Cornerback Doran Grant makes smooth transition to starter at OSU

Doran Grant's uncle has a nickname for the the Ohio State junior cornerback: "One Word"
Wire
Aug 21, 2013

By Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
Distributed by MCT

So it's not just with the media that Grant keeps his talking to the bare minimum.
In a Buckeyes secondary with plenty of talkers — cornerback Bradley Roby, safety Christian Bryant and, most of all, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs — Grant can quietly just do his job.

Which is exactly what he seems to be doing.

Grant has settled in comfortably as the successor to 2012 senior Travis Howard.

With Roby suspended for the opener on Aug. 31 against Buffalo, Grant will have to embrace an even larger role at the start of the season.

That's fine with him.

“No pressure,” he said. “Just hunger.”

Grant, a graduate of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, played in all 12 games last year but had only one start. But Coombs considered him starter-worthy a year ago, when he took 165 defensive snaps.

“I’m preparing for it just like I did last year,” Grant said. “I was a starter like Coach Coombs said last year. I just grew a little more confident, and I'm ready for Aug. 31.”

Grant has the physical tools to be successful, and no one questions his work ethic. He earned an Iron Buckeye award for his diligence in the offseason.

“Just go in every day and work in the offseason and you’ll get results,” Grant said.

Coombs has been in Grant's corner since the assistant's arrival after coach Urban Meyer’s hiring. But he senses a change in Grant.

“I think there’s a difference when you walk in and hope to get a job and when you’ve earned a job,” Coombs said. “He has earned that job.

“I think he feels very, very confident in his ability to do that job. I know I do. That position, above all else, requires confidence in your ability, and I think he has that.”

Grant said the game has slowed down for him this year. He’s more aggressive, more sure of himself.

When Roby returns, opposing quarterbacks are likely to shy away from the All-America candidate and try to target Grant. He is fine with that.

“It’s just more opportunity, in my eyes,” he said.

Quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton throw against Grant every day in practice. Both have been impressed.

“Doran Grant has improved so much,” Guiton said. “He’s always there. You have to make a good pass to complete one on him.”

With Roby out, the Buckeyes will have eight new starters for the opener. The sense is that the coaches are less concerned about Grant than about some of the others.

“He has done a great job,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “He’s another one of those guys who hasn’t done it a whole lot in front of 107,000 people. Does that really make us nervous? No.

“But we’d like to see how those guys react and respond. He’s not unlike a bunch of the other young guys. (But) we have great expectations for him and we’re excited to see him go out and play.”

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