Ohio State defense strives to be 'best in America'
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
As the Buckeyes football team put spring practice behind them, players and coaches know they have much to improve upon in the coming months before the 2012 season kicks off.
Although the team was ruled ineligible for a bowl game this coming season and have no championships to chase, players said that hasn’t made them any less motivated.
“All we’re thinking about is beating everybody that comes into the ‘Shoe and wherever we go,” sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby said. “We just want to win every game. That’s our plan.”
Players said the initial news of their team’s ineligibility was frustrating, but when word came that new coach Urban Meyer was taking the reigns, their focus began to shift.
“Everyone was pretty down about the whole thing,” sophomore cornerback Doran Grant said. “We thought first all that stuff (from the previous season), now this? But Coach Meyer came in and gave us a plan and we just took off with it.”
And that plan, according to players, involved winning. One of the newest addition to Ohio State football practices has been the winner and loser days, where every drill is either counted as a win, or a loss for the offense and defense.
“It’s really competitive out there,” senior cornerback Travis Howard said. “Our goal is to compete every practice and win every play.”
And the increased competition has made an impression on the defensive players, who want to get back to the hard-nosed “Silver Bullet” defense OSU has been known for in years past.
“We kind of fell off a bit last year,” Howard said. “But everybody has come back strong, has the right mentality and the right attitude. We’re ready to take on that role of a ‘Silver Bullet’ defense again at Ohio State. It’s definitely our time this year.”
Roby said he is confident that will be the case in 2012.
“We’re going to be so much better this year, it’s going to be crazy,” he said. “We just have to take in the competition and work on making plays.”
But in order to achieve that “Silver Bullet” title, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said the team needs to “tighten up the details.”
“It’s the small things,” Coombs said. “We’ve got to tighten up our fundamentals. We’re getting a lot of plays at game speed, and when that happens, a lot of fundamentals get exposed. We need to overcome that and sharpen the sword a little bit.”
But despite those mistakes, Coombs said he couldn’t be happier with his team.
“Nobody is practicing harder than we are,” Coombs said. “I think (the team) just individually and collectively wants to be the best they can be, and that’s just very impressive to me. It makes it very exciting to come to work everyday.”
Grant and his teammates have the bar set high.
“We’re just trying to be B.I.A.,” he said. “Best in America.”