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Terry Gilliam, Associated Press
FILE - In this March 31, 2011 file photo, Ohio State defensive coach Jim Haycock, left, runs with a group of defensive players during the first day of NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. Even though most of the starters from a year ago have graduated, one of the biggest surprises at Ohio State this spring is the effectiveness of the Buckeyes defense.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State's offense hasn't had a great spring. But how much of that is the doing of the defense?

Almost everyone on either side of the ball for the Buckeyes believes the unit has been an overwhelming surprise.

The thing is, this isn't supposed to be a vintage year for the defense. The unit was devastated by graduation, losing starting linemen Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore, linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle and four mainstays in the secondary in Chimdi Chekwa, Devon Torrence, Aaron Gant and Jermale Hines.

But instead of limping along, the unit has been terrific for most of the spring.