August 29, 2009

Homan embracing forgotten role

COLUMBUS - Between the big talent of former linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman last year and the new talented linebackers such as Brian Rolle and Etienne Sabino that have been cause for a lot of excitement this year, Ross Homan falls somewhere in the middle.

Or, he just got plain lost in translation.

So quick people have forgotten that Homan is a returning starter that posted 67 tackles in 13 games last year in addition to a sack. So quick they forget the experience he brings to a rather inexperienced linebacking corps. So quick they forget that he has something to offer this youthful Buckeye team.

Homan, a weak side linebacker, didn't.

"I know I have lot some great talent that was next to me, but all I have to do is get better and I focus during each practice to make sure I get better," Homan said. "Coach (Luke Fickell) challenges all the linebackers to have great practices and great competition, so I know we will all be prepared."

With fifth-year senior Austin Spitler sidelined during a large portion of camp with a calf injury, it has given the opportunity for more reps to some other linebackers that may not have seen some of that time.

While Homan was someone who gets a large portion of the reps with the ones during practice, he did admit there were things in his game that he needs to work on.

Sure, it was nice to saddle up next to Laurinaitis and Freeman last season, but now he will certainly be someone who takes more of a leadership role this year in the linebacking corps.

He hopes to lock up his personal game as much as possible before Ohio State opens against Navy on Sept. 5, now only a week away.

"I am just trying to understand the schemes a little bit better," Homan said. "Though I know them pretty well, you can never know them too well. Also, I want to focus on playing more relaxed out there and just focus on making plays out there."

While Homan was surely confident in is own personal abilities, he didn't discount the fact that the Buckeyes will have a lot of work to do if they plan on recovering from such big losses just to the linebackers.

He understands that Bucks have moved on, but expecting the same type of play right off the bat could be a bit of a stretch.

"We lost a lot of great leadership when those guys left," Homan said. "But we have some great leaders and some senior leadership with Austin Spitler, Doug Worthington, and some of those guys that I know will pick it up for us."

One players Homan said he looks forward to playing alongside in the fall was Rolle, who has stormed onto the scene this fall and really gained some attention from both the media and fans.

"He is just very energetic on and off the field," Homan said of Rolle. "It is definitely positive and his constant energy will bring a lot to our team this year."

While Homan has been kind of the forgotten one as we approach the season, he would almost prefer it that way.

This way he can use his play to make people remember.

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