CB Roby eager for challenge

Cal's Allen might be best receiver OSU secondary faces all season

Updated: September 14, 2012, 10:12 AM ET
By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bradley Roby should have more than enough on his plate to keep him from getting bored.

If anything, the Ohio State cornerback wishes he could truly give his undivided attention to perhaps the most talented receiver he'll face all season.

[+] EnlargeBradley Roby
Kirk Irwin/Getty ImagesBradley Roby will face one of the nation's top receivers in Keenan Allen on Saturday.
By his and coach Urban Meyer's admission, Roby is tempted at times to relax a little given his elite athleticism and matchups that don't always pique his interest. But California's Keenan Allen certainly moves the needle, and if Roby had his way he'd be following him all over the field on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

"I wish," Roby said. "I wish I could do that, but I'm not sure our gameplan is going to dictate that. When he's on my side and I'm going against him, I'm going to make the most of it.

"It gets me motivated. I mean, it's one of the best corners and one of the best receivers going at it. It's always going to be a good show. I'm just looking forward to playing against him. I'm ready."

The Buckeyes will need more than one defensive back ready to slow down the projected first-round pick, a physical target at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds who is a threat to bust a big play at any time and can line up all over the field for the Golden Bears.

But when Allen is on the same side of the formation as Roby, he's clearly going to get the best effort from Ohio State's top cover guy. That hasn't always been a guarantee when the sophomore steps on the field for the Buckeyes, though Meyer has helped him tap into that effort more consistently lately.

"It's just & I kind of get a little bit uninterested sometimes when I'm going against lesser opponents," Roby said. "That's something as a young corner I had to learn. You can't take any days off. You can't take any plays off. That's one thing I had to learn, and [Meyer] helped me learn how to do that and become better at that.

"I do the same thing for this week that I did last week, but you have to pick it up a little bit when you're playing the top [talent]. ... When you consider yourself being one of the best, you want to go against the best. You want to prove that you're the best. I feel like it's just another day I can go out and show what I think of myself."

A visit from Allen might wind up being the best showcase opportunity he or fellow starting cornerback Travis Howard will get this season individually, a fact that hasn't been lost on Roby.

But it's the mindset that Roby should treat every assignment in coverage like he's going against an NFL draft pick that Meyer has worked to instill in him, pointing to a former star at Florida such as Joe Haden as an example of the relentless attitude it takes to succeed at that higher level.

"The ultimate competitors are the guys that it doesn't matter who they're playing or what the coverage scheme is, you compete at all times," Meyer said. "He's still fighting through that, but this ought to be no challenge as far as getting him motivated. You're facing potentially the best receiver he'll face all year.

"We'll find out how good he is. Sitting back in Cover Three and coming up and tackling a guy from Miami (Ohio) on a hitch, that doesn't make you a primetime player. Covering this cat ... this is grown-man ball."

Roby would love nothing more than to prove he's all grown up.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter