:: The Daily O’Collegian | Coaching changes make Van Zant better on the field ::

Coaching changes make Van Zant better on the field

April 6, 2007
Tristan Threlkeld
Sports Writer

Martel Van Zant.jpgMartel Van Zant, a fan favorite since his arrival on campus in 2004, has overcome more than being hearing impaired while being a Division I athlete.

He has also had to learn three complex defenses in four years since he has arrived.

Van Zant is going into his fourth and final year as a Cowboy cornerback and will play for his third defensive coordinator this coming season with Tim Beckman recently named as OSU’s defensive coordinator.

“When we had Coach (Bill) Clay, he was easy to understand, but made us work hard,” Van Zant said. “Then we got Coach (Vance) Bedford. It was a little bit easier defense to understand, but now that we got Coach Beckman, he’s got words for everything.

“That makes it easier for me to understand, when we have words instead of numbers for plays; the defense seems to understand it a little more.”

Van Zant said that out of all the defenses, Beckman’s is the best for the players and was the easiest for him to learn.

“I learn better by doing it on the field than I do in the video and meeting room,” Van Zant said.

It was apparent early in spring practice that Van Zant has had no drop off from Bedford’s defense to Beckman’s. He was the first recipient of the black jersey, which is awarded to defensive players who consistently make good plays and play hard every practice.

“I think he is unbelievable,” Beckman said. “I feel privileged that I’m able to be involved with coaching a young man like that. The dedication and the heart and soul that he brings to the team is amazing.”

Beckman said with Van Zant being deaf, he has an advantage that most players don’t have.

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