Youboty Prepared For Notre Dame Challenge

OSU cornerback Ashton Youboty figures to be on the firing line against Notre Dame in Monday's Fiesta Bowl (5 p.m., ABC). The Irish have one of the nation's top passing offenses, powered by quarterback Brady Quinn. Youboty discusses what he expects to see and also touches on the decision he faces about his future plans after this game.

Coming off an All-Big Ten season, Ohio State cornerback Ashton Youboty knows it would be a mistake for him to rest on his laurels going into Monday's Fiesta Bowl match-up with Notre Dame (5 p.m., ABC).

The Fighting Irish, with Brady Quinn at quarterback, ended the regular season with one of college football's top passing offenses. Youboty figures to be on the firing line early and often against ND.

"They're 9-2 for a reason," Youboty said. "They have a Heisman runner-up quarterback and two really big receivers. We believe in our defense. It will be a lot for us to prove with our scheme against his offense. Our defense did a good job in the Big Ten. Hopefully it will show in this game."

Youboty will likely split time matching up against ND's talented pair of 6-5 wide receivers, Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija.

"I know they are making plays for them," Youboty said. "Brady Quinn has time and he sits back there and finds open receivers. With their scheme, he's not under pressure too much. Hopefully, we can put some pressure on them and make him get the ball out faster."

Youboty was on the spot in OSU's wins against Minnesota and Michigan as each team completed a handful of big pass plays against him. But, looking at his body of work on the year, it would be a mistake to discount Youboty, who led OSU with eight pass break-ups.

"I think I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly," he said. "I think I have the experience. You can only get better. There's always going to be room to improve. Even when you think you're good enough, the receivers learn another release to get by you.

"Looking at Michigan, every year it's the last game and they know what we're going to do and we know what they're going to do. It comes down to who is going to make the last play. We had a chance to stop them on that last drive, and we did."

Youboty said there is no magic formula for stopping a great offense. Moreover, he and his teammates have faith in their schemes which served them well all season long.

"We have no major concerns," he said. "We're going to run our defensive calls. If they call Cover-2, we're going to run it. I think we have more concern with our secondary and getting pressure on him."

Youboty joined safeties Donte Whitner and Nate Salley in making first-team All-Big Ten.

"Our strength is our defense as a whole," he said. "In the secondary, our three All-Big Ten representatives wouldn't have gotten there without our D-line. The quarterbacks never have the time to get the ball off. When they do, we have tight coverage."

Youboty believes the Buckeyes will have to get after Quinn and put pressure on him as well.

"We have to get him out of his comfort zone," he said. "He's used to sitting there and patting the ball a couple of times and launching it. He has big receivers, so he can do that. Our number one goal as a defense is to affect the quarterback.

"We look forward to it. We had a couple of teams that had some big yards against us. It comes down to players making plays. We've seen great offenses. Michigan State had a great offense. (Iowa's) Drew Tate was the offensive player of the year last year. We just have to do our job as a defense in this game."

One of the big topics this month has been whether Youboty will stay at OSU for his senior or bolt for a shot at the NFL draft. The best intelligence shows that Youboty, depending how he tests, could be a late first-round or second-round pick.

But he is deflecting all discussion about that until after the bowl game. He has until Jan. 15 to file paperwork with the NFL and declare for the 2006 draft.

"I'm not in a rush to leave Ohio State," he said. "But I know I have an opportunity and I am looking into it."

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