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Britton out to prove naysayers wrong
He hears everyone, like me, saying that the Buckeye cornerbacks are going to be the weak link on the team this year.
But he doesn't care. He's just waiting his chance to prove everyone wrong.
"We're the sleepers on the team," Britton told Bucknuts.com. "That's what I like to call us — the sleepers on the team. We are going to surprise a lot of people this year. Teams might think that we're the weakness of the defense, but come August 24th, we'll see."
Britton (5-10, 185, Jr.) understands where the criticism comes from. The Jacksonville, Fla. native knows that he, Richard McNutt, Dustin Fox and Harlen Jacobs are young and unproven. But he also sees a group that's talented and hungry.
"I can see where there might be some concerns from the fans, but to call us weak is just false. We're just young out there. We don't have a whole lot of experience even though I've played some, McNutt has played some, Dustin has played some and Harlen has played some. We're just young out there, we'll develop. It takes time with that position. But once we get going, I think we're going to play really well and surprise some people."
As a true freshman in 2000, Britton played in 11 games (every game except the Outback Bowl). He was expected to crack the starting lineup last year, but a groin injury hampered him for most of the season.
"It was terrible. It was really hard to bounce back from that injury. I actually just healed from it, it was still with me during the spring a little bit. Right now, I'm just working hard and trying to get my flexibility better."
Why didn't the Buckeyes redshirt Britton last year?
"At the time of the injury, we were too deep in the season to take a medical. It happened like seven games in and the cut-off is like four. It was just too late to do anything."
Entering his junior year, Britton feels that he needs to take on more of a leadership role. He wants his last two years at OSU to include things like Big Ten titles and Rose Bowls — things that he has not experienced yet.
"I want to be one of the leaders of this team. We've got to get back to the top of the Big Ten and be nationally recognized. I mean, we've got a long way to go, but all of us want to get the program back to the Rose Bowl. We talk about it almost every day. The national championship would be good, but as a team, we're just focused on winning the Big Ten and getting to the Rose Bowl right now."
Britton is looking forward to OSU's 13-game regular season schedule this year. He especially likes the fact that most of the non-conference foes are passing teams.
"Three of the first four teams we play like to throw the ball. Texas Tech, Washington State and Cincinnati. We'll probably have a lot of DBs rotating in and out and I like that. We can all get out there on those four and five receiver sets and show what we can do."
What are some of Britton's personal goals for the season? Does he want to start? Crack the two-deep?
"I just want to say healthy and give all that I have to the team. I'm not worried about starting or anything because it's all about the team. When I get my chance to get out there, no matter what position it is, I just want to help the team."
For the rest of July, Britton and the Buckeyes will be working on 7-on-7 drills. The DBs and linebackers go up against the offensive skill position players in non-contact, passing situations.
"The 7-on-7 drills have been a big help this summer. We're all working on our reads and our coverage skills. For me, I'm just working hard to improve on any weaknesses I might have," Britton said.
Senior wide receiver Chris Vance says he has seen improvement from the DBs during the 7-on-7's.
"They've definitely looked better," Vance said. "Bobby, McNutt, Fox — they've all looked really good. We have some pretty good receivers, but it's a competition out there every day. One day the offense wins and the next day the defense wins. Our corners are going to sneak up on some people this year."
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