Unselfish OSU Linebackers
COLUMBUS (AP) - Marcus Freeman doesn’t mind staying in the background while All-American James Laurinaitis gets all the attention.
Freeman and the third starting linebacker, Ross Homan, along with Spitler, might be stars at another Top 25 program. But at Ohio State, they’re just considered bit players to the megastar who wears No. 33.
Laurinaitis recognizes the problem he creates.
"Marcus is a terrific player," Laurinaitis said. "His physical abilities are unbelievable. He has great leadership, he obviously is explosive, he’s fast, he’s unbelievably strong.
"He just does his job silently."
While Freeman and the others labor "silently," almost everything Laurinaitis does is trumpeted by media, fans, coaches and national pundits.
And that seems to be OK with everybody.
"James is a great football player," said Homan, a sophomore in his first year as a starter. "We look at it as an opportunity to get better, to learn from James."
Homan, who has blond, close-cropped hair and is about the same size as Laurinaitis, did let it get to him one time when he went to a charity event that Laurinaitis couldn’t attend.
"He calls me afterward and he was mad," Laurinaitis said, relishing the retelling. "He said, ’I swear, if one more little kid comes up to me and says, ’James, can I get your autograph?’ I’m going to flip out."’
Freeman, who struck up a friendship with Laurinaitis three years ago, has no desire to face the media scrutiny or to be singled out when the defense doesn’t play well. Laurinaitis fills those roles. When you have such a great linebacker like James, it’s tough to be in that spotlight. But at the same time, you get an opportunity that a lot of people want to see him play and you’re able to showcase your talent," he said. "There’s a lot of pros, but I don’t see too many cons. If you’re eager for that spotlight, then maybe you’re not happy. But the good thing about us linebackers, we’re not selfish guys."
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