Winning Out Will Require More from Posey, Heyward

By Keith on October 27, 2010 at 4:00p

The college football season is a lot like a one stoplight town; blink and you’ll miss it. Certainly, baseball could learn a thing or two. In what seems like only a few days ago, we were scouting Marshall and now here we are eight games into the season and nearing the final stretch. If you hadn’t noticed, only two home games remain and one of them will send off the seniors to either the workforce or the League, depending on any number of factors.

As the season has rolled on, we’ve watched the team win and lose, either convincingly or bitterly. We’ve questioned coaches, armchair quarterbacked and screamed at the television like lunatics. But, keeping a watchful eye on our gifted players and what kind of season they are having is important too. Sometimes they don’t quite reach the heights we expect in terms of shear quantifable production. While Terrelle Pryor attracts much of the media’s attention and scrutiny, both Devier Posey and Cameron Heyward are big time players who have fallen on the disappointing side of the equation so far this year.

What’s unusual about both players is a month ago, I would have argued both are playing about on par to their ability. Posey had a big game against Miami despite being targeted by their secondary. He put up over 100 yards receiving and looked like the player who can get the tough, possession yardage while still getting behind defenders when needed. Recently, however, he’s been prone to drop passes and key ones at that. I haven’t gone back to count but I would venture the number of dropped passes are in double digits over the last month. What’s worse, he’s almost been almost completely invisible away from Ohio State, hauling in only seven passes for 57 yards against Illinois and Wisconsin combined. Those are rough numbers.

Perhaps my biggest gripe with Devier is the laziness with some of his routes. As the nation saw telestrated, he missed the soft spot in the zone early against Wisconsin which nearly led to an interception. Later in the game, he ran a disgustingly sloppy quick out which was broken up because Posey gave the route away early by not keeping his arms quiet going into his break/stop. Overall, attention to detail is lacking and we even saw it this past week getting stripped coming down after initially catching a deep pass from Pryor. Essentially, Devier should be our top receiver but he isn’t and as a result he is behind in production compared to last year.

Heyward, too, started relatively quickly this season. He had pivotal interception against the Hurricanes on a zone blitz which he returned 80 yards in a most graceful way. Plus, he worked over Miami left tackle Orlando Franklin all day. The following week he recorded a safety and a fumble return. Since then, though, it’s been hit or miss. Count me as disappointed he only has 1.5 sacks on the year through eight games, regardless of how much opposing teams are keying on him. He and Gabe Carimi fought to a stalemate in Wisconsin, and that’s being generous, but I’m looking for my all-American to rise up and make a statement in games like those.

And, I don’t think I’m the only one who is a little befuddled. There are whispers of falling draft stock and talk of being overrated. Cam is a little different being he’s more of a 3-4 defensive end who isn’t going to line up in a 9 technique all that much (although he’s capable). He’s more suited to 5 technique spot and possibly even more inside than that . Perhaps that flexiblity has limited his production somewhat which in turn makes folks like me question his effectiveness. No matter where he lines up, shouldn’t a guy of his caliber be getting more penetration and redirecting plays at a higher clip? I tend think so.

Nevertheless, I bring up both of these players now because of timing.  We are at a critical point with only four games left in Cam's career and possibly Posey's. The season is quickly slipping away and if Ohio State is to run the table and somehow find themselves in Pasadena, each of them need to start playing better. They need to find that peak where they maximize potential for the final stretch and each of them can. Both of them have the type of personality to accept a challenge.

I hesitated to even write about this because it's sure to fire up some diehards who think it's out of bounds to question either player.   Hopefully, it comes off not so much as criticism but a wake up that there needs to be a sense of urgency.  It’s apparent to me that now is the time for our best players to start producing and it could go without saying that any number of players could be singled out, from Terrelle to Brian Rolle to Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence.   But for me, Devier and Cam stick out based on preseason expectations and both need to elevate their play and lead their respective units.   It would go a long way as we head into the teeth of the schedule.


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builderofcoalitions's picture

Right on. Posey and Heyward have been average at best, inconsistent at worst. That said, if they turn it up a couple notches over the last four games, the Buckeyes will dominate.

