After the first practice Urban Meyer is happy with the effort his players gave, however; he’s concerned with the wide receivers. He told reporters he wanted them to impress him, but this didn’t happen. Instead, he acknowledges there’s much work ahead for this group.
Now, coming into this season that shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. The Buckeyes were not a pass oriented team last season. They averaged only 127 yards a game, and some of their most prolific passing plays were improvisations made by Braxton Miller.
It was clear the passing offense didn’t develop much last season. Still, if the Buckeyes want to kickstart their offense, they are going to need players to emerge.
Ohio State’s new offense will challenge defenses by spreading the field. To do this they’ll need reliable receivers that are capable of running effective routes and making plays. Right now, it’s hard to tell if they have that.
The current crop is young and features unpolished players huge on potential. We saw snippets of what players like Devin Smith, Evan Spencer and Corey Brown bring to the table, but it wasn’t enough to confidently say they are the next star receivers.
While this group must develop to help the offense, there are factors that should play to their advantage.
For one, they have playing experience. Players like Verlon Reed, T.Y. Williams, Devin Smith and Evan Spencer received a taste of what it was like to play during their freshman season. These experiences are invaluable and should give them confidence as they develop. Further, Corey Brown and Chris Fields are veterans that can offer this group leadership.
Along with experience, the receivers won’t be the only focal point in the passing game.
The tight ends will receive more opportunities in the new offense. Leading the way is Jake Stoneburner. Jake has been an excellent player and his size and speed can create matchup problems for opposing defenses. He’ll draw much attention this season, which may help the receivers.
The running backs will also receive their share of receptions.
In the mix is Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Bri’onte Dunn. Hall’s agility and Hyde’s breakaway speed make them an effective combination in the passing game.
Another back who should receive more looks is Zach Boren. Zach is a capable receiver who doesn’t shy away from contact. He would be a dangerous weapon if they are able to get him the ball in the open field.
These factors illustrate that while the receivers will need to step up big, the responsibility doesn’t rest entirely on them. Still, Urban’s comments show this group has a long way to go if they want to develop into the receivers the offense needs.