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Last updated: 03/11/2011 9:40 PM

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Football
Departing Buckeyes Showcased in Pro Day
By Tony Gerdeman

For sixteen departing Buckeyes, and a handful of past Buckeyes and local small college players, Friday was one of the biggest job interviews of their lives - their Pro Day - the day they audition for NFL scouts and try to catch somebody's eye.

It was especially important for those players who weren't invited to the NFL combine last month because this might be their last real chance to impress the scouts.

It's not just those who weren't invited to the combine who have a lot of pressure on them, because the Pro Day is also a chance for players to better the numbers they felt they needed to improve upon from the combine.

Regardless of their respective situations, it was a tense and pressure-packed day for all involved. The following is a breakdown of what many of those Buckeyes had to say, as well as how they performed.

* Brian Rolle took part in the defensive back drills as well as linebacker drills. He said he wants to give scouts as much to think about as possible. He also said teams have talked to him about special teams, which he's all for. He said he did pretty well in the DB drills for never really doing them before.

"I think it's very serious," he said regarding the defensive back drills.

"That shows that I'm willing to compete. Not just do LB drills and be locked into one thing. I did DB drills just to show that if they want me to play outside backer for two downs and then come in as a nickel back or strong safety, then I'm up for it.”

“I've never done it, and I went out there and I feel like I did a tremendous job. I got a bunch of compliments, so I feel that I did well.”

“It was easy for me as an athlete. I pick up on things very easily. So once I saw Devon Torrence do it, he was the first guy in every drill, I just picked it up right then.”

However, when he sees himself down the road, there is one place he'd rather see himself than any other.

“In my perfect world, I want to play Mike linebacker. That's what I've grown accustomed to here the last couple of years. But I know that nothing's perfect. If they want me to play the Mike, the Sam, the Will, or defensive tackle and gain 100 pounds, I'll do that.”

* Justin Boren had a much better 40 time today, running a 5.21 and 5.15, after recording a 5.54 at the combine. We were told afterward that Boren had a sprained ankle at the combine, but they didn't tell anybody. He said he's dropped about 25 pounds since the Sugar Bowl. His vertical was 32" and broad jump was 8'0", which he was happy with. He said the Baltimore Ravens have been talking to him quite a bit. Andy Moeller is an assistant with the Ravens and he was Boren's offensive line coach at Michigan. One of the frequent topics to come up when Boren would speak to the various NFL teams was the fact that he transferred. Many organizations view that as a question mark.

"I've heard that," he said.

"I don't know why it would be a question mark. The new system up there didn't fit the kind of player I was. The whole offense, the atmosphere, everything. When I was getting recruited, it was either two schools: Ohio State or Michigan. So when things didn't work out up there, there was only one school that I wanted to play for. I had to pay my own way. I don't know how they can question anything where I walked on here and paid my own way for three years.”

“At the combine some teams tried to hit me hard with that, and I don't really understand it. I tried to explain my side and I think towards the end, they got the picture. They understood a little better. I don't know how anyone can fault me. If you took a survey of a thousand people, I don't think one would tell you that I made the wrong decision.”

* Ross Homan only ran the 40 and did position drills today. He ran a 4.60 and 4.65, both bettering his 4.68 at the combine. He said today was pretty easy because of the amount of preparation that goes on at Ohio State. He's not the only player who said that, by the way. Said he thinks his game speed is faster than his 40 time. He sees himself as a Mike or Will in a 4-3, or an ILB in a 3-4. Said scouts told him it's 90% game film, 10% combine/workouts as to how they view players, and he's happy with his game film. Said today's workout was like second nature. The toughest thing for Homan, however, is just not knowing where he stands.

“It's kind of hard," he said.

"No one really tells you, 'Well, we like you a lot', or 'We hate you a lot'. No one really gives you a whole lot of feedback.”

“Did I say the right things? Did I mess up? Do they like me? Do they hate me? You have no idea.”

When asked about head coach Jim Tressel, however, there was no doubt where Homan and the Buckeyes stand.

“He has all of our support. I think every player, past and present, they wouldn't take one bullet, they'd take two bullets for that man for everything that he's done for us.”

* Bryant Browning didn't run because he strained his right hamstring, but he'll likely run at Cam Heyward's workout in late March. Said he thinks he can play all five positions on the offensive line, and will be working on taking snaps as well.

