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October 1, 2013

No apologies from Philly

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Corey "Philly" Brown is Twitter's latest tough guy, but at least he's not backing down from the string of statements he's made about undefeated Ohio State.

Less than an hour away from being swamped by reporters, the senior wide receiver decided to publish the following tweet from his account, @phillybrown10, about the Buckeyes' upcoming primetime bout against No. 16 Northwestern:

"It's a big game this week because WE made it a big game not them..."

So, when Brown was inevitably asked about it, he offered a rather simple, direct explanation.

"I'm just saying because of the amount of games that we've won in a row, everybody's waiting for our downfall," he said. "But I mean, the way that the team's working right now we're playing right now I just don't see that happening."

It's a bold statement from one of Ohio State's most-outspoken players. And lately, Brown's arguably been louder than ever.

Last week, he took to Twitter to say the following before ultimately beating then-No. 23 Wisconsin Saturday:

"We are the best team in the country…"

And this:

"It hurts y'all to see us win lol"

This, too:

"It never fails... They get a team hype them up and you know what we do to them??? Smack them right back down"

It's the sort of stuff that veers sharply away from the normal talking points, but Brown -- who had eight catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns against the Badgers -- sees it necessary to publicly defend himself and Ohio State, which finds itself on a 17-game winning streak.

"It's just the way I feel. Whatever I tweeted I meant," he said. "When people take shots at our team, it's like taking shots at my family. I take that personal so whatever I say on Twitter, I really mean it."

In particular, Brown seemed incensed that ESPN college football analyst Mark May picked the Badgers to upset the Buckeyes.

"I think a lot of those people on ESPN that do those shows, they're the same way as all the haters that we have around here. They say we got a weak schedule so they say that we're not ready for the big game or whatever," he said. "But I mean, we're just going to keep doing the same thing that we've been doing and we're gonna keep winning. They're only going to hold us down for so long."

For better or for worse, this is Philly Brown in the year 2013 -- a brash but talented playmaker for a Buckeye offense that's asserted itself among the nation's best this season.

"He's probably the closest thing we have to a rah-rah guy," said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman. "He's very vocal, he's very energetic."

And while Brown's delivered on the field in the past -- he had 60 catches for 669 yards and three touchdowns in 2012 -- his leadership skills and total commitment Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's regime were once questionable at best.

"I don't think he took his approach to the game very seriously," Herman said. "Everything about him was kind of three-quarters in, 75 percent in."

Meyer was a bit more blunt.

"This time last year, I was hoping he would move on somewhere else," he said. "We had enough."

Brown recalls having to write a brief summary of reflection before handing it to his head coach.

"Coach Meyer makes us do self evaluations where we fill out little forms of what we think about ourselves and then he fills out what he thinks about us," he said.

Brown and Meyer, of course, didn't scribble down the same things.

"Maybe that was a little eye opening," he said. "You got to realize at some point, if this is what you want to do for your future and how you want to take care of your family, a lot's got to change. Obviously when I first got here or my first couple years here weren't as good as they should've been. Now I'm just trying to make up for lost time."

Whether it's being a tireless defender of the program on social media or on the field in the third quarter against Wisconsin, Brown's become one of a handful of players who might make up Ohio State's identity, an image yet to have been fully conceived.

While it seems fair to call Brown out on his antagonistic tweets, it appears there is indeed a method to his madness. Maybe it's all about finding an identity.



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