Because we couldn't go for three.

741's picture

Fair points, interesting read.

btalbert25's picture

I get frustrated watching Posey.  It seems like he drops so many balls, or could haul in ones that he doesn't get to.  I guess it's good news that he has had a so-so year to this point, there's really not much of a chance that he'd be a first couple of round draft pick if he left.

ToledoBuckeye's picture

Sanzenbacher has been so awesome this year that he has overshadowed a disappointing Posey.  I was expecting a Julio Jones type season from Posey and I have gotten more of an Arrelious Benn.  High expectations but not making the big plays needed.

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Jason Priestas's picture

Yep. I'm guilty of seeing him arrive at 175 soaking wet and thinking the Buckeyes had missed on him.  I couldn't be happier to have been wrong.

iball's picture

This comment touches on what I think is happening with our recruiting classes. Tress is running into the same problem Coop ran into in his final years. The recruiting "services" have too much say on a players actual ability. Much like NFL combines, size, 40 time play a bigger role in evaluation, rather than actual on field performance. I fear OSU is becoming arrogant with their recruiting, thats why we missed out on DePriest. Bama WANTED him and OSU showed a nonchalant attitude.

Cam is becoming somewhat of a "tweener".

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Johnny Ginter's picture

there are a lot of reasons we missed out on depriest, but OSU becoming "arrogant" is not one of those reasons

ToledoBuckeye's picture

I believe AJ Hawk was a 3 star.

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Bucksfan's picture

The reason Posey has been so absent is because of the lack of a good 3rd wide-out.  Teams have been able to double him up because of Stoneburner's injury, T-Wash being T-Wash, and the lack of anyone else to fill the spot.  Brown looked good on Saturday, we'll see it it opens things up for #8.

It's been a 2-game season, and we're 1-1.  The schedule is incredibly underwhelming, and it felt more like a chore to get up and watch Ohio State take the field with the likes of Eastern Mich, Ohio, Indiana, and Purdue.  This team didn't show up in Madison, and the Iowa game isn't going to mean as much as it might have.  I'm not a big fan of this 2010 season, and it feels more like biding time until the exhibition against Michigan and the new 2011 divisional format.

iball's picture

Lack of a 3rd receiver isn't an excuse for the dropsies.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

RedQueenRace's picture

Or poorly run routes.

KCAlum's picture

I thought it was just me, but for a so far one loss season, this year has been deviod of excitement, other than the Miami game. 

BigRedBuckeye's picture

You don't think long TD passes and trick half-back throws from a RB to a QB for a TD are exciting?

I think the season has been plenty exciting. It has lacked intrigue, however, which is a slightly different fish.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

BigRedBuckeye's picture

While I am angrier with Devier, I may actually be able to live with it because the receiving corp, as a unit, imo, HAS been up to snuff. In other words, Sanzenbacher's production has, in my mind, made up for BOTH the lack of a 3rd receiver (since Stoneburner's injury) AND Devier's horridly lackluster year. 

With Cam, on the other hand, we have not seen another D-line player really pick up slack the way Sanze has done for the receiving corp. I am not as angry at Cam, because unlike Posey, I see the effort down after down. I just don't see the results. It may very well be that Cam is just not as dominant or gifted as we thought he was when he had the benefit of lining up with Thaddeus Maximus on the line too. So while I am less angry with him, bc you cannot deny his heart and effort, I lament the performance of Cam as it relates to the whole unit and the effect that has had on the team to a greater extent.

There may be double silver linings here; if Cam slips in the draft and therefore carries lower expectations to the next level (i.e., becomes the anti-Gholston), he may have a better chance for long term success and also may surprise people when he winds up as a good career NFLer. If Devier continues his poor play and slips to the later rounds, AND IF Terrelle comes back (which looks much more realistic now than it did at the beginning of the year), I think there is a better chance Devier comes back too. Presuming he improves next year (rather than regressing, like this year), who wouldn't want a WR core of Posey, Brown, and (God willing!!!) Duron on the field with TP and our stable of backs? DO WANT.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I think DeVier comes back now. He would be a 3rd or 4th rounder.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama