Ohio State Coaches, Players Support Marshall After Social Media Backlash

By Tim Shoemaker on November 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm
Jalin Marshall will look to bounce back against Indiana.

Throughout the course of a football season, teams and players will go through a series of ups and downs.

Ohio State's Jalin Marshall, however, went through those in just one 60-minute period of football Saturday against Minnesota.

Marshall had five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in the Buckeyes' 31-24 road win over the Golden Gophers. But the redshirt freshman H-back from Middletown also had two costly fumbles — one on the goal line which would have put Ohio State up 21-7 and another on a punt return that allowed Minnesota to close to within 31-21.

The result, at least on social media, from some Ohio State fans wasn't pretty.

“I think the biggest thing for him is facing the adversity after the game as much as during the game," wide receivers coach Zach Smith said Monday. "He played, actually, a pretty good game. He had 100 yards receiving almost and he graded high other than those glaring mistakes we all saw. It’s more a young kid that then has to face the social media backlash and these hypothetical fans that want to say derogatory things on a 19-year-old. That’s the stuff that’s hard for him to overcome, I think, but he’s been great. He’s had a great mentality, he had a great practice on Sunday so I think he’ll be fine. He’s gonna be fine, but that’s harder for a teenager to overcome than anything.”

Angry tweets toward players aren't exactly a new trend. It happens with various fan bases across the college football landscape. And while that certainly doesn't justify it as being right, it's just the nature of the social-media crazed world we live in.

"Fans always either tweet at me or tweet about me or tweet to my mom constantly after the game so it’s definitely something I’ve gotten used to," cornerback Eli Apple said. "We were aware of it and that’s just something we try to support Jalin about and just hug him up about."

Apple wasn't alone in his support of Marshall, either.

Several of his other teammates sang their praises Monday and Smith also added former Ohio State wide receiver Philly Brown — who had his fair share of social media backlash during his time as a Buckeye — also reached out to Marshall to help him.

“A lot of people don’t know how hard it is to be an athlete," senior linebacker Curtis Grant said. "It’s easy to be an outsider and not know what it takes. Just to comment on it and give your opinion about something that you see on TV, if a lot of people actually knew what athletes had to go through, they would change their mindset or the things that they say about us because it’s not easy being a college football player.”

“Some of that stuff, especially coming from Ohio State fans, that’s unacceptable," added redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Pat Elflein. "Put yourself in his shoes being out there in the cold trying to perform at this level, it’s not easy. People think it’s easy, like no, we work our tails off to try and be good at what we do and when people say that stuff it’s like, ‘Get out of here, man. What are you talking about?’"

Another guy who hasn't lost confidence in Marshall is head coach Urban Meyer. He constantly raves about Marshall's ability to be a dynamic part of the Ohio State attack.

And despite Marshall's struggles in the punt return game against Minnesota, it appears he will still be the Buckeyes' return man Saturday against Indiana in a game where they can clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

"Jalin had a tough game, but we haven't lost confidence in Jalin. We don't do that here," Meyer said. "If you don't play hard, that's a whole different animal, but you play hard and make mistakes — we've just got to fix it, and he's going to work on a lot of things this week to get himself better."

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