2013: The WR Rotation

otrain2416's picture
May 19, 2013 at 2:52p

I know its been dead lately around here so I wanted to find something new to discuss to make the 3 months 11 days and 21 hours go by faster til kickoff. I found myself replying to some ones thread about Dontre Wilson and it got me thinking about our WR rotation next year with the starters and guys in the rotation. Last year it didn't seem like Meyer felt comfortable enough rotating a lot of guys at WR and even moved Stoneburner out there which I do believe hurt his draft stock a little. Although he did not catch a lot of passes out there Jake did a good job blocking for our run game. Anyways enough of last year on to this year.

As of now I see 2 WR who have earned a starting position that they have for the year unless they get hurt or mess up real bad: Corey Brown & Devin Smith. Meyer said Chris Fields earned a starting spot 1st game as well and I was happy to see him have a breakout spring game because he had shown us so many flashes in the past. I also seeing Hall getting the initial first look at the pivot roll over incoming guys like Wilson and Marshall early in the season. I'm hoping we'll have enough play maker talent that Meyer is comfortable with to rotate 6-8 guys to keep our offensive play makers fresh to stretch the defense. I hope eventually our offense is so deep with speed that we can have one burner after another rotating in and become an opposing teams DBs nightmare. This is definitely going to happen in the future but were not quite there yet. I think initially the 1st game the 4 guys we see mainly working with the starting Offense are C. Brown, D. Smith, Hall, Fields. I see guys like E. Spencer, C. Smith, M Thomas, Marshall, Wilson, Clark, maybe even Conley and Lee battling for second team looks. Unfortunately as much as I like the kid I think Epitropoulos is on the outside looking in, but hopefully he proves me wrong.

I wanna see Philly and Smith break more tackles and make more plays as they have another year under their belt. Hall needs to play well cuz he has some youngsters behind him hungry for playing time. I'm hoping Spencer and Thomas are more consistent this year earn more of Meyers trust to get consistent PT and make plays. Smith is a guy with some JuCo experience who is going to come in and push for a spot immediately in the rotation. Then there's the incoming freshman we've all been looking forward to. The first obstacle they have to overcome is getting the black stripe removed then I see these guys battling for kick returning and special teams spots initially. I truly believe most of these guys will need a year to learn the offense. It seemed like it took our veterans all of 2012 spring and half of the season before it finally clicked for them. However, I do see them getting a handful of touches possibly when were up big and if one of them breaks off a big play I think we'll see them in the rotation more. So initially for next season heres how I see everyone sitting

Starters no questions asked: Corey Brown & Devin Smith

Potential Starters/ Frequent Rotators: C Fields, Hall, Spencer

Close but not there yet: C. Smith & M. Thomas

Young got some work to do but potential looks good: Marshall, Wilson, Clark, Conley, Lee

Outside looking in: Epitropoulos

I'm hoping guys in the 2 deep step up and start making plays consistently so we can be one of the deepest offenses in the nation. Go Bucks!

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southernstatesbuckeye's picture

If we are just talking wide receivers, then I'd agree with much of that, OTrain.  In my opinion, I think we'll see more of Michael Thomas...as I believe he was the one who went to California with Braxton Miller to visit the guru guy.  But yes, an embarrassment of riches in this department, though young and untested.  My guess is that in the non conference season, we will see a huge amount of in-and-outs by the young potential star freshmen.  I've seen this as part of Urban's style...he isn't against baptism by fire on the field.  He has the luxury of knowing he has tested and reliable pass catchers ready to go, so it makes sense to throw em in there to see if a fire is lit already
I personally would love to see nothing more than FRESHMEN at Ohio State tearing up the field.  That sends a message to all the Alabamas and USCs...there's a new Miller in town. And he brought his crew.
But quite possibly, this receiving corp is going to emerge as the deadliest in the country.  The talent is there, and the game readiness for most of them as well, so man, I am looking for some bona fida aerial acrobatics this year, not next! 
A LOT of the sports lysts (yes, the anal lysts in the media) decried our pitiful offensive line unit at the start of 2012, remember?  And then it became not just a strength, it was a rock.  Now these receivers are in the same position as those linemen were, and I promise you that people are in their ears...but with a quarterback who WANTS and NEEDS to work on that aspect of his game...boom it do go.  Boom it do go.
A combination like that spells complete and utter doom for opponents.  The Cal game and the Wisky game will be two early indicators, but I believe there will be no tentativeness, no six week adjustment to greatness...they will hit the ground running with an attitude of destiny.  That defensive line is gonna be absolutely fierce...and in fact, will very likely instill fear increasingly as the season progresses.  We will leave teams shell shocked. 
And as for me and my house...I want to see none other than Alabama in the title game.  They are the acknowledged kings right now.  I'm ok with knocking off LSU, Florida, or even USC...all those would be pleasant. 
But Bama is the gold standard right now.  Those gold bricks must be REPRINTED with the OSU logo moving forward.  And it isn't arrogance if it is a real possibility!
I think some Buckeye fans still don't realize what we have right here, right now.  This is sweet, people, sweet.
Rarely have we been treated to a situation like this year and the next few at least...that we have a formidable juggernaut of an offense...and a (see previous descriptors) of a defense.  This team is simply...well, nasty.  From ANY angle. 
I say hold on, here come the Buckeyes!

