COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A year ago they shared space in coach Urban Meyer’s doghouse.
Now Ohio State’s wide receivers are team leaders.
Inexperienced and unproven in 2012, they’re veterans this time around.
It’s a question of maturity, assistant coach Zach Smith said of the improvement in his charges.
”Just a year ago I told everyone that it was a young group that needed to grow up and kind of develop and get better. That’s something they’ve done,” he said after Saturday’s practice. ”Fast forward a year and they’ve had trials, tribulations, had hard times, had great successes, and so they have grown and learned from mistakes to the point where they’re able to be a mature group.”
They’ve come a long way.
Meyer didn’t hide his feelings about the pass-catchers in the spring of 2012, his first time on the field with them after taking the job.
He said they didn’t work hard enough. He said they weren’t prepared. He said there were no big-play guys in the lot.
Smith conceded that the coaching staff was ”almost in panic mode” at the receivers’ inability to stretch the field, to even run routes or be a viable option in Meyer’s spread attack.
Gradually, they came around.
Corey Brown had 60 catches, Devin Smith 30 and Evan Spencer 12 last year as a problem area became a strength. They proved they could make big plays, such as Smith’s memorable one-handed grab early in the year and his 39-yard gain in the final minute that helped preserve Ohio State’s perfect season against Purdue.
More of the same will be expected this year.
Continue Reading: Buckeyes wide-outs no longer area of concern