Roby Coming On

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Last updated: 10/31/2013 1:16 AM
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Football
Roby Regaining Form After Slow Start
By Rob Ogden

A cornerback's mistakes are always glaring, no matter who it is. When that cornerback is an outspoken, All-American, possible NFL first-round pick, the mishaps are even more exposed.

Bradley Roby
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bradley Roby

Ohio State corner back Bradley Roby has learned that fact the hard way.

After a rough start to the season, the junior is thankful for time to turn things around.

"I just really had to focus and get back to how I approached the game last year," Roby said.

"First half of the season I was worried about too much other things than what my job was. I forgot that doing my job is what got me here in the first place. I just got back to the basics and the small things, that's what I've been focusing on lately."

A first-team All-American as a redshirt sophomore in 2012, Roby was a considered a clear first-round pick and the star of the Buckeyes' defense.

He led the nation with 19 pass breakups and was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award. 

After he passed on the NFL draft, expectations heading into this season were high.

But before even playing a down of football, Roby was suspended for the first game of the season for an altercation he was involved in outside a bar in Bloomington, Ind.

The incident was just the first of a series of mishaps.

After allowing two touchdowns against Cal, Roby's on-field struggles continued two weeks later against Wisconsin, when he was torched by receiver Jared Abbrederis, who finished with 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. His difficulties culminated Oct. 19 against Iowa, when he was tossed from the game for targeting Hawkeyes tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Following the game against Iowa, coach Urban Meyer said Roby wasnt playing at the same level he was a year ago.

Finally, sensing a downward spiral, Roby said enough is enough.

"After the Wisconsin game, something changed where I'm not playing to impress anybody, I'm playing to do my job and to make plays for my teammates," he said.

"Once you change your mindset from trying to please scouts, fans, other people to making plays for my teammates, doing my job, that's when it all shifts and that's when I got back to how I normally play."

Saturday against Penn State, Meyer said Roby played his best game of the season, as the corner kept All-Big Ten receiver Allen Robinson in check.

Bradley Roby
Photo by Dan Harker
Bradley Roby

It did't take long for Roby to realize what he was doing wrong, and what he needed to do to correct it.

"I was trying to make too many plays, trying to live up to something," he said.

"At corner you've just got to wait for the plays to come to you, you can't go to the plays because when you try to do that too much that's when you get beat on double moves or a deep pass. You've just got to wait for it to come to you and if you're a good player, you'll make the plays."

In the months following the end of Ohio State's perfect 12-0 season, Roby wondered if he made the right decision in forgoing the NFL draft for at least another year.

He doesn't think about it anymore. That's what caused him to lose focus in the first place, he said.

Plus, he knows he still has room to improve.

"To be good at corner you have to concentrate on the little things. It's all about the details," he said.

"You have to keep a certain mindset throughout the whole game. If you get off that mindset it can go bad quickly. When I play disciplined and with my technique, I feel like I'm the best.

"I think that's why I had to come back. My mindset in the game, adjusting throughout the game. That's what it takes to take your game to the next level. Every week I'm trying to get better, so at the end of the season I'll be at my best."

His biggest need for improvement, Roby said, might be in the way he practices. Meyer would likely agree.

"He really had a great week of practice, and that's his whole issue," Meyer said. "When he practices well, he usually plays well."

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