I like cookies.

cinserious's picture

Dammit Southernstaesbuckeye, I feel like running through a brick wall after your pep-talk but you had me dumbfounded with the whole [ ...boom it do go.  Boom it do go.]  WTF is that?!?!?!?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Cinserious, sorry man.  lol.  "Boom it do go" is my way of saying "this thing (the receivers, their effort, their output, etc.) is gonna blow up!!!  As in get national attention for "where the heck did all this production come from" sorta way.
You know...boom.  it do go boom.

I like cookies.

OSUs12-OH's picture

You make on fantastic and largely overlooked fact:

Point 1:  But Bama is the gold standard right now.  Those gold bricks must be REPRINTED with the OSU logo moving forward.  And it isn't arrogance if it is a real possibility!

Point 2:  I think some Buckeye fans still don't realize what we have right here, right now.  This is sweet, people, sweet.

I've been saying this since Wiscy of last year.  OSU's time to be on top is soon and what a great time it will be.  Kind of like this below;-)


"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

Hovenaut's picture

I think we see solid contributions from 6-7 guys at the WR and hybrid spots. There's a good mix of size, experience and speed that Urban/Herman have stocked up/inherited within two year's time to put this offense on the launch pad and ready to take off.

Couple the emergence of the passing game as a true threat with an established run attack, well buckle up, its going to be a helluva ride this fall.

buckguyfan1's picture

I see huuuuuuuge holes opening up for our RB's after we hit a couple of big strikes down field...  Mix in some play action..... Holy Buckeyes!!!

bigbadbuck's picture

all of this as long as we get the right tackle situation figured out

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

cinserious's picture

Nice post OTRAIN, these are some of the same questions I have:  'Where's the PT gonna come from for all this newfound talent at WR, playmaker, and ATH?  A nice problem to have for sure! I feel there won't be specific'starters/2nd team-ers but plenty of sets with varying numbers of WRs, RB's, Pivots, etc.
I can see a base 2013 offense employing:
POS.               STARTER                            BACKUP                                                                   
SE                   Devin Smith                        Corey Smith?
FL                   Philly Brown                        Spencer/Thomas?
Slot/Pivot         J. Hall                                 Wilson/Marshall
TE                   Heurman/Vannett                Baugh
RB                   Carlos Hyde                        stable..I mean Rod Smith, Dunn,Ball,Elliott...
QB                   Braxton Miller                     Kenny G.
And don't forget Jeff Green, the Georgia Tech transfer eligible in '14 to further logjam things!
The main thing is whether we have 2 wide, 3 wide, 4 wide, 5 wide, no TE, 2 TE, empty backfield, one back, two back, diamond formation, etc. Urban Meyer has built up enough speedy playmakers and atheletes to fully stock whatever position he needs and with depth. Its been done in record time and it will only get better. If one player doesn't pan out or gets injured, we will have a couple more to maintain the intensity. Pair and a spare baby!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

cinserious's picture

BTW at the O.P.: I appreciate the post and not trying to critique but you might want to edit and break it up into paragraphs to make it easier to read. If somebody has ADD, happens to be drunk, or up late at night reading it (or all of the above like me) it might be too overwhelming!
kay? Thaaaaanks!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

otrain2416's picture

Tried to fix it for you make it look a little nicer on the eye. Your above post brought up something interesting too where Corey Smith is going to fit? I could see FL or SE although you like your SE to be a little bigger and he's 5'11. If I remember right Thomas was the backup SE last year but he can also play in FL too. Also for your TEs I would have had the same depth chart until I saw the spring game cuz Blake Thomas looked solid he'll give Baugh a run for his money for the 3rd string spot

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Gametime's picture

POS.               STARTER                            BACKUP                                               
SE                   Chris Fields                        Devin Smith/Corey Smith/James Clark
FL                   Philly Brown                         Spencer/Thomas
Slot/Pivot         J. Hall                                 Wilson/Marshall/James Clark
TE                   Heurman/Vannett                Baugh
RB                   Carlos Hyde                        stable..I mean Rod Smith, Dunn,Ball,Elliott.
QB                   Braxton Miller                     Kenny G.
We keep forgetting about James Clark! This kid has Ted Ginn Jr. type speed in track and it clearly translates to football speed!
If we go empty or 5-Wide I fully expect him to beat the press and blow the hinges off the top of the defense giving our shifty playmakers underneath room to work and a legit deep threat who may hopefully be more consistent than Devin Smith has been recently. 

