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March 7, 2013

Linebackers in focus

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes were back on the practice field on Thursday, a final practice before the start of spring break. Once the Buckeyes return the team will have 13 practices that includes the Spring Game on April 13th in Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium.

The spring will be a chance for the Buckeyes to take a look at the linebacker position, gone are Etienne Sabino and Zach Boren and Ohio State will need to find no less than two players to step up and join Ryan Shazier in the rotation. Shazier is slowed during the spring practice session after undergoing a procedure to clear up a sports hernia.

One name that has remained a bit of an enigma has been that of Curtis Grant. The third year player was a starter at the beginning of the 2012 season but got passed up on the depth chart and was relegated to special teams for the remainder of the season. The clock is ticking for the one-time five star recruit but the coaching staff still has high hopes in the Richmond (Va.) native.

"The will and the want-to has never been a question," co-defensive cooardinator and linebacker coach Luke Fickell said after practice on Thursday. "It's just the ability to continue to mature. All these players have different things going on in their lives that help them mature. I've seen some of the things he's gone through and I think this has really been a positive."

Grant has had to keep his focus and continue to get better, even with the adversity of losing his starting role in '12. Grant admitted that he was angry after losing the spot last season but now he has to use all of the motivation to stay driven and not fall into sort of traps.

"My goal is to not get complacent," Grant said. "I just want to keep working hard and do everything the coaches ask me to. My biggest motivation is my family. My dad always told me to carry my last name well and that's exactly what I'm trying to do."

What else went on at practice today and what other insights did we learn from the linebackers? Check out our practice report here to find out all the latest.

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