Buckeye Coaches Fine With Cornerbacks Talking Trash…To a Point

Damon Arnette, Shaun Wade Ohio State Buckeyes

There are a handful of understood tenets in football.

Long-held principles have been around forever, such as games are won upfront, or quarterbacks have to be leaders, or wide receivers are divas, or all cornerbacks talk trash.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are proving the first of those principles true this year. Justin Fields is growing into the second. Zone 6 has disproven the third, but the Buckeye corners are living up to the fourth.

The Buckeyes’ three-headed cornerback attack of Damon Arnette, Jeff Okudah, and Shaun Wade has played exceedingly well this season and after any given pass breakup or tackle it is not unusual to see them engage in a back-and-forth with a receiver from the opposing team.

They are part of an Ohio State pass defense that is fifth in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (152.0), fifth in pass efficiency defense (95.11), and fifth in interceptions (8), and each of them is playing at an All-Big Ten level — if not beyond — so you can understand a bit of trash talking.

“That’s corners though, right?” co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley said back in June. “I’m used to the whole room being like that, where I’ve got to be like, ‘Okay guys, calm down today.’”

But that doesn’t mean Hafley stifles his cornerbacks.

Last weekend against Michigan State, there was a constant back and forth between the Spartan receivers and the Buckeye cornerbacks. The officials even intervened a few times, but no flags were thrown.

Even officials understand the tenets.

“You’re out there in front of the whole world now,” co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “And especially when you play as much man-to-man coverage as we do, you better be a little different out there, you better have confidence, or you just aren’t going to make it out there.”

The Ohio State coaches understand the need for some boisterous moments because cornerbacks are asked to perform a stressful job. And they’re also face-to-face with receivers who are talking the entire time as well.

“I mean, you’re out there,” Mattison said. “Just think about that for a second. You got that whole field that you are out there, one on one. And now you’re not gonna get any help, you know? So you better have a lot of confidence in yourself, and you better have personality.”

Confidence and personality have not been a problem for the Buckeye cornerbacks this season. They have done their jobs as well as any group of cornerbacks at Ohio State in recent memory — even up there with the first-round trio of Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore, and Gareon Conley in 2016.

To this point, the coaches have given them the room to “speak their minds,” but the room does not go on forever.

“Well, yeah. I mean, I don’t know, if you say ‘give them room,'” Mattison said. “That’s just to me the stereotype of the corners that I’ve been around. It goes back to character and discipline, which we have here. And that’s why you always go to that point, and you can’t go over it. I think our young men understand that because it’s a team.”

10 Responses

  1. Corner, safety, special teams, I don’t see where it matters what position you’re playing. A 15-yard penalty has already been issued. I would have thought (myself) that would have been enough for the coaches to address it.

    I have no idea what Arnette is saying but it sure gives the appearance of taunting sometimes. They will flag you for that and like some others have already stated…I just hope it doesn’t come at an inopportune time.

  2. And what position room does Marcus Hooker reside? Rhetorical question! So they did receive a 15 yarder for excessive trash talking.

    1. Jeffrey Treisch — Hooker is a safety and none of the coaches’ comments had anything to do with special teams.

  3. Talk some trash and back it up, I’m all for it! Just don’t hurt the team.

  4. i’ll be honest here and say i’m not a fan of it (which likely dates me), but i’ve always respected guys who act as if they’ve been there or done that before, vs the trash and woofing that does go on, and i live in eternal fear of a ill-timed 15-yarder from a ref who’s sick of hearing it. and then the harmless “boys will be boys” attitude will quickly be replaced by “what a flipp’n idiot” response. coaches are in a tough spot, and we can only hope that line doesn’t get crossed at a bad time, but i wouldn’t bet it.

  5. yes… character and discipline are not possessions, but value standards far more important than exactly what ‘trash talk’ says it is: ‘trash’ and ‘talk’.

    So neither ‘go ahead’ nor ‘ban it’ nor ‘everybody does it’, ‘fits’ the leader, the champion, the team player.

    Natural urges are part of the crucible in the Arena. But… each mature man must control / recover to self-control, rather than

    ‘let’ or ‘allow’ the beastly thing to control him…

    or a little yellow hanky to wipe out a terrific team play vs an excellent competitor.

  6. I like the confidence. And I like Arnette’s enthusiasm in particular. I just hope there isn’t a 15 yarder at a crucial point in a big game because the coaches let these guys run their mouths after ever play.

  7. I wonder what these guys say to each other when they talk trash. Any yo momma jokes?

    1. Yeah, probably are yo momma jokes. Shade of “Remember The Titans”. THe epsrit de corps on this team must be sky high!

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