On Friday afternoon at the NFL combine, OSU's "other" back – Brandon Saine – began the process of making his case to the league that he is capable of playing at the next level. The former Ohio Mr. Football will go through workouts with the knowledge that he is a fringe player simply hoping to hear his name called in the upcoming draft.
Asked if he feels he has more to prove than most players at the combine, Saine said, "I don't know. I don't really look at it like that. I feel like what's going to happen is going to happen. I'm just going to do my best."
According to nfldraftscout.com, Saine is rated the No. 32 running back in a class of 207 backs. He is not projected to be drafted.
After rushing for a career-high 739 yards as a junior, Saine opened the 2010 season as the starter and picked up 103 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries. He would finish the year with 337 rushing yards and would not carry the ball in for a touchdown the rest of the way as Herron ascended to the top spot.
"(It wasn't hard,) especially the way he handled it," Saine said of Herron. "He had a great year. I don't think it was difficult at all."
However, Saine emerged as a viable option in the passing game. His 23 receptions were third-most on the team and he finished with 195 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He hopes that will help increase his profile as he meets with NFL teams.
"I think that the versatility can really help me so I'm not really pegged at one spot and if I fail there, that's it," he said. "I plan on catching every ball thrown to me, so we'll see what happens."
In preparation for the combine, Saine said he spoke with a number of former Buckeyes who had also gone through the process. Their primary warning was about the medical testing day.
"When I talked to former players, mostly they just talked about how tough the medical tests were and how long those days were," he said. "Everything else was easy. Once you get to the workouts you're just ready to compete."
Friday, Saine said the only thing he had done was meet with a host of doctors. He left his hotel at 8 a.m., he said, and was just meeting with the media shortly after 4 p.m. While there, Saine said the doctors took extra interest in his left knee that he had scoped in September, 2007.
He officially measured in at 5-11, 220 pounds – two inches shorter and one pound lighter than his listed weight for his senior season. He has been training in Columbus with the OSU staff.
Saine said he hopes to show teams that he is a "good guy" off the field as well as one who will test well when workouts come around. A soft-spoken player, the running back said he hopes teams do not confuse that with a lack of desire.
"It's definitely not the case," he said. "I'm definitely passionate for the game."
Asked which games stood out from his OSU career, Saine said, "Definitely the bowl victories (and) beating Michigan. There's a lot of great memories there. I think I had four great years on the field and played on four great teams."
As for his expectations for draft day, Saine said he is keeping his head clear.
"I'm not really expecting anything right now," he said. "I think that after this whole process is over and once pro day is over, I'll have a better idea what to expect."