Senior linebacker eyeing leadership role

Brian Rolle started the 2009 season trying to fill the shoes of former Ohio State All-American linebacker James Laurinaitis. Heading into 2010, Rolle, a senior from Immokalee, Fla., has taken on his own leadership role during spring practices. “I take it to heart that the coaches feel I can lead this team,” Rolle said. “I majored in sociology, so I like to help people now that the coaches have given me a role to help guys more, being that I’m an older guy.” Rolle, who wears the No. 36 that Buckeye linebacker legend Chris Spielman did, started for the first time in 2009. He had an immediate impact with a crucial interception in the Buckeyes’ season-opening 31-27 victory over Navy. However, Rolle felt he could have had a better season. “Personally, I would say it was average because I feel I could do so much better,” Rolle said. “I’m kind of tough on myself and most people say it was a good year for a first-year starter.” This season, Rolle will be sharing the leadership reins with fellow senior linebacker Ross Homan, who will be a third-year starter for the Buckeyes. “We’ve grown, we were great friends throughout the years, kind of helping each other out and coming up the ranks,” Homan said. One of the things Rolle said he takes to heart is watching younger players working hard in practice, especially fellow linebackers and other defensive players. “I’m doing a great job at letting the guys know what they need to do to get better,” Rolle said. One of the young players Rolle spoke highly of was junior linebacker Etienne Sabino from Miami, Fla., who is competing for a starting position. “I look at him as a situation I was in, behind guys who were really good and really talented,” Rolle said of Sabino. “And now he’s in a role where he’s got to play because we don’t really have anybody more experienced than him.” Linebacker coach Luke Fickell has coached Rolle throughout his four seasons at OSU, and is proud of the growth Rolle has shown as a leader. “B-Rolle has shown a natural ability to do it, and he is an outgoing kid,” Fickell said. “That is kind of something that you try to push guys to do.”

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