Tuesday, March 26, 2013

OSU DB COREY BROWN NEEDS TO BE 'PITTSBURGH,' NOT 'THE OTHER'

Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — When referring to Ohio State football player Corey Brown, you usually have to denote which one you are speaking of. 

There is wide receiver Corey Brown, who is known as "Philly." And there is the defensive back Corey Brown, known as "Pittsburgh."

Can you guess where they are from?

"Philly" Brown, a senior, has become a star for the Buckeyes — a "wow factor player" for the Ohio State offense, according to head coach Urban Meyer — leading the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2012 with 60 grabs for 669 yards.

"Pittsburgh" Brown, a fifth-year senior, has been relatively quiet during his career with the Buckeyes, recording just 26 tackles — with no interceptions, pass breakups or passes defended — in 29 total games played.

Unfortunately for the former blue-chip recruit from western Pennsylvania, he has gone from "Pittsburgh" Brown to "the other" Brown.

This season will be his final one as a Buckeye, and the coaching staff is pushing him to become the player he was expected to be when he arrived on campus back in 2009. 

Following Saturday's scrimmage — where Brown didn't perform to expectations — assistant head coach and Co-defensive coordinator, Everett Withers, told him via text message that it's time to step up, because he has recruited some star recruits (most notably, Vonn Bell) who will take his job if he doesn't elevate his game. 

"I said, 'Hey, man, you've got to play better. I recruited real well at this position,'" Withers said. "I’m real honest with them. I think he understands the urgency. I think he wants to be a valuable member of this football team."

Brown has taken the coach's criticism as constructive, not destructive.

"It's motivation," Brown said following practice Tuesday. "I know I’ve got to come out here every day and work extremely hard."

During an 11-on-11 fourth down drill near the goal line Tuesday, Brown showed that he has paid heed to Wither's demands, firing in on sophomore tailback Bri'onte Dunn and stuffing him at the line, causing a huge turnover on downs and a cascade of cheers from his defensive teammates.

Meyer said following practice that he hopes Brown can have a turnaround season like Reid Fragel had last year, a player who went from three years of mediocrity at tight end, to a stellar campaign his senior year as a right tackle.

"I’m hoping (Brown's) our Reid Fragel," Meyer said. "He hasn't done a whole lot around here. He's a nice kid with some talent. He has confidence. It's time."

Withers said that the "nice kid" has to become more than that this season. He needs to start being "Pittsburgh" Brown, and not "the other."

"I want him to be a little more vocal and outgoing," Withers said of Brown. "He has to step out of his comfort zone a little bit, and that's what we're trying to push him to do."

Brown seems ready for the task.

"I'm trying to do everything I can possible," Brown said. "I just want to work hard. 

"I just want to do whatever I can for the team."