Ohio State’s All-America cornerback Bradley Roby has yet to step on the field this season, but he’s still making his impact felt throughout the program.
The junior, who was suspended for the Buckeyes’ 40-20 win against Buffalo, has taken the younger defensive backs under his wing and introduced them to his relentless film study habits.
Against the Bulls, senior free safety Christian Bryant was the Buckeyes’ only returning starter at defensive back. Senior safety Corey “Pitt” Brown, sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves and redshirt freshman nickel back Tyvis Powell all made their first career start in the season opener.
Knowing that he wouldn’t be playing until week two against San Diego State, Roby spent the offseason preparing his teammates for those debuts.
“Roby has been putting in a lot of work, especially in camp,” Bryant said. “Last week, knowing that he wasn’t going to play, he did a lot. I think he did a better job of leading the guys, some of the younger guys like Doran and Armani, the whole week last week. I remember I watched film with him last week, just so me and him could be on the same page and so he could give me some tips about Buffalo. I feel like me and Roby work well together, especially in the boundary.”
Playing without Roby, the Ohio State defense surrendered 185 passing yards, with sophomore safety Ron Tanner snatching the defensive backfield’s only interception. Powell finished with five tackles, while Reeves broke up three passes and Grant notched five tackles and a pair of pass breakups.
Grant credited his success to Roby’s film sessions with the defense in the week leading up to the game.
“Knowing that he wasn’t going to be able to play the first game, he was helping me, Armani Reeves and the also the young guys – basically the whole defense,” Grant said. “He was still being a leader. He’s a great leader. He was being, like I said, a coach in the film room, in the corners’ room. He was always there coaching, giving his keys and clues for what we have to look for leading up to the game.
“The little things that you have to look at on film are what separates good from great players. With him being there all the way, it helped me with little things like that. He’s helping me become a good player.”
While Roby has demonstrated his ability to give his teammates a helping hand when it comes to breaking down opposing offensive schemes, most of the film watching he does for his own benefit revolves around what will likely be his new profession next fall.
“Roby watches a ton of film,” Powell said. “The thing about Roby is he likes to watch people on the next level, So basically, what he would do is he’ll say, ‘Yeah, Tyvis, I’m watching (Atlanta Falcons cornerback) Asante Samuel today. You should look at him.’ So he’ll show me some stuff to work on. Anything he’s seen from people in the NFL that’s successful, he will come back and tell the corners – back when I was a corner – he would tell us about the stuff.
“I went out there and tried it – I mean, that’s what practice is for – and some of those things have been very successful.”
Facing a team that passed 63 times in their first contest, the Buckeyes’ secondary might have plenty of chances on Saturday to test the advice of their most decorated teammate. Ohio State has not had an opponent attempt 60 passes in a game since Oct. 6, 2007, in a 23-7 win at No. 23 Purdue.