Saturday, August 7, 2010

COMING INTO 2010, IT'S ALL ABOUT LEADERSHIP FOR ROSS HOMAN

(Photo of Ross Homan by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — When it comes to producing playmaking linebackers, Ohio State sure isn't shy.

Over the past decade, the Buckeyes have fielded a sharp amount of talented linebackers that seem to always rise to the occasion. From Matt Wilhelm to A.J. Hawk to James Laurinaitis, linebacking in Columbus has become a position of leadership, fame, and glory.

After Laurinaitis graduated from Ohio State, the defense was in need of a fresh face who could make the game-saving tackle or the momentum-shifting interception.

(left, Homan photo by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

Fifth-year senior linebacker Ross Homan stepped up at the perfect time.

Homan first began to crack the starting lineup during his sophomore season in 2008. Playing next to Laurinaitis and fellow linebacker standout Marcus Freeman, certainly helped the 6-foot, 227-pound Coldwater grad become more adept at reading defenses and the opposition's scheme.

But it wasn't until both Laurinaitis and Freeman departed that Homan began to carve out his own persona. In 13 starts last season, Homan registered 108 tackles, two sacks, five interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He also led the team in passes defended and finished second in pass break-ups.

Homan understands that with the gaudy stats comes lofty expectations.

"There's always high expectations when you're at Ohio State," Homan said. "People expect us to win and it's a challenge, and I think everyone is looking forward to it."

Even after putting together quite an impressive season, Homan stills sees a need for improvement in a handful of areas.

"There's always things here and there," Homan said about the things he'd like to work on. "Whether it's techniques, getting off the blocks easier, using your hands, pass coverage. There's always things that I looked at from last year that I always want to improve on."

With underclassmen like true freshmen Scott McVey and David Durham, redshirt freshman Dorian Bell, sophomore Storm Klein and junior Andrew Sweat all pressing for playing time, Homan wants to see the young guys continue to work because it simply makes everybody better.

"I'm trying to be a little bit more vocal with the young guys," he said. "I'm trying to take them to the side during practice and kind of tell them they should have done this or they should have done that for this kind of play."

Homan said the Ohio State coaching staff put together the hardest working offseason program that he's been apart of as a Buckeye. Homan also said he's excited and is looking forward to becoming the clear-cut voice of the defense.

"It feels good," Homan said when asked how it felt to be viewed as a leader. "I think it makes it easy because we have numerous senior leaders on this defense.

"I'm very blessed. Senior season came fast, but I'm going to embrace it and go from there."

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