Youboty Becomes Mainstay At Cornerback

Sophomore cornerback Ashton Youboty came up big in the Michigan game with a key interception and four pass break-ups. Youboty ended up leading OSU with four interceptions in the regular season. Click here for more on this emerging talent.

One of the true bright spots for Ohio State this season was sophomore cornerback Ashton Youboty, who earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

Youboty opened the season as OSU's nickel back when E.J. Underwood earned the open starting spot at corner opposite senior Dustin Fox. But when Fox went down with an injury in Week 2 against Marshall, Youboty stepped right in. He started three games, notching an interception in his first start at N.C. State.

Then, after Fox returned to the lineup against Iowa, Youboty moved into the lineup the following week in place of Underwood against Indiana. He remained in there the rest of the way, ending the year with eight starts. For the year, Youboty ended up fifth on the team in tackles with 57 and led the Buckeyes with four interceptions.

One of those picks helped deny Michigan a touchdown in last week's critical 37-21 win over the Wolverines. Youboty finished perhaps his best game with three tackles and four pass break-ups to go with his pick. He ended the year with picks in three of OSU's last four games.

We had a chance to speak with Youboty after that win and got his reaction as well as comments from several of his teammates and coaches on his play:

Bucknuts: How big is this rivalry compared to others you have seen in Texas?

Youboty: "I don't think there is a comparison."

Bucknuts: Do you realize how big this rivalry is - do the players realize it? Some fans live all year for this game -- grown men live all year for you guys to beat Michigan.

Youboty: "I realized that on my recruiting visit. My official visit was the 2002 Ohio State-Michigan game. After the victory that's when I realized how much the fans really, truly admired this game. It's crazy."

Bucknuts: How hard did you guys work to get this result?

Youboty: "We prepared really hard. We watched a lot of film, especially as a defensive backs unit. Coach had us watching a lot of film. We saw our mistakes from last year and made a couple of adjustments.

"I think it was preparation. We watched a lot of film, especially the DB unit. Coach Tucker had us watching a lot of film. We saw our mistakes from last year and made a couple adjustments.

"We had a slow start, but at halftime we saw how the game was going. Our coach actually told us we needed to show more. That's what we did and it helped us out."

Bucknuts: What is it like to have an interception against Michigan?

Youboty: "I thought I was going to take it all the way. I was screaming, `No doubt about it.' It was a good play. I was just in the right place. It was the same play they ran on their touchdown. We made some adjustments. I was on my guy. He threw the ball and I broke on it."

Bucknuts: Hadn't they had just run that play for a touchdown? Were you learning on the fly?

Youboty: "Yeah. It was the exact same play they ran on their touchdown. We made some adjustments to it. I was on my guy. He threw the ball, and I just broke on it."

Bucknuts: Can you talk about your progress this year from fall to now?

Youboty: "I came into fall camp hoping to be a starter. Things didn't work out, (but) I knew I would get to play. Opportunity called, and I just made the best of it. My coaches were pretty confident in me. They knew I could play. I played last year so I think just working on technique during practice and going against the good receivers we have actually helped me progress."

Bucknuts: Coaches use the words 'consistentcy' and 'steady' when they talk about you. Do you focus on this?

Youboty: "I take one play at a time. If I take it one play at a time, I can't go wrong."

Bucknuts: It seems like you are in better position a lot of times to catch the ball than the WR. I noticed it last year watching you in practice. Why is that? Are you covering the man or the ball or what?

Youboty: "It's just through technique. Once we go through what our coaches tell us to do it just happens. You are in the best position. That's what they coach you for - to put you in the best position. You just have to make a play."

Bucknuts: Did you take it as a challenge that Michigan's Braylon Edwards said he didn't know your name?

Youboty: "Yeah, I was made aware of it, but I think he was actually being honest when he said that. I mean, people in Ohio knew what I could do, and I just proved it to the rest of the country."

Bucknuts: Do you think he knows your name now?

Youboty: "I hope so. If not, then he just has to learn the hard way."

Bucknuts: Were you nicked up?

Youboty: "Yeah. Going through practice I actually got a little nicked up. I didn't practice on Wednesday and tried to come back on Thursday."

Bucknuts: What does it say for all the players who were hurt playing?

Youboty: "It just proves how much this game means to a lot of people. Donte (Whitner) was determined just to come back to play this game."

Bucknuts: Does that inspire the rest of the defense?

Youboty: "It's inspiring, but that's what you have to do in this league."

Bucknuts: How important was it to play at home?

Youboty: "With the fans there it's just another the 12th man. It helps us out a lot."

Bucknuts: I hear you saw clips of Jack Tatum lighting people up this week. What does that tell you about the Michigan game?

Youboty: "Just having Jack Tatum here made us want to start hitting people. When he appeared at senior tackle, we were already getting ready to play."

Bucknuts: Is this game a measuring stick for the secondary against these WRs?

Youboty: "I'll let you guys decide that. You watched the game…We've always had confidence it in ourselves."

Bucknuts: Was this satisfying after last year?

Youboty: "Last year they made plays. We were still in a position to stop them, but we just didn't. That was the key."

Bucknuts: Where has this defense been all year?

Youboty: "It's been here. We've just been learning. Progress. Hopefully it leads down in the bowl game and next year."

Bucknuts: Why do some DBs go for the ball -- they have a knack for it -- and others don't?

Youboty: "I think on defense the ball is just as much ours as it is theirs. If you are in position, you gotta go get it. That's what our coaches tell us all the time."

Bucknuts: So do you think it is your football when it goes up in the air?

Youboty: "Oh, I'm trying to go get it, but it depends on what coverage you are in. Some positions you have to just get the guy down. Some coverages you make a play, and I try to make a play."

What They're Saying

Here were comments from Youboty's teammates and coaches following his play against Michigan:

* Fox -- "I was telling Mel Tucker after the game, 'You have a player for the next couple of years. Don't worry, things are going to be all right.' I'm just so proud of him. He has just come along this whole season and really stepped up and gained a lot of confidence in himself."

"He's playing out there nicked up a little bit too. Everybody is playing hard, and he just makes plays."

* LB Bobby Carpenter -- "He's just one of the most consistent guys I have ever seen. He's always in the right place at the right time, and when you give him an opportunity to make a play he usually makes it."

* LB Anthony Schlegel "Our secondary played phenomenal. Ashton Youboty was unbelievable"

* Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder -- "We've said for a while inside our office that we think Ashton is a special player. It's just that nobody knows about him. Now obviously everyone is going to know about him. He has a lot of poise and patience, and that's what it takes to play corner in our system. You have to forget the last play. If you get beat, you get beat, and he is starting to move up closer and closer on the wideouts every game we play. He started off really deep, and that's what young corners do. He's getting closer and closer (now). We were in zone coverage a couple times today and I thought we were in man because he was knocking the ball away. That's the mark of a good corner.

"I have been very impressed with Ashton Youboty. He is going to become a great one. He is working hard on his tackling. When he gets that down, he will be the complete player."

* Head coach Jim Tressel -- "He loves it when they throw at him."

* Secondary coach Mel Tucker -- "He's played well all year. He got a little bit banged up in the Wisconsin and really wasn't up to speed at Iowa. But he's a guy that can really make plays for us. He's a smart kid, very instinctive. He's like a sponge. He gets better every day. He's become a physical player. He's a good tackler. He's a guy who can be very very good for us."

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