Healthy Rose Hopes To Provide Thorny Presence

With his shoulders fixed, one-time big-name recruit Robert Rose wants to show team what they have been missing during his first two years in Columbus. His return should bolster a defensive line wanting to make more plays this season.

Coming to Ohio State football for the first time in August 2008: A complete Robert Rose.

That is big news for a team that struggled at times on the defensive front last season and lost a top 10 NFL draft pick.

While little news came to light on Rose's plight, the defensive end's 2007 game production did not reach the expectations he brought with him from Cleveland Glenville as a member of the recruiting class of 2006.

As a true freshman, Rose tallied seven tackles and 3.5 sacks in very limited playing time, leading many to believe he would be ready to contribute mightily in 2007.

That never happened, however, as he struggled through 11 games and managed just four tackles, including one sack.

Some speculated that Rose's struggles stemmed from his bulking up to a listed weight of 294, but that turned out not to be the case at all.

Rose's problem was not one but two gimpy shoulders, one of which first became injured in high school.

At Ohio State, Rose first made the right shoulder worse during spring practice 2007, then during fall camp, "One day at practice it kind of got bent up the wrong type of way and kind of ruined it," Rose told reporters at Ohio Stadium for the annual media day Thursday. "Then I tried to compensate for my right shoulder by just using all left and that ruined my left shoulder."

Until that time, he said he had figured out a way to play around the injury. That proved to be impossible as the season wore on, however.

"It was very frustrating because I really couldn't provide for my team the way I wanted to," he said of sitting out.

That frustration was alleviated to a certain extent by the emergence of Cameron Heyward, who recorded 33 tackles, including 10 for loss.

"I felt comfortable with Cam stepping up," Rose said. "I could take the time off and Cam could carry the load for us."

What ensued was not one but two shoulder surgeries and more time out, but Rose returned to full health in July and feels much different than he did this time in 2007.

"I was really sore, icing everyday," he said. "Now I'm kind of relieved that I don't have to worry about my shoulder popping out anymore. I'll be glad to just get out there and be aggressive and get after it."

He enters 2008 intending to help provide depth to a line that lost, pick Vernon Gholston, the sixth pick in the most recent NFL draft.

Now weighing in at 300 pounds, Rose said he can play either position on the line.

"I still have the same speed that I had when I first came in, so really both," he said. "I can play inside and outside.

"I think I've got pretty good quickness, good speed off the ball. Then I gained all this weight and I'm kind of getting more powerful, so I've got a nice little package going on."

All that is left is getting re-acclimated to that specific feeling that is hitting. Thursday he wasn't too worried about that, though.

"No, not really," he said with a smile. "I got my first hit the other day by Boom (Herron). That brought everything back, so I'm alright."


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