Cordle Embraces Leadership Role

The last go 'round has been a long time coming for Jim Cordle, a central Ohio native gearing up to start on the Ohio State offensive line for a third season, quite possibly in a third different spot. He plans to be a leader no matter where he lines up and to remind his linemates they must atone for past shortfalls.

There's not much difficulty in drawing contrasts between Jim Cordle and the Ohio State offensive line's most well-known newcomer in 2009 nor its highest-profile loss from last season.

First, let's remember last year.

Cordle was one of the offensive linemen then-senior Alex Boone coerced into dying and shaving a goofy design into his hair. The pair both greeted reporters during preseason camp with their new looks in plain view, providing a distraction from the sometimes monotonous goings on of August practices during preseason camp in sultry Columbus.

Cordle's expression during that interview session seemed to indicate he was tolerating the experience, if not quite embracing it, but Boone was obviously quite happy with his handiwork.

Now fast forward a year and among the first things most reporters wanted to discuss with Cordle regarding the Ohio State line is the addition of Justin Boren, a transfer from Michigan who becomes eligible this year after sitting out last season. Even while he was not able to play in games, Boren gained, to borrow a phrase from the Eagles, "a nasty reputation as a cruel dude."

Though reports about Boren's status as ruthless or crude remain inconclusive, his aggressive style is well documented, and he is expected to inject the line with a bit more liveliness than it has shown while struggling more often than not the past couple of seasons.

If Boone was silly and Boren is nasty, though, what words sum up Cordle, the fifth-year senior from Lancaster?

Boren, Cordle's camp roommate, indicated looks can be deceiving.

"I'd say Jimmy's a nasty guy," he said. "Jimmy definitely has a nastiness in him. I think this year everyone on the offensive line has got that in him."

Cordle wasn't much help in trying to discern what he's all about.

"That's a good question," he said. "I mean, obviously I want to put a word on it as good (as nasty)… Competitive. Comes out and gives his all and competes to win."

Cordle can be forgiven if he is not the most descriptive guy when the topic of himself comes up, though. He has more important things on his mind as the Buckeyes prepare for the Sept. 5 season opener with Navy.

His No. 1 job, aside from nailing down a spot as a starting up front for the Buckeyes for a third straight year, is making sure his young linemates do not forget the struggles or the justified criticism of his earlier years in scarlet and gray.

"There are a lot of things I've got to do as far as leadership as far as, (telling the others), ‘Here's our progress,' and, ‘Here's what we've got to do.' Boone kind of took it upon himself to do some extracurricular things. That's not me. I like the unit we have. We have lot of camaraderie, and it's just a good group of guys to work with."

If Cordle has gone to great lengths to remind his teammates that past should not be prologue, offensive line coach Jim Bollman has not noticed, but that could be by design.

"I think in that aspect, it's more behind the scenes, but he's been around enough and had enough experience that he's earned people's respect and they're going to listen to what he has to say," Bollman said.

"I think he's done a really good job (leading). This is his fifth year and he's had a good summer and has started of good at camp too."

As camp wears on, Cordle said he will be preaching the importance of desire to get the job done opening holes for the running game and protecting quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

"Motivation comes down to just how bad you want it for a lot of guys," Cordle said. "If you come here, you want to be the best and you just have to tell yourself we've got to be the best unit that we can be. We want to be better than the guys we're playing against. Obviously, we have the talent, so a lot of it is just how bad we want it."

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