Homan Primed For Return

Ohio State's defense will get a boost this weekend as fifth-year senior linebacker and captain Ross Homan makes his return to the lineup. Get the latest on what kept Homan on the sidelines and how he has performed in his time back in practice so far.

Ross Homan's return from the injured list will coincide with Ohio State's return to action after an open week. As the Buckeyes resume Big Ten play this weekend with a home contest against Penn State, they will again have the services of the fifth-year senior captain as he mans his weakside linebacker position.

Getting back on the field could not come soon enough for Homan.

"It was tough, man," he said. "Nobody wants to be injured and be out there on the sideline, (but) everything happens for a reason. I'm back out here now and I can't wait."

The team's leading tackler through the first nine games of the season, Homan was injured early in the second quarter of a road loss to Wisconsin. He headed to the locker room and tried to get back into the game after receiving treatment but quickly had to limp out.

Speaking about the injury for the first time since it occurred, Homan said it was a freak accident.

"I got stepped on and my foot twisted," he said. "I tried to roll but I couldn't. It was a little foot sprain in the bottom of my arch. I sprained some muscles down there."

He missed the next two games and benefitted from the open weekend last week. Homan said he is not pushing it to get back on the field, saying he will be 100 percent by Saturday.

Fellow senior captain and linebacker Brian Rolle said the stress of being forced to watch the past two games from the sidelines was enough to get the quiet Homan to vent his frustration.

"You could tell just by the fact that when we were watching film he'd come in and say, ‘Freak man, I want to be out there,' " Rolle said. "Watching the Minnesota game he was like, ‘Dang.' You could see him getting frustrated that he wasn't on the field for some of those games."

Asked if Homan really used harmless words such as freak and dang, Rolle smiled and looked away.

Tressel said that although Homan had been back in practice action, the one thing left to see was how the foot would respond to consecutive days of stress. Standing at a podium inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center following Tuesday's practice, Homan expressed no concerns that his recovery would suffer a setback.

"I'm out there and I don't concentrate on it and I don't let it hold me back at all," he said. "The trainers (were) telling me I can't run on it and to rest it, rest it, rest it and as I've gotten older I've gotten smarter. You have to trust your body and listen to it."

Homan took part in limited drills last week, but Tuesday was his first full practice. The Buckeyes were off Monday and will practice each day between now and kickoff.

In what was supposed to be his sophomore season, Homan suffered a turf toe injury that forced him to take a redshirt. This injury was to his other (right) foot and therefore not related to the turf toe, he said.

Despite missing nearly three entire games, Homan sits second on the team with 41 tackles. With six tackles against Minnesota, Rolle upped his season total to 47 to take over first place.

In Homan's absence, junior Andrew Sweat enjoyed the most productive period of his career. Saying he felt more natural at the weakside position than the strongside spot where he had started four games this season, Sweat recorded 13 tackles in the last two games and contributed eight along with an interception in relief of Homan against the Badgers.

"Not that the other guys didn't do a great job, but having Ross out there eliminates that feeling of, ‘Is this guy really going to do his job?' " Rolle said. "With Ross on the field I never have to worry about it because I know Ross is going to do his job and help me do mine as well."

While on the sidelines, Homan said he worked to improve his game through film study. The lessons have paid off, at least in Rolle's eyes.

"He's looking good," the senior said. "He looks faster than me, honestly. He's probably more aggressive just because he hasn't been able to play. He's taking it out on our scout team. It's great to see him play and I'm glad to have him back."

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