After his last spring game as a Buckeye, the cornerback sounded like a player ready for his closeup as a senior, although he was more interested in talking about this teammates than himself.
"I have high confidence in my room," he said. "That's our corners, that's the unit. We love our coach Kerry Coombs. I love what we're doing. As a group, we're getting tighter and tighter, and that's what I'm enjoying the most, especially seeing the guys getting better."
There seems to be little question Ohio State needs a big year from No. 12, who is one of few seniors on a defensive unit that faltered down the stretch last season. That includes being torched in the last three games as the Buckeyes nearly lost to heavy underdog Michigan then suffered the first two losses of Urban Meyer's tenure as head coach, first to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and then to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
During spring practice, he took a leadership role in the cornerbacks room as position coach Kerry Coombs and new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash work to rebuild a group that loses three starters and is moving to a more aggressive style of play.
That has Coombs looking for big things from Grant, who is moving to the boundary corner position after generally playing the field last season. He is more likely to be matched up with an opposing team's best receiver in the boundary (short side of the field), and will likely have greater responsibilities against the run as well.
"In our defense and our scheme when you move over to that boundary corner, the responsibility changes," Coombs said. "It increases, so you've got to take on a different demeanor in every thing that you do. So your style of play has to change, your responsibilities change, and that carries over into the weight room and film study and those types of things. So to me that's where his focus has been in this offseason."
Whether Grant proves to be up to the task remains to be seen. The question won't be answered until this fall, but he sounds confident he has the tools to handle it and the support from the rest of his teammates as well.
He also confirmed he is happy the style of play has changed with pressing receivers now more the rule than the exception. A greater emphasis on playing hard -- with the hope it can eliminate some of the paralysis by analysis that plagued the group last season -- has been welcomed as well.
"As a unit I mean everybody just bought in to the coaches' message of 4-6, A-B, just going hard," Grant said, repeating a phrase that has nearly been worn out it has been used so much by both players and coaches all the way up to the head man Urban Meyer himself. "Everybody did that, especially on the back end. We're going to take that into the summer."
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