In a candid interview with Dom Tiberi of 10tv, Ohio State linebackers coach and former Buckeye standout James Laurinaitis shared his insights on the challenges and expectations facing the Buckeyes this season. Laurinaitis, who experienced the highs and lows of college football during his playing days, emphasized the need for toughness and resilience in pursuit of a national championship.

Reflecting on his own experiences, Laurinaitis recalled the pressure of being ranked number one in the country. “Yeah, I mean, I remember going into 2006 ranked number one in the country. There is pressure with that, but pressure is a privilege, you know?” Laurinaitis said. “So you have to be able to go and attack it.”

Despite the buzz surrounding the Buckeyes’ talent, Laurinaitis stressed that talent alone is not enough to secure a national title. “We keep hearing about, we’re a really talented team, talented team. Talent doesn’t win national championships,” he remarked. Laurinaitis pointed to past Ohio State teams, including the 2005 squad he was part of, which were laden with talent but fell short of ultimate glory. “I think some of the most talented teams in Ohio State history never won at all. I think about the 2005 team that I was a part of was the most talented team out of the four years that I was at Ohio State.”

The former Buckeye also cited other highly talented teams, like those in 2015 and 2019, that didn’t capture the national championship. “So there’s been a lot of talented teams that didn’t host a national championship,” he noted. According to Laurinaitis, the key to success lies in toughness, both physical and mental. “For us, we have to be the toughest team, and I think that’s physically and mentally. There’s gonna come games where things aren’t going well, and you just gotta find a way to get through and to win those things.”

Staying healthy and maintaining focus throughout the season are crucial components for a championship run. “And at the end, stay healthy and hopefully have a chance to win it all,” Laurinaitis emphasized.

When asked about the state of the Buckeyes’ defense, Laurinaitis expressed confidence in their resurgence. “Last thing, you feel like the silver bullets are back?” Tiberi inquired, to which Laurinaitis responded positively, indicating a return to the high standards set by Ohio State’s storied defensive units.

As the Buckeyes prepare for another season filled with high expectations, Laurinaitis’ message is clear: embrace the pressure, focus on toughness, and strive for resilience. With Laurinaitis at the helm of the linebackers, Ohio State is poised to tackle the challenges ahead and make a strong push for national championship glory.