(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story was written by the newest member of our Bucknuts team, Chris Britt.)
Bryant isn't tall, but he packs a punch at 5-10, 190.
When people think of Ohio State’s defense last year, or even the defense for this upcoming season, a few things and players come to mind. However, one that hardly is heard is that of junior safety Christian Bryant.
Bryant, who hails from Cleveland Glenville (which also produced former Buckeye defensive backs Donte Whitner and Jermale Hines, and current freshman safety De’van Bogard), is short and sweet both literally and figuratively. Bryant stands at 5-foot-10, weighs 190 pounds and lets his actions speak for him. When he does talk, he doesn’t beat around the bush, but rather gets to the point.
When asked to describe this season’s camp and how it’s different from his sophomore campaign Bryant was succinct.
“We’ve had a good camp so far,” Bryant said. “I wouldn’t say it’s too much of a difference but we’re more experienced and we go out there working hard every day.
“It’s a lot faster. In practice, we’re more conditioned for the season. It’s crazy. The offensive pace is faster, the defensive pace is faster. As individuals we want to win.”
Bryant, who proudly wears No. 2 on defense, is ready to make people think of and remember his name this season when they think of the Buckeye defensive unit. All he needs to do is remain consistent and build off last season’s impressive stats.
Regularly being one of the shortest players on the field doesn’t bother Bryant. Even though he has the quiet demeanor about him off-the-field (he’s definitely animated on the gridiron), he brings a physical presence to the field that more than makes up for his “lack” of size.
Bryant, locked in as a starter at safety, will look to build on his 68 (39 unassisted) tackle performance as a sophomore, which included nine starts. He also had nine passes defended (13th in the Big Ten, second on the team) and one interception. His 68 tackles were third-most for the Buckeyes.
One thing Bryant doesn’t mind discussing and elaborating on are his freshmen teammates. When asked about some of the guys on the team that will help this season, the junior had this to say.
“I’m excited overall for the season. We have a lot of positive guys. We have a lot of experienced guys. The freshmen came in and they’ve done positive things,” Bryant stated. “David Perkins, De’van Bogard and Noah [Spence] are a few. There are a lot of guys standing out as freshmen. I just feel like they are going to come and step in and do good things.
“He’s a physical specimen,” Bryant beamed about Bogard. “He’s not scared of anybody. I gave him some positive words before camp. I told him ‘to go and play fearless because as a freshman you’re going to make mistakes.’
“One word to describe him is animal,” Bryant said in reference to Perkins. “He’s physical, not scared of anything and fearless.”
Bryant has no problem praising teammates, but his main concern is to perform on the field on Saturdays. Hopefully in a winning performance so people praise him. Once Sept. 1 rolls around and the Buckeyes take the field against the Miami RedHawks, the only thing on Bryant’s mind is going to be playing great defense and doing his part to prevent scoring by the opposition.
“That’s one of things we talk about all the time,” Bryant said. “We try to play great defense and win games. Defense actually wins games. We talk about that all the time. (Head coach Urban) Meyer stresses that all the time as something we need to focus on.
“We’re playing to make a statement. We’re trying to go out there every game and compete and win. We try to crush other team’s dreams. That’s all we really can do.”
Not having any postseason can be tough, but the 2012 Buckeyes are embracing it and only see it as one more obstacle to overcome.
“Just having a chip on our shoulders is big,” Bryant said. “Coach Meyer talks about that all the time. You have to play with a chip on your shoulders. We have to be angry in a comfortable way. We can’t go out there with an uncontrollable anger. You have to have it built up and stay together as a team.”
Even though that anger goes unnoticed in Bryant a lot of times due to his soft-spoken nature off-the-field, it is there in the form of poise and a tireless work ethic. And now as a second-year starter, Bryant is hoping to help lead a stellar Scarlet and Gray defense.
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