COLUMBUS, Ohio — There are two different standards at the disposal of Zach Smith, and they’re equally effective at getting the attention the Ohio State wide receivers coach needs from his players.
If he wants, Smith can rattle off the bar that has historically been set so high by the Buckeyes that have come through the program, a pitch that works as both a motivator for guys on campus and a recruiting tool off it.
“There have been seven first-rounders since 1995, more than anyone else in the country,” Smith said. “I don’t think there’s been a university in the last 17 years that has produced wideouts like this place has.”
If the promise of the NFL isn’t enough, Smith can simply refer to the resume of the head coach, the value Urban Meyer places on receivers in his spread offense, and the type of numbers his system can produce for guys capable of playing in it.
The trick is becoming a first-round draft pick can be just as challenging as learning all the responsibilities in Ohio State’s playbook. Neither happens overnight or even in a full calendar year, but heading into their second season under Meyer and Smith, the Buckeyes at least appear to have a better grasp on the latter.
That doesn’t guarantee that Philly Brown, Devin Smith or a handful of talented young players emerging to complement them in the passing game will become the former. But it certainly won’t hurt their stock any if they continue on the upward trend they started last fall.
“I mean, our offense is built around the wide receiver position in the throw game, obviously,” Zach Smith said. “And we rely heavily on them in the throw game not to be a simple college offense. We ask them to do a lot of stuff, and they are receiving an NFL education at the position as far as reading coverages, reading defenders’ techniques, understanding how to attack those.
“I think they weren’t ready [last year], they didn’t know how significant that expectation was — and now they know. Now they’ve taken that extra step to commit to learning that and understanding that, and thriving and flourishing with that.”
Continue reading this article: History, scheme spur OSU’s receivers