Once again we’re joined by a faithful reader and great Buckeye fan to give us his thoughts on the Ohio State program. Today, Mike checks in with a post spring-practice look at the areas where Ohio State will look find leaders to step up for the 2014 season. See what you think about his look across the offense, and be sure to give him a follow on twitter.
This is what I see the biggest needs are on Offense after the team’s Spring preparations. I will hit on a couple of positions, depth (or lack thereof), and finally I will give you who I think breaks out this year on offense. For the sake of this reflection, I’m not going to address our stable of Running Backs or Tight Ends… Ohio State is an embarrassment of riches at those positions.
Of course, when the fall comes and the rest of the rookies join the program, there may be some changes.
Our true biggest need is replacing 4 starters on the Offensive Line. We know Decker can play and will start at LT, he has gotten stronger and a potential leader that this offense will surely need especially with such young guys needing to step up. Next up, Pat Elflein who will most likely line up next to Decker and start at LG as he has some experience and proved he can play at this level, maybe not elite but better than average. Then you have Jacoby Boren, who I think will be the starting Center day one. I know what everyone is thinking, what about Billy Price? Well I see Billy Price starting at RG and becoming a dominate player of the next couple years. His mean streak and strength is what every Offensive Lineman (or Defensive Lineman for that matter) should have.
I would have loved to see Kyle Dodson be that starting RT, but unless the light comes on by fall camp, I see him as depth right now (which is a shame due to his talent level) which would open the Door for Evan Lisle to step in at RT. I think this RT battle will continue through spring with one of these two guys as the starter. The one wild card here Kyle Trout (He will be a Tackle) who is enrolled early, if he can get the system down after being in the weight program with Mickey Marotti he could be the real sleeper in this Offensive Line group, in my opinion.
With all this being said, we have some nice freshman coming in who will provide some much needed depth. This is my biggest concern on the Offensive side of the ball right now. We need young men to be developed and then they need to “Step-up” and seize the opportunity.
Quarterback: Read More
Life is full of decisions. Sometime soon (Friday?) we’ll get the official word that LaQuinton Ross has decided to head to greener pastures… but until then, here’s the soundtrack for our midweek musings.
After a bit of a delay in order to ensure that everything was sorted out on both sides, current Mississippi State verbal wide receiver Corey Smith has flipped his commitment and become the 23rd member of the 2013 recruiting class.
Originally from Akron, Smith is a 6′ 170 pound recruit who will have two years of eligibility left upon enrolling at Ohio State. While at Buchtel, he was listed as one of the top athletes in the state of Ohio for 2011, and attended Ohio State for games and camps during his junior and senior seasons.
He’s listed as a four star receiver by numerous recruiting services, and held offers from Penn State, Tennessee, Alabama, Washington, and North Carolina, among others. He initially verballed to the Volunteers, but needed to take care of some issues with his core classes and chose to do so at EMCC. It was speculated following his visit this past weekend that he would be a part of this class, but it wasn’t until his transcripts were examined that he was able to finally make it official.
After the break, check out his highlights from high school and from this past year at East Mississippi Community College: Read More
The drought is over.
Nope, not the one that’s gripping the heartland and screwing with our future pizza, the Ohio State recruiting drought of wide receivers.
This morning, Maryland District Heights’ Taivon Jacobs gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State over West Virginia and the home Terrapins. He also held offers from Notre Dame, Miami (FL), Florida State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Pitt, and Boston College.
He’s been identified as a “legitimate 4.4 laser timed” athlete, and his highlights (after the break) certainly show that speed. At 5’10 and 165 pounds, he certainly has the tools to excel in Coach Meyer’s offense. He also is a track star, and will more than likely look to run for the Buckeye squad as well.
During his recruiting, he mentioned that Ohio State was his dream school; his relationship with #BuckeyeSwaggernaut Zach Smith certainly helped him become Ohio State’s fifteenth commitment for the 2013 class.
Ohio State wide receivers caught just 65 passes as a group a last year—dead last in the Big Ten.
To put that in perspective, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State and Northwestern each had one wide receiver catch more than 65 passes.