* Dane Sanzenbacher had his Big Ten Network crew following him around gathering more footage for the network's draft buildup show. He's officially a star, but still refuses to act like one. He said he wanted to "touch" 4.4 today, which he did with a 4.48 after running a 4.59 at the combine. He said he was "ready to attack" the day today. Has been looking forward to it. He wasn't nervous because he could only surprise people. (That's something he's done quite a bit.) Mentioned that former Ohio State receivers coach Darrell Hazell texted him prior to the combine to let him know that the NFLers were going to try and make him mad during the interviews and to not let it happen. Asked if today was an enjoyable process, he wasted no time answering "No". Commented that it was emotionally and mentally much tougher than physically. Said he didn't really picture himself with such a good chance at the NFL when he first got to Ohio State, saying that Ohio State "is just too big to look past". The kid has such a good head on his shoulders. Said he's not sure what he'll do if there's a lockout and no NFL games. Said he'd probably have to get an internship if anybody (the reporters) needed one. He was asked if he patterned himself after any other receivers, and seemingly knowing where the questioning was going, nipped it in the bud.

“Not really," he said.

"I get that a lot. I get that, 'Oh, you must model [yourself] against Wes Welker and Anthony Gonzalez', but I don't. I mean they're great players, but I've always just kind of done my own thing. You can look at all kinds of players and take little bits from everybody and what they do. Just being here, you get to see film on the great Ohio State players before you.”

* Brandon Saine ran a 4.42 and a 4.40, besting his 4.43 from the combine. Said he can't change anything that's on film, but felt the 40 time jibes with his football speed. He said he hasn't noticed anything different in the mood around the WHAC since the Jim Tressel situation. Said he was surprised that it happened, but he still has faith in everybody.

* Taurian Washington ran a 4.47 and a 4.49 and said he did extremely well in the receiver drills. Said he had a couple of jitters yesterday and couldn't sleep. Woke up this morning, ate and prayed. He's been working out with Butch Reynolds. Regarding Tressel, said at the end of the day, everybody makes mistakes and Tressel had a very tough decision to make.

* Jermale Hines improved his stock on the day and was happy with his second 40 time, which was 4.57.  After running a 4.68 at the combine, he was shooting for the mid-4.5s. He also did linebacker drills and did well. Said it was like being a nickel back. His broad jump was 9'6". Definitely feels playing Star has helped him with his NFL chances. Said a lot of teams see him as just an in-the-box safety, and he wanted to show more than that. He mentioned that board work and film study are the easiest things for him, so he has had no problems displaying that to the NFL teams. Regarding Tressel, he said everybody's still up and that it's not going to cloud the atmosphere around there. Asked about who to watch for next year, and he said Jamie Wood was really coming on at the end of last year. Also said it doesn't really matter where rising sophomore Christian Bryant plays, be it safety, corner or star, he can handle it.He said that he's happy with his game film, but there is one thing he would change if he could.

"The only thing I wanted more of in my college career was for people to take more shots at me," he said. "That's the only thing I could have asked for. Just throw the ball at me more when I'm in the middle of the field."

* Dexter Larimore ran a 5.10 and a 5.16 while sporting a very healthy and impressive beard. He felt he did very well on the day. He hasn't gotten any feedback yet because the NFL is so secretive, but said people view him as a slower, heavier defensive tackle, and he felt that his performance went a long way towards disproving some of those notions. He got 32 reps up on the bench press, which he felt was respectable considering his multiple years with elbow problems.Oh, and how long is he going to keep his beard?

“That's a good question," he said. "I'm not positive yet, but I think Cam (Heyward) is having another pro day on the 30th, so I might keep it until then.”

The thought of doing this all over again in a couple of weeks doesn't bother him at all, and for good reason.

“Any time I can get in front of scouts, I'm there,” he said

“It's been my dream since I was a kid. The teacher said, 'Hey, why don't you draw what you want to be when you grow up', and people are doing firemen and those kind of things, and I would draw myself as an NFL football player. That's what I've always wanted to be since I was four-years old. As a person and as an individual, I want to be able to say that I accomplished my lifelong dream.”

And when he was drawing himself as an NFL player, was it as a defensive tackle?

“I don't think I did draw myself as a defensive tackle, but that kind of got filled in as I grew. I think I was a running back, but that became unrealistic at about seven.”

Well, did the running back that he drew at least have a beard?

“No, I don't think so,” he laughed.

* 29 NFL teams participated. Washington, Arizona and Seattle were the only organizations that did not show up.

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