August 28, 2010

Rolle hoping for big senior season

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State senior linebacker Brian Rolle never seems to have a bad day. And if he does, nobody would ever know about it.



"Everybody has bad days, but the biggest thing with B-Rolle is his attitude, and just how he conducts himself," fellow linebacker Storm Klein[/db ] said. "If he is having a bad day, he's going to bounce back faster than anybody."



Rolle has made a habit to always sporting a smile on his face, but that could be because of the transformation he made of himself in just a matter of a year.



Heading into fall camp last year, Rolle was a reserve linebacker fighting for a spot in the starting lineup. Though that was the case, Rolle guaranteed before the commencement of 2009's fall camp that he'd be a starter - and then he was.



This season, Rolle - heading into his second season as the team's starting middle linebacker - has established himself as one of the leaders of the team, being named one of the team's six senior captains late last week.



"When I look at the other seniors on this team, this is such a great honor," Rolle said. "It's quite an honor to think that my teammates recognize how hard I've worked. I'm looking forward to a great season."



Rolle seemed like a shoe-in candidate as captain this season because of his vibrant off-the-field attitude. Always sporting a positive viewpoint on things, Rolle has created himself as the "talker" on the Buckeye defense.



Though he stands just 5-foot-11, Rolle talks a big game. And he plays a big game, too, given the fact he has earned the reputation as someone who never stops, whether that be during the play or in practice.



"Rolle is like a little sparkplug," linebacker [db]Etienne Sabino said. "He's always live and crazy."



While that style of play certainly provides a "spark" for the defense, it is Rolle's propensity to make big plays that stand out the most to Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and his staff.



And in his first game in the starting linebacking corps last year, Rolle made his presence felt.



It was Ohio State's season-opener against Navy, and the Buckeyes had allowed the Midshipmen to score a late touchdown. Navy needed just the two-point conversion to tie the game with less than two and a half minutes remaining on the clock.



Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs dropped back to pass - which was an immense contrast to the team's option style of play - and Rolle picked him off and returned it all the way to the other end zone to give Ohio State two points and the game.



That was just the beginning of what turned out to be a very productive season.



By his own admission, Rolle has some work to do when it comes to finding the right places on the field. Missed assignments weren't always rare, but Rolle made up for them with big plays.



Rolle's 94 tackles last season was top 10 in the Big Ten Conference and he added another interception later in the season for the Buckeyes.



This year as a captain, Rolle wants to go from good to great. But like he always does, Rolle spoke about the team's goals instead of himself, which is quite a testament when looking at how much he actually says.



"I think we're a good team. I can't grade us A to F, but I think we made tremendous strides in the off-season, with young guys stepping up," Rolle said. "Now its three weeks of camp to see how far we can go to get the young guys up to the level where they need to be and the seniors to get revamped."



Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.






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