To go from “me” to “we” is pretty simple. Just turn that first letter upside down.
To go from "me" to "we" in terms of attitude, though, can take a major adjustment. Just ask Ohio State’s new starting right guard, Demetrius Knox.
Relegated to a backup role before the season when he, Matt Burrell and Malcolm Pridgeon lost to Branden Bowen in the competition to start, Knox — a fourth-year junior — probably thought he’d let his last, best chance slip away.
Then Bowen's season ended two weeks ago because of a broken lower left leg suffered against Maryland. On the fly, line coach Greg Studrawa sent in Burrell, but when practice started last week for the Nebraska game, coach Urban Meyer declared it an open competition.
And line veterans Jamarco Jones, Billy Price and Isaiah Prince let Knox know what was at stake. It wasn’t about “me.” It was about “we.”
“I think the thing that hit me the most is since I’ve been here, I guess I have to take the blame for that, it’s been, ‘All right, I’ve got to ball for myself,’ ” Knox said during this bye week. “ ‘I’ve got goals. I want to get here for me,’ dah dah dah.
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“Then last week, I talked to Isaiah, Marco, Billy, and they were like, ‘Hey, we’ve got goals. This team has a goal. This is what we want. We want to win this game, win the next one, win the next one.’ I just looked in their eyes and they were serious.”
If he had been in front of a mirror, he would have seen he was serious, too. What most knew of Knox from last season were those handful of “whoa” plays, as he called them, that he had in a substitute role for left guard Michael Jordan during a 31-0 loss to Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
“So I was like, ‘OK. Yes, I want to be great. I want to do this for me. But they need me so I’ve got to step up for them,’ ” Knox said.
He carried the “we” to the practice field as he competed for the starting job.
“It’s the coaches’ call and our motto is, ‘Whatever is best for the team,’ " Knox said. “So just like if coach would have put Matt in against Nebraska or anybody (else) in, we’ve got faith they can handle that job. I mean, we come out here swinging every day against the best defense in the country, so we all get the same looks and everything, so we’re confident in everybody.”
He won the job and graded out a champion for his play in the 56-14 win at Nebraska, “which is excellent for his first career start,” Meyer said.
The change in attitude helped make it so.
“I’ve been here a while, I’ve been here a long while,” Knox said. “But it’s time. It’s time for me to step up. It’s time for me to fill Bowen’s spot. Like I said, sadly he went down, but we’ve got to ball, we’ve got to go as a team.”