Sammy Watkins is the Real Deal

By DJ Byrnes on December 21, 2013 at 3:05a

With respect to Allen Robinson, Clemson's Sammy Watkins is likely the most talented wide receiver Ohio State has faced all year. In 2013, anybody consistently playing sports in front of a camera can be the subject of a dazzling highlight reel... but it doesn't take an NFL scout to realize the talent oozing from this tape.

The kid simply has all the tools. Watkins is as explosive an athlete as he is fluid; he's capable of scoring whenever/wherever he touches the ball. 

Bradley Roby has visions of playing on Sundays next year, so this probably won't be the last time Ohio State's veteran cornerback crosses paths with him on the gridiron. It will undoubtedly be as key a matchup in deciding the outcome of the 2014 Orange Bowl as it will have NFL scouts sitting on the edge of their seats.

It's crazy to realize each prospect could have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars riding on the outcome.


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osu07asu10's picture

This is Roby's "Litmus test" for the NFL. I have no problem saying this is the key match up in the Orange Bowl. If Watkins abuses Roby it wouldn't matter if Bauserman was throwing to him, Boyd is talented enough to expose anything less than shutdown coverage.
We need help on Watkins all game long, or put our faith in Roby to get it done. Also, pressure from the D-line without sending 6 guys is key.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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rdubs's picture

I just hope that enough OSU fans realize that our defense rarely allows for a 1 on 1 match up between corner and receiver.  So it is highly unlikely that it will be Roby's fault every time Sammy catches a pass.

osu07asu10's picture

our defense rarely allows for a 1 on 1 match up between corner and receiver.  So it is highly unlikely that it will be Roby's fault every time Sammy catches a pass.

I would beg to differ. Roby generally draws the assignment of the #1 on an island while the rest of the secondary deals with the rest. For example, Jared Abbrederis abused Roby 1v1 in the Wisconsin game:

Joel Stave and Jared Abbrederis kept the Badgers (3-2, 1-1) in it. Stave threw for 295 yards and two TDs. Abbrederis caught 10 passes for a career-best 207 yards and a score, winning most of his one-on-one matchups with star cornerback Bradley Roby.

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Crimson's picture

You picked the only example that proves your story.  Other than against Wisconsin, Roby was the boundary corner, not the #1 WR corner.

osu07asu10's picture

I picked an example that proves my point, not THE only one.
You're absolutely right that generally Roby, and the corners in general are not in man coverage, but the soft zone.
This game though, I would almost bet that Roby draws Watkins all game long.

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Crimson's picture

I picked an example that proves my point, not THE only one.

What am I missing?  I don't remember Roby playing much other than boundary corner against teams other than Wisconsin.

osu07asu10's picture

No other team had a WR that demanded Roby follow him. Watkins is that kind of receiver. I would bet Roby is going to be going against primarily Watkins the entire game.

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AllDay028's picture

Robinson and Gallon beg to differ

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Didn't most of Robinson's yards come during garbage time?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

FROMTHE18's picture

this guy scares the crap out of me with our lack of ability to defend the pass or tackle

Hovenaut's picture

All I know is that Watkins CANNOT BE ALLOWED to catch the ball in space and/or on the run. 
Please ditch the soft coverage on this kid, jam the hell out of him all day. 

teddyballgame's picture

Seriously.  Remove Roby's "additional responsibilities" like he was given vs Wisconsin and let him go 1on1 with this guy.  You just can't let them use their best weapon to beat you.
I think the staff is going to let him do his thing anyway.  On this big of a stage they're not going to let Roby look bad like he did vs Wisconsin.  If other guys can't step up then that's on them.

TMac's picture

He's going to have some catches, just keep the yards limited and tackle him hard (fair but let him know!)

ONE Not Done!

Colby3333's picture

He is soft though just like Boyd.  Knock him around and he gets rattled.  

Osu2105's picture

Very talented receiver I see a lot of Julio Jones in him. But like Colby said their entire team is a bit soft. The 2 times they were tested by teams with comparable talent(FSU and SC) they got hit in the mouth and didn't respond

bull1214's picture

double him and blitz boyd. if it works we win. that has to be the gameplan. should be a good game and good matchup. i predict a thriller.

cdub4's picture

I dont think OSU would double him. Not sure with whom. That just exposes the rest of the back 7 more , and if you blitz , even more. Their best bet is playing Roby up on him and maybe follow him around field and boundary side IMO.

bull1214's picture

the reason i say double him is i cant name any other clemson receiver off the top of my head and i doubt most people can. so u take him outa the game. blitzing boyd is widely seen as the way to play him. he'll pick u apart with time.

