OSU Parents Share In Pro Day Nerves

Unlike most professions, the NFL job interviews that take place at Pro Day occur in front of families and friends as well as scouts. BuckeyeSports.com caught up with the parents of four of Ohio State's draft prospects -- Bradley Roby, Philly Brown, Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley -- to find out what it's like to see your son audition with potential jobs on the line.

As he stood on the turf inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, a field on which he had practiced countless times over the past five years, All-American offensive lineman Jack Mewhort was asked about the next phase of his life.

"How many times have you typed ‘mock draft' into Google?"

The question came following Ohio State's NFL Pro Day on Friday, not long after Mewhort and many of his OSU teammates had worked out in front of scouts from all 32 NFL teams. His answer was swift.

"Zero," he said. "Ask my dad. It's probably a different answer."

Leaving the analysis of his position drills performance to the roughly 80 professionals there to see him, it can still be said that Mewhort certainly succeeded in his guess about his father. While Jack has managed to avoid any and all mock drafts in recent months, his father was unsuccessful in that endeavor – just as the younger Mewhort predicted.

"I'd be lying if I told you I didn't occasionally look at that stuff," Don Mewhort told BuckeyeSports.com. "It's hard to not see it. I try not to pay too much attention to it. Really, anything can happen. I've seen guys go earlier than they thought they'd go, and I've also seen a lot of guys go later. You don't get your hopes up. You just let the chips fall where they may."

Of course, most parents want to avoid the draft speculation that follows their children, but Buckeye parents experienced varying degrees of success in that endeavor.

"Every day it changes," said Betty Roby, the mother of OSU's star cornerback Bradley Roby. "One day it's the Eagles, the next day it's the Bengals and the day after that it's the Titans. I don't pay any attention to that."

Roby's mother was sitting next to Delene Williams, the mother of Corey "Philly" Brown, in the bleacher section reserved for the families of players competing at Pro Day. Williams quickly chimed in with a point about why she attempts to stay away from any projections surrounding her son.

"Really, it can be hard to figure out because someone else's opinion may not be what the team's opinion is," she said.

There are several unique aspects of the NFL scouting process, chief among them that more common professions like say, stockbrokers, don't often go through job interviews in skin-tight clothing with their parents watching.

That process may be pressure-packed for the players themselves, but it's nothing compared to the parents and relatives who feel helpless in the stands, just as they did throughout the high school and collegiate careers of those now auditioning for an NFL shot.

"Just like with any other job interview, you want to make sure you do everything right," Williams said. "But it can be very stressful for the parents. I think sometimes the parents are more stressed out than the children."

Said Jim Linsley, the father of OSU center Corey Linsley: "It's crazy. You stop and think about how we even got to this place. You're sitting there and watching them because it's your kid, and sometimes you have to step back because you've watched over the years when it was other kids, and then you go, ‘Wait a minute, that's my kid out there.' It's mind-numbing some times."

They all have their own ways of dealing with it. The elder Linsley said that he treated the night before OSU Pro Day with the same mind-set that he's used throughout his son's playing career.

"Fridays before games from middle school until now are the same," he said. "Pacing myself back and forth, getting knots in my stomach. A lot of the parents who don't have kids who have played always say, ‘What do you think about the game on Saturday?' I don't think about the game. I think about tailgating. They ask me why, and I tell them it's because that's what I can control. I can't control the game, so I think about tailgating and meeting up with all the parents. My mind is blank, I'm not thinking about the game and I'm way more relaxed."

He plans on taking the same approach when it comes to the NFL Draft. Noting that the draft is now three days long, he said that he had no plans for any sort of elaborate celebration or public watch party. He smiled at the mention of Joe Thomas, the former Wisconsin offensive tackle who spent his draft day on a fishing trip with his father. While he has no specific plans at the moment, Jim said that draft day at the Linsley household will likely be a low-key affair with close friends.

"All I remember is the stories about poor Brady Quinn going to New York (for the draft)," he said. "I don't want that happening to my kid."

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