Roby Looked Out For No. 1 This Offseason

Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby will look a little different when the season kicks off in September. The sophomore earned the right to wear No. 1 for the Buckeyes, and he hopes to build on his 2011 efforts this fall.

Bradley Roby spent the offseason looking out for No. 1.

That's not a bad thing, though, because it's not what you might think. The sophomore cornerback was working to earn the right to wear No. 1 for the Ohio State football team this fall. It was a goal he wanted to achieve and one he did when new head coach Urban Meyer called him this summer to give him the good news.

"He called me and he just said, ‘I'm giving you No. 1 like you asked. You showed the things you told me you were going to do. You showed me the things I see in you. I see greatness in your, so here it goes. Make sure you don't slip up,' " Roby said.

So Roby will don a different uniform number when the Buckeyes take the field Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio) in Ohio State's 2012 season opener. As for the glowing words from Meyer, Roby said they were nice, but they wouldn't take away from his approach to the upcoming season. "It means a lot because of course he's Urban Meyer," Roby said. "He has the name behind him, the history behind him. … It means a lot to me, but I don't play for that. I don't play to impress anybody. I play because I want to be the best. It's just a good comment."

Roby had a solid campaign last fall, his first season on the field for Ohio State after redshirting in 2010. He recorded three interceptions – tied for the team high – with 47 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Despite becoming a contributor on defense, 2011 was a difficult year for Roby and all of his teammates. The Buckeyes posted a 6-7 record, leading to Meyer's ascension as head coach.

All Ohio State players then went through a taxing offseason under Mikey Marotti, OSU's assistant athletic director for football sports performance. The offseason work paid off for Roby, as he lowered his 40-yard dash time to 4.31 seconds from a previous best of 4.40.

"I ran it twice, actually, so it wasn't a fluke," Roby said. "That's just a result of the workouts we've been doing. I'm already kind of fast, so it just really helped me."

Roby called the workouts some of the hardest training he's ever done. He also hopes to eventually lower his 40 time.

"Coach Mick knows what he's doing," said Roby, who is up to 191 pounds from his 2011 playing weight of 185. "He's the best strength coach in America."

Of course, a fast 40 time does not automatically make one a better football player. The proof for Roby will come on the field this season. In addition to his duties as one of Ohio State's starting cornerbacks along with senior Travis Howard, Roby is one of OSU's top kick return options along with tailback Carlos Hyde.

Roby is even willing to play some offense if called upon. Long before Roby became a starter at cornerback at Ohio State, he was a verbal commitment to play wide receiver at Vanderbilt. Roby changed his commitment to OSU and eventually changed positions.

"I always tell the coaches I could play receiver," Roby said. "One of these days they're going to put me on the other side."

Roby is serious about playing wide receiver. He said he has talked to cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and receivers coach Zach Smith about his willingness to do so, but Roby knows his home is on defense.

"I always kind of liked defense, but I didn't know that I had the ability," he said. "I feel like it's just natural now. I feel like I was pretty much born to play cornerback."

Maybe Roby was born to wear No. 1, too.

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