No draft talk ... yet

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- So far, everything has gone according to plan.

What's the next step? At this point, Bradley Roby isn't telling.

With his natural ability, improved knowledge of the game and experience, the Ohio State cornerback can't really be surprised that he's considered one of the premier breakup artists in the country. And while he might have anticipated his explosion on the national scene, the redshirt sophomore isn't in a hurry to make a decision on the next phase of his career.

"We did discuss [the NFL draft] a couple weeks ago, but I'm not really thinking about it too much," Roby said of his talk with cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs. "I just want to take these next two games and win them for our seniors and for our team and to accomplish our goal. That's not really on my mind, that's something at the end, there's a lot that goes into that, so I'm not really worried about that right now.

"I don't really want to say anything that's going to cause speculation. I'm just taking it one day at a time, one game at a time. Just trying to get this win."

Roby has quite literally had a hand or two in plenty of victories so far for the unbeaten Buckeyes, and once again they'll be trusting him to provide lockdown coverage in the secondary as the defense devotes extra attention Saturday to stopping Wisconsin's rushing attack at Camp Randall.

That suits the super confident Roby just fine, and he has had no trouble with those responsibilities in the nine games for which he has been healthy this season. Combining his elite speed with the ball skills of a former high school receiver and steadily improving technique, Roby leads the country in passes defended, with 16 pass breakups and 2 interceptions.

Roby might be ready to forego the rest of his eligibility and enter his name in the NFL draft next spring, a move his redshirt season affords him, despite his playing just two seasons with the Buckeyes.

However there's no solid indication of how high he might be picked, since he hasn't been a fixture in the draft projections like teammate Johnathan Hankins, another Ohio State defender eligible to leave the program early. And there's also the matter of checking off one of Roby's top goals with the Buckeyes, something he's not able to do this year even if he helps produce two more wins.

"A national championship next year would definitely be a good incentive, a good reason to come back," Roby said. " ... I mean, who wouldn't want to play for a national championship? That's definitely a good goal for our team, and maybe next year we can get there."

With so many players returning on an offense that is having no problem racking up points and rolling through the Big Ten, the talk about contending next year is already getting louder for the Buckeyes. But the other side of the ball could have some issues with replacing a significant number of seniors in key spots, which will make the decisions by Hankins and Roby even more critical for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes will lose six starters on defense no matter what Roby winds up doing. But when those discussions with the coaching staff resume, it's a safe bet the chance to strengthen Roby's stock will be dangled right along with the even bigger carrot.

"I don't think he's ready for that yet," Coombs said of Roby possibly leaving for the NFL. "I think his best days are ahead of him, I think he's going to be a great player, but I think he needs more time, more seasoning. Even just to look at the progress he's made, certainly, from March until November, but even from September to November gives you an indication of how good he can be.

"I still think he has things he wants to accomplish, and I don't think the least of those things is being a part of a team that has a chance to play for a national championship. So, I would expect Bradley to be here and be around, and I'm looking forward to coaching him another year."

For now, though, the Buckeyes just have to maximize the next two weeks.