Lane Makes Name For Himself In Spring Game

Shaun Lane had one interception and could have very easily had another in the Scarlet and Gray game on Saturday. He's not the odds-on-favorite to win the other starting cornerback position opposite Ashton Youboty in the fall but he made it known that he'll definitely be someone to contend with for the position.

Prior to this past weekend, most people might have only known of him as being Garcia Lane's son, but Shaun Lane certainly made a name for himself with his play during Ohio State's spring game.

"Garcia Lane is not playing right now but he's still my dad and I still respect him very much," Lane said. "My last name is on the back of my jersey, not my first, so I don't mind."

In addition to downing a punt on the two yard line as a member of the Scarlet punt cover unit, Lane picked off one enemy pass and had another one go right through his hands.

"It was new for me of course. I never did anything like that in the ‘Shoe," Lane said. "There weren't 100,000 (people there) but there were still fans there so it was so it was good to get my name out there."

Lane showcased some of his open-field running moves that made him so dangerous as a tailback and return man in high school on his interception return of an errant Troy Smith aerial.

"It was cover two and I think Troy tried to throw the ball out of bounds, more or less, but it seemed like it came straight to me. So I tried to make the most of it," Lane said. "Turnovers are very important in this game."

It was only the spring game but it was an important feat for Lane, a redshirt freshman, nonetheless.

"It's still a big accomplishment in my book at this level," he said. "It's good for my confidence to let me know that I can compete at this level of skill."

Tyler Everett might be penciled in as the starter at the corner opposite Ashton Youboty at the end of spring drills, but Lane considers himself to be a serious candidate for that position in the fall.

"Definitely I do after today's game," said the 5'10" 180-pound speedster from Youngstown. "I think I did pretty good but there's always room for improvement. And the spot is open so it's just going to drive me to get that much better as a person and an athlete."

With the departure of Mel Tucker as the secondary coach, it was an important spring for Lane to make a favorable impression overall and he seemingly has made the most of it.

"From the older guys helping me to the new coach helping me a lot too with some things that I didn't know, I gained a lot of confidence this spring," Lane said. "The biggest thing that I gained from this spring is confidence. Confidence to go against some of the better people on the team."

Even if Lane doesn't earn the starting spot at cornerback, he'll provide much needed depth at the position.

"At the corner position it's so easy to get hurt and you have to always be at 100 percent. One little injury can shut you down," Lane said. "Like at defensive end, you can maybe have a pulled groin or something but you can still compete. But at corner you have to be at your best. There's not room for injury on the depth chart."

Both Lane and sophomore Sirjo Welch are competing with Everett for playing time at Dustin Fox's vacated boundary corner position.

"I think there's some good competition at the corner spot. Obviously we lose Dustin Fox and he was a guy that's been there for so long," Jim Tressel said. "I thought Shaun did some good things. He was there and made the plays that he had a chance to make. Sirjo is a guy that when it's game time he just seems to do things. Sometimes you think he's got farther to go than he does when you're watching drills and things like that but when it's time to play he seems to be in position.

"But I think we still have a lot of work to do in there. I thought Mike Roberts is showing some improvement there. And we'll be anxious to get the full contingent in here in August and find out what (we have). We even slipped Teddy in for a little bit of corner in the red zone, playing a little bit of man. So one way or the other we will get comfortable with that position."

Lane came to Ohio State with Welch and Brandon Underwood who was injured for much of the spring.

"We are in a competitive situation but (Welch is) still my boy. We still hang out but we understand what it is once we hit the field," Lane said. "I definitely wish him the best of luck because I know he's a great athlete too. Whoever they put there I know is going to get the job done so I'm not really worried about it."

Youboty thinks that a healthy Tyler Everett will get the job done at cornerback but he's not discounting the effort that some of the younger guys at that position, like Welch and Lane, have put in this spring.

"I told Sirjo from the first day, once Fox left, I told him I'm a potential starter and so are you so if you need any help just come to me," Youboty said. "He stays after (practice) with me every once in a while and we watch film together and I tell him about his working on one-on-ones. He pretty much knows all of our zone coverages. He knows where to be, it's just being consistent with it and he's improving in that.

"But he's aggressive and he makes open-field tackles and that's what Ohio State asks their corners to do, make open-field tackles. He'll come up and hit you and he can cover too."

And Lane is another up-and-comer according to Youboty.

"He finally got in the right place at the right time and I told him as a corner that's where you've got to be, in the right place at the right time," said Youboty in regards to Lane's interception. "He knows the defense and he works a lot of one-on-ones also. Everything is about our main coverage right now because we're trying to play a lot more man this year."

Despite his solid performance in the spring game, Lane knows that he still has a lot of work to do in order to become a complete cornerback.

"I have to get stronger as an athlete because I'm not the biggest of all the people," he said. "So I definitely need to get stronger so I can have an advantage on the bigger receivers when I'm trying to jam them or whatever. And I need to work on my tackling too so I can make more open-field tackles here and there."

But Lane had been dreaming of making a big play like he did in the spring game for some time now and it finally became a reality.

"I can see myself out there making plays so it's like a dream coming true," Lane said. "You always think you're going to make an interception in the Horseshoe but when it actually happens it's unbelievable. I'm really blessed."

And with a name like Lane on the back of his jersey, Ohio State fans might come to expect more big plays from him as they get to know him better.

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