To put it mildly, that will simply not be good enough this season. Not with Urban Meyer under the helm.
With DeVier Posey suspended for the first ten games of the season, Devin Smith was the leading receiver for the Buckeyes in 2011. His statistics? A not exactly mind blowing 14 catches for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Posey has since moved on to the NFL, leaving the Buckeyes’ receiving corps as its largest question mark for the 2012 season.
There are no senior wide receivers on the roster, so Corey “Philly” Brown and Chris Fields are the veterans of the group as juniors. I use the term “veterans” lightly here, though, as Brown has just 14 catches in his OSU career and Fields has just 11. So, who steps up this season for the Buckeyes?
There are proven playmakers at the other positions on the field, except for wide receiver.
Tight end Jake Stoneburner will likely be the favorite target for sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. Versatile tight ends seem to have a certain niche in Meyer-coached offenses, and Stoneburner is just that. Stoneburner, though, is currently suspended after being arrested roughly three weeks ago for obstructing official business, but many say that Stoneburner will not miss any games.
Running back Jordan Hall will also be used in a variety of ways by Meyer. But, Hall recently suffered a foot injury that will cause him to miss roughly 10 weeks, and potentially three games of the regular season.
But Miller will need some help from the wide receivers, too. Read More
Receiver was a position that held the Buckeyes back on the field last year. With Posey being out 10 games and the loss of Reed midway through the year, the team struggled tremendously with consistency and production from the position.
As a result, the receiving stats from last season are painful to review.
If the troubles last season weren’t enough motivation, Meyer will also be looking to replenish the position after striking out with Davonte Neal and Stefon Diggs at the end of the 2012 class.
Depending on who wants in, I think the Buckeyes could take anywhere from two to four receivers in the class.
Once again, I like to take a look at what we see in Ohio first.
Overall, this board would look a lot different in the past under Tressel, who would likely have already offered multiple kids in-state.
Another Christmas present in Columbus, as yesterday’s staffing press release is followed by today’s announcement that Urban Meyer is indeed following a higher purpose.
Current Temple Receivers and Special Teams coach, and former Gators coach Zach Smith has been named the latest member of the Ohio State staff.
Smith, a Dublin Coffman graduate, is excited to return home after a year at Marshall prior to heading to Temple for the past season. He was a part of the Marshall program that welcomed the football season in at the ‘Shoe in 2010.
Coach Meyer says about the hire-
Zach Smith has already coached with me for five seasons, and so I know what a quality coach he is. He knows my system inside and out and he teaches the system the way I want it to be taught. He has coached and taught some great players already, like Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Louis Murphy. Zach has done a terrific job as wide receivers coach at both Marshall and this past year at Temple. I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him again. Ohio State is going to benefit from his coaching and his abilities as a recruiter.
He “gets” the Ohio State tradition, as a Buckeye State native. Oh, and it probably helps that Earle Bruce is his grandfather. Smith’s comments-
My coming home has added another element to everything that has gone on this week (ed. Jean Bruce passed away last Friday, right before Temple’s bowl game). My Grandma would be very proud of me. I feel honored to come back and work at this university where both she and my Grandfather’s hearts have always been and I grew up loving.
It is really, really a dream come true. I grew up watching Ohio State, my Grandfather coached here and I always dreamt of doing it, too. Plus I have an opportunity to work with Coach Meyer again. I was able to spend five years on his staff at Florida, and now working with him again is another dream come true for me. It’s like two dreams coming true. I’m really excited, and it is wonderful to be back home.
At this point, the offensive staff is as follows:
Welcome home, Coach Smith!
The receivers are one of the least experienced groups on the entire team. The suspension of Devier Posey compounds the issue significantly.
As young and inexperienced as they may be (and let me reiterate, they are), they are also extremely talented- as you would expect from any group at Ohio State.
It may take a few games to work out the kinks, but if the passing attack starts rolling, these players are fully capable of taking over a game.
The good news is that they don’t need to take over games; they only need to take some pressure off the running backs by giving the defense something to worry about.
At this, they should be more than capable, no matter who the quarterback ends up being.