COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Even though he still harbored doubts about the coaching staff, Corey "Philly" Brown was a very productive player for Ohio State a year ago.
He had a team-best 60 catches for 669 yards and three touchdowns.
Yet he showed so little conviction and commitment that head coach Urban Meyer said he wouldn't even walk across the street for him — a sentiment that Brown also shared about Meyer and his assistants.
"It's hard to just trust somebody, right off. Especially me. I have a hard time trusting people right away," Brown said of Meyer, who was in his first season as Ohio State's head coach. "He's a guy who came in here and it wasn't the most pleasant meeting that we had. I guess everybody just looked at him, like, 'Who are you to just come in here and just change this and change that?' At the time we didn't know that he knew what he was doing."
But now Brown has come full circle heading into Saturday night's game against the big team from his home state, Penn State. He's a much happier, better adjusted person, and also one of the team's figureheads.
"He's 180 degrees from where he was," Meyer said. "He's an absolute leader of this team, unchallenged, unquestionable. If you said that a year ago, we would have gotten in an argument, because that's not who he was in his development as a person, a player, as a student."
Need evidence of how far the senior from Upper Darby, Pa., has come?
The Buckeyes, riding an 18-game winning streak, trailed at home to 17½-point underdog Iowa at halftime last week, 17-10.
After the assistants met with their units, Meyer — admittedly more of a "yeller" than an inspirational speaker — got a few things off his chest.
Brown then asked for permission to get up and speak. He didn't mince words.
"We came in and you could kind of tell that the locker room was dead," fellow wide-out Devin Smith said. "Nobody was really saying anything, everybody was just looking at each other. Philly stood up and basically just said, 'This is not how we play.' He was screaming, just letting it pour out, really. He was saying, 'This is not us. This is not how we play. We need to come up this half and really show them what we're about.'"
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