Thursday, December 17, 2009

WORTHINGTON IS A MAN ON A MISSION

Photo of Doug Worthington by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — When Doug Worthington speaks, you listen — whether you want to or not.

The 6-6, 276-pound fifth-year senior from Athol Springs (NY), makes it difficult sometimes to interview other players when he's in the vicinity because his voice is so booming that he can drown out the words spoken by his teammates.

Seriously, I bet if we could obtain an X-ray of Worthington's vocal chords, we would probably find that they were manufactured by Bose.

But as much as his inflection grabs your attention — and perhaps every seismograph in a 200-mile radius — his words and confidence reverberate much more loudly.

Worthington isn't into making excuses, he isn't into trying to give reasons why Ohio State has lost three straight BCS bowl games. No, the big man is into one thing and one thing only — finishing his career on a victorious note.

"I'm going to go out and play for my team and give my best effort and leave it all on the field, because this is the last game for me (at OSU)," Worthington said about the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl tilt against No. 7 Oregon on January 1. "And making sure I give myself and the defense the best chance of making plays.

"Everything is going to take care of itself. God is good and he has been all season for us — the Silver Bullets — and we know that."

Worthington, who finished the regular season with 40 tackles and two sacks, understands that his legacy and that of the senior class — which right now is labeled as underachieving by many — rides on how they play against the Ducks.

Actually anything less than a win would be totally unacceptable.

"It's huge," Worthington said about needing a win on New Year's day. "It's crazy to say that if we win this game that we can be the most winningest class in Ohio State history. It's something for me that I get chills just knowing that I can leave that legacy and be able to say when I'm old — hopefully they break it by then — that we were one of the best teams at Ohio State.

"It's huge for me and getting this victory is everything for me right now."

Worthington does understand, though, why the media has been so hard on his team in recent years.

"You have to make news, that's headline news. You have to bring it up, that's your job," Worthington said. "It's our job to go out there and compete, and prepare the best we can so that stuff doesn't happen again."

So is the Buckeye defensive tackle giddy about getting a final shot to shut the critics up?

"Yeah, definitely," Worthington said. "This is another opportunity, my last opportunity and I want to make the best of it. This is something that I'm so ready for, I think the whole team is.

"But, a game is a game is a game," he continued. "We're not going to look at the Texas game last year, we're not going to look at LSU or the Florida game, we're going to look at this season and the things we did this season, and know that it's relevant now. January 1st is going to be here in a second, and we have to make sure that when it comes down to it that we're prepared, we're conditioned and we're ready to go.

"I think we are."

I'll take his word for it ... his extremely booming, earth-shaking word for it!