Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘You can be a laughingstock on social media’

Ohio State Buckeyes Football Jeff Okudah Rose Bowl

Brian Hartline Confident In His Receivers

Every time the 2019 edition of the Ohio State receivers room is written about, by law there must be considerable mention of the players lost at the position from last season.

Gone are Parris Campbell’s 90 catches and watch-me-go speed, Terry McLaurin’s abilities to make big plays and bigger blocks, and Johnnie Dixon’s penchant for timely touchdowns.

Replacing them is a tough ask for anybody, but no one player is being asked to make that happen.

This is going to be a total room effort, which is why receivers coach Brian Hartline is so high on the possibilities for his guys this season.

“To me, it will be all based on opportunities and how we’re going,” he said. “Obviously, I think there’s going to be some things that we’re probably doing a little different than we did last year just like anything. Our offense is always geared to our skill set and what our skill set does best across the board, whether it be O-line, the quarterback, running back or ourselves. So offense fundamentally could be tweaked a little bit execution-wise, but there’s going to be opportunities and I’m very confident in our group.”

Jeff Okudah Not Worried, But Aware

They say cornerbacks have to have short memories. The problem with that saying, however, is that it was coined decades ago when social media didn’t exist.

If a corner gives up a big play or gets flagged for interference now, sure, he moves on to the next play. After the game, however, when he checks his phone and scrolls through his various social media feeds, he gets to see the reactions from fans who don’t believe in having short memories.

He gets to experience the downside of life in the spotlight, multiplied by the access that social media has now given to people.

For Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, however, it’s all just part of the job.

“I feel like it’s kind of what you sign up for,” he said this spring. “It’s kind of a high-risk, high-reward position. Obviously, the reward being you can be the top pick in the NFL Draft. The risk being you can be a laughingstock on social media for a couple days. Besides that, I think it also gives you incentive to play even harder. You don’t want to be that guy who’s getting Mossed on social media.”

Living Up To Those Before You

One of the neat things about walking through the halls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center is that there aren’t that many bare walls. They are covered in history. Pictures of former players and coaches and teams essentially make the building an Ohio Historical Society branch campus.

There are trophies and photos for every position, and these legacies left behind also provide motivation to those players trying to add their respective names to the Ohio State history books.

Junior cornerback Jeff Okudah is one of those aspiring to make the cut.

He was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection by the conference coaches last season, and appears to be on track to turn pro early after this coming season.

When asked about the NFL this spring, Okudah was more focused on living up to the great players who came before him, rather than leaving them all behind.

“Definitely coming in as a recruit, one of the goals you set out for yourself is to be on that wall right there with all those elite cornerbacks,” he said. “I would say more so — the end goal — is that not being acknowledged as one of the top cornerbacks to come through Ohio State would be disappointing.”

One Response

  1. It’s great to see that Jeff demonstrates a high degree of maturity and understanding of both the onfield and off-field drawbacks of playing in the secondary. Less mature individuals would have been surprised/personally attacked/confused/offended by social media criticism, whereas Jeff understands it’s merely a part of the business. Most importantly, he knows that the best way to avoid criticism, is to play well.

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