BuckeyeChris's picture

Is the loss of Christian Bryant being under-appreciated when discussing the lacking defensive backfield?  Was that the turning point for that unit?  Just a thought.

Crimson's picture

Bryant was the better safety in coverage.  He was also about the only leader on defense.  I knew when he went down that we were in huge trouble.  Everyone had a heart attach the minute Pitt Brown was announced as the new starter.
We really need a leader at LB and S to call out plays and get our guys lined up right, along with everything else we need from them.

Osu2105's picture

I think you hit the nail on the head. You don't lose a 3 year starting captain in your secondary and not take step back

cdub4's picture

Not really. Ohio State in general should not be this lacking. Some of the biggest mistakes have been at corner. Maybe Bryant helped everyone get on the same page in the defensive back field, but Brown and Barnett are 5th year seniors also I believe, I can't blame it all on the loss of Bryant.

BamaBuckeye144's picture

If this kid has a huge day, it will come at the hands of our defensive coordinators, who will make sure to give him a nice cushion and plenty of open spaces to catch the ball in. We just don't do man-to-man. Roby's job usually is to run down the receiver from behind and tackle him after he makes a catch. :(
I hope I am wrong. Trust me.


Crimson's picture

Roby also has a large number of pass break-ups.  I know people have been harping on Roby and Grant lately, but the larger issue is the safeties.  This is a larger point replying to a few people.  We want to run coverages that use safeties (and linebackers) in coverage, and Bryant could do that.  However, Barnett is better with run support, and Brown isn't good at . . .  We should probably play more man with the corners, but we want to run something like cover 4, see Ross's identity articles.

popeurban's picture

Watkins reminds me more of Ginn than any other receiver I have seen in memory.  The straight line speed he has is so reminiscent. 

PittBuckeye's picture

Both fast guys for sure, but Straight line speed Ginn's on another level. Running style also so different.

SPreston2001's picture

Yeah I still to this day havent seen anybody run like Teddy. Ginn had straight line speed that couldnt be matched!!

BuckToAsT's picture

Let Roby prove his worth and keep constant pressure on Boyd.  While I agree that we need a great defensive game plan, we will only win this game with a great offensive game plan.  They WILL gain yards; they WILL score points.  The best thing we can do is keep the ball away from Boyd and dominate time of possession.  To do that, we need good short-yardage pass calls and a lot of Carlos Hyde.  If they show any inability of stopping the Hyde-Brax train, then DO NOT deviate from it.  

btalbert25's picture

I think it's likely Watkins is the best receiver ANYONE who has played him will have faced all year. 

AJW_16's picture

Watkins will get his catches in this one - Roby just needs to keep him out of the endzone, which I think is possible. Clemson has a potent passing game outside of Watkins, and that is what I'm concerned about. Could be a long day for the secondary again.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

I want to be polite as possible, but we better not leave Roby alone with him. I've seen him all year and there just is no way I see that being a favorable matchup for us.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

btalbert25's picture

If Gardner and Michigan's guys torched this D, and whoever MSU marched out there torched this D.  Boyd and Watkins are going to light it up like a Christmas tree.  Just hope the offense gets more possessions that theirs, this one will have a basketball score. 

Joeyfbank's picture

I would not be suprised if he has 200 yards receiving 


Poison nuts's picture

Sammy Watkins is f'ing fast. Roby may be the only guy on the field with the speed to catch him, but if he gets it in the open field - he's gone. OSU needs to score first & often in this game.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

fanfarris's picture

This game worries me. Aside from the Good QB they have and their recievers,and our poor Defense.its the Buckeyes mind set.How are they going to handle loosing in the Big championship game and not playing for the NC game.Can they put all that behind them ?Clemson will be playing as if this is their best game to prove that they belong in the top 10.Its up to Meyer to motivate our guys and have them play their best game of the season and forget our last two games..


4thandinches's picture

See we are thinking about this all wrong. We need to use some reverse psychology. Let's not cover him at all. Leave him wide open and he won't catch anything!

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

BenedictineBuck's picture

Roby did have an off year but when he WANTS to, he can be the best corner in the country. Problem is he turns it on and off too much. Im pulling extra hard for #1, it being his last game and all. He had his bad moments but how many sure TD's did he prevent by running full speed across the whole field and catching a guy from behind? If he can give that effort all the time, he will be a perennial pro bowler!!

Because we couldn't go for three!!!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Roby admitted he checked out some this year thinking about what might have been and what's ahead.  This would be a good game to atone for that and leave on a good note.  Of course, as the 11W staff pointed out, there is also a financial incentive for him to play at a high level.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes