<
>

Position coaches talk a little trash ahead of matchup of Super Bowl Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The best friends and college roommates can simply focus on the biggest game of their lives.

Their position coaches back at Ohio State have the Super Bowl trash talk covered for them.

Kerry Coombs kicked it off with a bold prediction that his prized pupil, Denver Broncos defensive back Bradley Roby, wouldn't allow Philly Brown to make a single catch if the two square off head-to-head Sunday.

"Come on, man that's a shutout," an amped-up Coombs said Wednesday on the way out of a press conference. "Are you serious? Philly won't catch a ball."

Zach Smith responded by going back to dig up film for prime examples of Brown getting the best of the matchup with Roby on the practice field back when the Ohio State assistant was working with the Carolina Panthers wideout.

"The film doesn't lie," Smith said. "Chirping in an interview is one thing. Pushing play is another."

A friendly wager might also be in the works between Coombs and Smith, since neither spared even a second thinking about betting against their own guys in what could potentially be a meaningful individual showdown between Buckeyes in a game already loaded with them.

Both have already been stars so far in the playoffs, with Roby forcing a crucial fumble in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Brown exploding for an 86-yard touchdown in the romp over the Arizona Cardinals. And both coaches are going to be proud no matter what after spending time with both players during their careers at Ohio State -- but there are certainly bragging rights on the line depending on who actually claims a ring this weekend.

"You try to develop players and help them get to where they're trying to get, and then in doing that, you build an unbelievable bond with them," Smith said. "You care about them, so to see their dreams realized as they're about to go play on the biggest stage at the highest level and try to make an impact and really make history, there are no words to explain how cool that is. That's your whole goal as a coach is to help a kid you care about achieve that dream. So when they achieve it, it's so rewarding -- both that he did it and you helped him get there.

"I'm fired up for this, man. It's going to be really cool to watch him going up against one of his best friends and a former teammate."

There might not be anybody watching more closely than Coombs and Smith, and their allegiances on Sunday obviously aren't a secret.

Truthfully, a good-natured wager might not even be necessary to make the Super Bowl matchup a little more interesting for the two Ohio State assistants, because it's already clear that any chance to gloat around the practice facility wouldn't go to waste.

"I do know this, whether it's out of pride, confidence or just stubbornness, Kerry Coombs will bet on his players 100 percent of the time," Smith said. "It doesn't matter if everyone who knows him would look at him and say, 'What are you doing?' He's still going to do it, that's how confident he is in his players.

"I've just got to think about what the bet is going to be, because I know he'll say yes."

And by Sunday night, the Buckeyes will have new film that won't lie about the individual winner -- and which might just settle the Super Bowl as well.