Ohio State football notebook: Bradley Roby must earn starting spot, Meyer says
Cornerback Bradley Roby contemplated leaving for the NFL after the 2012 season but returned.
Bradley Roby is back, but despite being an all-Big Ten cornerback who was on many preseason All-America teams this year, his starting spot is not assured, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
“He is competing for a spot,” Meyer said yesterday. “He will not (just) be named starter.”
Roby must prove himself worthy again after serving his punishment for an altercation in a bar in Bloomington, Ind., in July. Meyer pointed out that the charges finally were conditionally dismissed after video of the incident showed that Roby did little, if anything, wrong.
“But I think he learned a really strong lesson, and he has done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Meyer said. “And I’m anxious to get him back on the field.”
Roby, a fourth-year junior, contemplated leaving for the NFL draft after the 2012 season but opted to return “because he came in with a group of players and he wanted to finish, which I think is very admirable,” Meyer said.
In the meantime, after hearing from others about whether Roby made the right decision, “I believe that he went through a little bit of a funk of buyer’s remorse or whatever,” Meyer said, but that he snapped out of it.
Then came the incident in Bloomington, in which Roby initially was charged with misdemeanor battery after a confrontation with bar security. The charge later was reduced to disorderly conduct. Finally, he agreed to complete a diversion program, which could result in the charges being expunged.
His challenge this week is to compete with Armani Reeves — who started on Saturday — for the starting job. Roby will have plenty of chances to prove himself as he, Reeves and the other starting cornerback, Doran Grant, go through drills.
“We have a ton of reps available in practice, as you might imagine,” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. “We get a lot of work in. We’ll rotate those three guys … with the first team, because that’s what we always have done.”
Barnett expected back
The OSU defense could have all of its starters ready to go if safety C.J. Barnett is cleared to return. Barnett, a senior co-captain, had to sit out against Buffalo because of a sprained left ankle suffered in practice a week ago.
So is Smith
Junior running back Rod Smith served a one-game suspension for violating team rules last winter and is expected back “if he has a good week of practice and does it all right,” Meyer said.
He will be joining a crowded backfield. Led by senior Jordan Hall’s career-high 159 yards rushing, four running backs played against Buffalo, including redshirt freshman Warren Ball and freshmen Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott.
“I hope (Smith) does earn the right to carry the ball, because that will free Jordan Hall to maybe help us in some other areas, as well,” Meyer said, referring to plans to use Hall in the hybrid back spot.