Salley Becomes Leader In OSU Secondary

Senior safety Nate Salley shared his opinions on a number of topics recently, including the importance of spring football, youngsters who have impressed him, filling the open cornerback spot and new secondary coach Paul Haynes.

We had a chance to sit down with OSU senior safety Nate Salley recently and discuss a number of topics as the Buckeyes prepared for spring practice.

Here were Salley's responses to several topics:

* On OSU's lofty preseason rankings -- "We just have to go in humble, knowing that preseason rankings don't mean anything. We just have to go out there and play ball and earn it. You have to earn whatever you get. If we come in with the attitude that we haven't done anything yet and there is a lot of work to be done, then we'll be fine."

* The emphasis of spring football -- "Spring is about coming in and working hard and building relationships and seeing the guys you know you can depend on. Most of us have played together for a little while. This is about the little things. Two years ago, my main thing was coming and learning the defense. Now, I have a pretty good handle on it. I'm working on the little things like, `What is the D-line doing on this play?' "

* What the coaches are saying -- "The coaches are looking for more advice from the older guys and the seniors. You see how much the coaches lean on the seniors and look to us for leadership.

"They always try to stress academics. You can't play ball without having the grades. They are always preaching about having a good team GPA."

* Young players who have caught his eye -- "Sirjo (Welch) is a play maker. Nick Patterson has been working hard. He's in great shape. Those are the main guys that stick out to me. I'm with them and I see them working hard.

"I feel good about our secondary. We have some guys coming back. I feel we have some older guys to show the young guys the way."

* Filling the open cornerback spot -- "Tyler Everett is always up for a challenge. He seems excited about changing positions and trying something new. I believe he can get the job done. They want to have Ty, Donte, Ashton and myself on the field together. That's one way to do that. I believe that will be a good deal for us."

* On new secondary coach Paul Haynes -- "I think he's a pretty good guy. He may have been a little bit nervous at first. But now we're starting to see how he is. He's a really cool guy. I think we'll be fine."

* On this being his last year with the Buckeyes -- "It is starting to set in. During the winter conditioning, I realized these would be my last 6 a.m. workouts. You want to end on top in everything. You want your last spring to be your best. I definitely want to be even better now."

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