bryant an honest assessment of his play.

"He just said, 'Man, you got to do way better,'" Bryant said. "He'd seen some plays that I let go last year and he just gave me some pointers on how to read the offensive line and everything in the backfield and just have eye control."

Having met Bryant when he was just a high schooler at an OSU football camp, Doss was eager to take the Glenville product under his wings this past summer. According to Bryant, a friendship between the former and current OSU safeties forged immediately.

"He was out here and he introduced himself to me really formally, we really weren't introduced yet, and the bond, we just clicked," Bryant said. "Me and Mike Doss, we've been close. This whole offseason, I got closer with him."

It's only been a small sample size, but Doss' efforts with Bryant appear to have paid off. The fiery 5-foot-10, 192-pound safety has looked like a whole new player in the Buckeyes' first two games of 2012, recording 12 tackles- five of which came in the team's 56-10 win over Miami (OH) on Sept. 1.

Following the Buckeyes' opener, the OSU coaching staff graded out Bryant's performance as a 96 percent success rate, good enough to make him a member of Meyer's inaugural 'Champions Club.' But perhaps nobody was prouder of Bryant's play than Doss, who can rest comfortably knowing that the legacy of Buckeyes defensive backs to wear the No. 2 jersey is in safe hands.

"We both wear the same number, so he said I've got to hold it down for him," Bryant said.


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