August 22, 2011

Tanner keeping things positive

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The transition from high school standout to college freshman is never an easy one. Challenges arise both on and off the field as the freshmen are thrown into the fire and must make quick adjustments. For freshman safety Ron Tanner, the transition process is starting to go much more smoothly.

"It's going really well," Tanner said. "I feel like coming in during the spring helped me a lot as far as learning everything. I feel like for the most part that I've got everything down, I just kind of work on the little things and basically try and get better each day throughout camp."

While things are starting to go more smoothly on the field, off the field is where Tanner says the biggest challenge lies for a freshman football player.

"The biggest thing I think is really self-studying," Tanner said. "That goes for in the classroom and also on the football field. You have to study a lot on your own, you can't just learn from what is being told to you on the field or in the classroom, you have to pick up on your own time and really mature and learn things on your own and go over your notes and everything."

Going to school so close to home can sometimes cause problems for players as they try to balance becoming independent young adults with staying close to their families. Tanner feels like has found that perfect balance already and looks at his location as a positive thing.

"It's good because I get a good balance," he said. "When I'm on campus I feel like I'm away from my parents and my family and they trust me, they don't like try to come and bombard me. My family is really close so it's also good that I get to go home over the weekends or whatever and go see them and check on them and see how things are going so I think it's a major plus for me."

Sunday evening provided Tanner with another milestone moment at Ohio State's annual Media Day. As the team photo was taken, it started to hit Tanner that his childhood dream of suiting up for the Buckeyes is coming to fruition.

"It's a great moment just to be out here and have my family here taking pictures and everything and just being a part of this team that I grew up watching and looking up to," he said. "Being out here in the stadium, on the field, with all of my teammates, it's a wonderful feeling."

As a multi-sport standout at Eastmoor Academy in Columbus, Tanner is used to being the star of the team. With so many experienced players returning at safety for Ohio State, getting reps in camp hasn't always been easy but Tanner is keeping a positive attitude and continuing to work hard to make every rep that he does receive count.

"It's definitely been tough," he said. "I just try to think positive and learn from those guys because they have had some experience. As far as learning the system, I'll be able to do that but I don't have any actual field experience like those guys so I'll be able to learn and listen and kind of piggyback off of those guys. I definitely try and look at it from a positive perspective."

One positive of having a lot of experienced players in front of Tanner has been the leadership and knowledge those players provide and many of the veterans have been more than accommodating when questions arise.

"Definitely Jamie (Wood) has (helped) and throughout camp I've roomed with Orhian Johnson and he has definitely helped me a lot," Tanner explained. "(Johnson) started last year so he's been a tremendous help to me and he's probably been my number one go-to guy if I need help with anything throughout practice or after practice."

For anyone that may question Tanner's chances of making an impact at Ohio State, this wouldn't be the first time that Tanner has silenced doubters. Growing up, Tanner faced plenty of doubters that told him he couldn't be a scholarship football player at Ohio State. Having already proven that he's capable of being just that, Tanner now looks to silence anyone that questions his ability to play at the highest level of college football.

"Throughout life you always have people that doubt you whether you're doing well or you're not doing well," he said. "It's just something I look at where I try to take every negative situation and turn it into a positive somehow. If someone doubts me that I can't play or that I can't compete, I'll prove them wrong in the long run anyways."

While doubters serve as a motivator for Tanner, so does the impact that he realizes he can have on local kids. Over the years, the Columbus City League hasn't always had the greatest reputation for producing football players that do the right things on and off the field. Tanner knows that he has a chance to change that mindset and he embraces that aspect of his life.

"I feel like there's wonderful talent in the city," Tanner explained. "I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to play here and I just want to take advantage of the opportunity and hopefully be able to give back and show them that there are wonderful talents and also kids from the city that can excel not only on the field but in the classroom as well."

Tanner isn't the only former City Leaguer looking to change the stereotypes as redshirt freshman Verlon Reed is in the same boat. Both players grew up on the south side of Columbus and engaged in some heated battles at rival high schools both in football and basketball. Of course they share the same locker room now but that competitive fire still comes out with the two playing on opposite sides of the football.

"It's always exciting to play against Verlon," he said. "In high school I always played against him and we had to battle on offense and defense actually and now with him playing receiver and me playing safety we get to go against each other at times. It's always fun and exciting to see him out there, especially when we're out there at the same time."

With the log-jam at safety, playing time may be tough to come by this fall for Tanner but tough situations are where he has thrived the most and this is just another challenge that Tanner is ready to meet head on.


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