Roby finally gets on board with first picks
A week ago, Bradley Roby was getting a lot of kidding from his
fellow Ohio State defensive backs because they had interceptions
and he didn’t.
After all, Roby was the one member of the secondary who was
consistently getting rave reviews from the coaches to that point.
Yet he had dropped his only real shot at picking off an opposing
”Everybody gives me a hard time because I’m supposed to be all
this and all that,” Roby said at the time. ”It’s tough, but I
don’t really worry about it. It’s going to come to me when I need
it and when my team needs it.”
Boy, was that right.
Roby returned one interception 41 yards for a score and later
collected another errant throw in the eighth-ranked Buckeyes’ 63-38
victory over Nebraska on Saturday. He provided Ohio State’s first
points to help shake the Buckeyes out of a lethargic start, then
thwarted perhaps Nebraska’s last gasp of getting back in the game
with another pick late in the third quarter.
Just like before, his coaches are praising him.
”He’s by no means a finished product,” Roby’s position coach,
Kerry Coombs, said this week. ”He’s going to be a phenomenal
player. Frankly, I think the sky’s the limit. Bradley’s a
first-round draft pick down the road.”
Oh, and Roby’s not taking any heat from his friends this
In a season in which the Ohio State defense is yielding 21
points and a jaw-dropping 385 yards a game, Roby has stepped
forward as a budding star. Despite some shaky efforts by the
defense – the unit has given up lots of big gainers and missed lots
of key tackles – the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) are still rolling
heading into Saturday night’s game at Indiana (2-3, 0-2).
Roby, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound redshirt sophomore cornerback, has
made a remarkable turnaround after being a bit player on a sub-.500
team a year ago.
Despite still recovering from a shoulder injury that caused him
to miss a game, Roby has been perhaps the top playmaker for the
Buckeyes on defense.
He’s fourth on the team in tackles with 32, has two tackles for
a loss including a sack, has recovered a fumble and made an
incredible number of important stops and pass deflections. For
example, he has broken up nine passes – as many as the next two
Roby graded out at an almost unheard of 95 percent against
Nebraska according to the coaches’ evaluations. He was at 94
percent the week before after a make-or-break win at Michigan
”If he wasn’t playing well, then I’d say he wasn’t,” coach
Urban Meyer said. ”But he’s played very well. He’s grading
extraordinarily high for a corner – I mean, like, real high.”
Before the Nebraska game, Roby said he had watched enough film
to know that if he concentrated on a couple of particular pass
routes he might be able to ”jump” the route and step in front of
a pass. And that’s precisely what he did.
”I already I have a couple of routes that they run a lot that
I’m looking for an interception,” he said three days before the
game. ”Hopefully, they’re throwing and I’m in the right position.
I’ve got to get one this game.”
After the game, Roby said he had a dream earlier in the week
that he would return his first interception of the year for a
touchdown – and that his father had texted him on Saturday morning
saying he had had the exact same dream.
”It’s crazy how things work out like that,” Roby said.
Just as he had envisioned scoring on the pick in the dream, he
had almost foreseen what he was going to do after all the hours he
spent looking at Nebraska passing plays.
”Both of them were routes I had seen on film,” he said. ”I
told someone I would try to get picks on the routes I saw, because
they don’t throw much and I wanted to capitalize on my
Linebacker Ryan Shazier recognized the value of Roby’s timing in
making the two big plays.
”His play was amazing,” Shazier said. ”We just really needed
Roby intercepted three passes a year ago but more times than not
was victimized by a costly completion or a long bomb. Early in the
spring, Meyer had questioned whether he was serious about being a
His recent play has clearly provided an answer.
”I don’t think he ever gets beat, or rarely ever gets beat,”
lineman John Simon said of Roby. ”He’s a huge playmaker for us. We
love having him out there for us.”
Coombs said it is Roby’s confidence which has helped him become
an elite defender.
”I don’t ever want to coach a single corner who’s not cocky,
who doesn’t have swagger, who doesn’t have an arrogance about
him,” Coombs said. ”Because the corner who doesn’t is going to
Roby, however, believes it’s just luck if a ball is completed on
”The reason that he’s good, God gave him a lot of ability,”
Coombs said. ”But the reason he’s great is because he’s taken what
God has given him and he’s mastered his craft.”
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