Ohio State '23 OH DB (SO) - Jermaine Mathews

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    • On where Jermaine Mathews Jr. has grown coming off his freshman season: “He’s taken a great step forward. He’s the next guy up, man. He’s been extremely important on the growth of our secondary, because now we’ve worked him inside some, he’s played outside at both corner spots. He’s got that ‘it’ factor, you know what I mean? So we look at what he brings, the energy, the competitiveness, we’ve gotta build off last year and expand the role for him.”
     
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    • On potentially finding a rotational role for Mathews: “We play it by ear. We’ll see how it goes by the time we get into camp. But, obviously, he’s earning his stripes. He earned his stripes, it’s our job to create opportunities for him.”
     
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    • Mathews called Bryson Rodgers one of the “shiftier” receivers on Ohio State’s roster. “He probably doesn’t get as much press as some of the other receivers but I think he’s just as good and he’s had some really good routes.”
    • Mathews said the receivers “definitely got” the cornerbacks on the first day of practice, but since then the competition has been back and forth. “It’s just great work. Iron sharpens iron.”
    • More on that topic: “The competitiveness has ramped up this year. Especially this spring. I think the competitive spirit in everybody just went up and everybody just feels more hungry this year.”
    • On how his experiences playing during his freshman season built some self-assurance for this year: “The more reps you get on the field, it definitely builds more confidence. Once you see, basically, about everything you’re going to see in a game, you’re gonna get more comfortable. It just feels more at ease, more like football.”
    • On what he sees his role as in the defense: “Just a guy that can play anywhere in the back end, a guy who can help on special teams. Wherever they need me at this year, just go out there and give it my all.”
    • Mathews said he’s been playing the nickel “a lot” this spring.
    • On differences playing in the nickel vs. outside cornerback: “It’s just the two-way go that you get being in the slot, you can go inside, outside. If you press, it’s the ‘catch’ technique compared to backpedaling. You’ve got to (play) sideline-to-sideline as an extra defender.”
    • On trying to take the next step as a player playing behind Ohio State’s returning starting trio at cornerback: “I think it’s just about me pushing them and them pushing me. Last year, it was me just learning, and they were just helping me as the older vets. Now we’re all back again. It just gives me a chance to learn more and watch the vets.”
    • On staying patient for playing time: “You really just know, ya feel me? I think a lot of it comes with knowing yourself and knowing what your abilities are and knowing where you really are. I think some people get too ahead of themselves and think they’re ahead of where they really are. It’s just a look in the mirror.”
     
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