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

otrain2416's picture

I haven't forgot about James Clark I just think it will be hard for him to get a lot of PT this year and get in on the rotation with us basically returning all our WR plus adding a solid JuCo guy. I think he's gonna do big things for us in the future

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

cplunk's picture

Devin Smith has been very inconsistent. He alternates fantastic plays with drops. In your post you say he has earned a starting position for the year unless he gets hurt or messes up really badly- I don't think that's true at all.
i think he'll start opening day, but I think he is in real danger of losing his position and playing time IF one of the other guys begins to step up. 
I also think you are sorta missing the point of having so many receivers. Tressel, bless him, was the kind of coach who picked his starter and stuck with him through tick and thin.
Urban, bless him, is more in the Saban mold in that their theory is to accumulate maximum talent and initiate competition. Practice badly one week, and you may not even play, let alone start, that week. 
Ohio State is now a competitive atmosphere. You have to reclaim your spot every day because there are many, many people talented enough to take it from you.
I think Philly will do that, but Devin hasn't proven he has that consistency yet. He could get beaten out by Corey Smith, or Thomas, o Fields, or Marshall, in any given week. His place is definitely not cemented.

cplunk's picture

Thought of a better way to say what I was trying to say-
Bad teams can't lay out a firm depth chart, good teams lay out a firm depth chart for the season, great teams lay out a firm depth chart for the next game.

Goose's picture

I really think that Philly Brown is the only one that is a lock to start.  I loved D. Smith's flashes of brilliance last year, but also was dismayed at his lack of consistency.  It seemed like many of his drops came in critical situations.  I don't think that will be tolerated this year, regardless of his upside.
The big positive to me with our receiving corps is the competition that there's going to be in camp.  These guys aren't going to be able to relax one minute with the depth of riches we have and that will bring out the best in all of them.

Buckeye06's picture

Here is my 2 cents which prob don't matter haha
1.  Wilson and/or Marshall will likely be returning kicks like Ted Ginn/Flash Thomas were as true freshman.  They are fast enough to where you just tell them run and hold onto the ball that they can make plays and give your team a potentially short field more often
2.  Being the pivot guy in the offense is interesting here.  To me it's more a slot guy, so a guy like Hall will be perfect almost in a Welker type role.  However, when you add in the dimension of being able to break away, he may not have as many "wow" moments, but can absolutely get the extra yards.
3.  If we can truly get an H-back out of Heur/Vannett then that makes the WRs so much more dangerous.  You can't have the safety over the top if you're worried about the holes behind the linebackers.  
4.  The RBs/diamond/option game can help them as well, sucking up the LBers to where there are more holes as i mentioned above
It's going to be a fun year

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm optimistic about D. Smith stepping up his game this year. I was tempted to write that Philly and D. Smith will be so good this year that it will "open things up" for a talented, but hitherto unproven, collection of WRs/TEs/slotbacks to make big plays, especially on "underneath" routes, etc.
But this principle applies to the entire offense . . . if Braxton truly is able to made big strides in understanding timing of routes, etc., while also excelling at "chaos mechanics" in such a way that he becomes lethal both running and scrambling, he will be an absolute nightmare for defenses . . . which in turn will make the receivers that much harder to keep track of.
Likewise, if Hyde and Smith become as dominant as I expect them to - including out of a nasty diamond formation at times - they'll open things up for the other frosh/soph playmakers as well as D. Smith and Philly, and so forth.
I just see this offense  - under the direction of Urbz/Herman - having too much diversity, talent, dynamism, creativity for most defenses to be able to contain, let alone stop. Consequently, players like D. Smith and Philly might never be confused with the likes of T. Glenn or D. Boston, and yet they'll be scoring TDs in bunches.     

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I also have a sneaky suspicion that Jordan Hall is absolutely ready to "go boom".  He has essentially been lost for the past two seasons, whether by suspension or injury.  He is acknowledged as a pretty good producer, but hasn't had a full season in quite a while, hence he is off the radar of most people who look to newer, younger talent.
Remember, the longer a player sticks around, the more the game slows down if he is progressing at all.  And he was progressing...last year's numbers show that.  But Hall is now at the end of his eligibility.  It is either right now, this year, or he better study extra hard for that non football profession.  And I think his attitude is to try to make NFL quality noise. 
I have to think that he is so hungry that each and every opportunity with the ball in his hands is going to be one hundred percent focus and effort.
Like all of us say...we have an embarrassment of riches right now. 
Let's enjoy it.
I'm so pumped about this season, I can't take this long summer coming up.  I think I'll jump into my cryogenic container and dial up August.  See ya there!

I like cookies.

Buckeye80's picture

I have to believe Michael Thomas is ready to contribute big time.  He is big and fast.  I know all about last years spring game, but this year he really impressed me.  We need somebody to go up and get those 50/50 balls, and he can go up and take them. 

gobucks96's picture

The best part about this is the amount of options available for the receivers and backs. The will drive the starters to work and produce to keep their spots..

VickVega24's picture

Frank "the tank" Epitropoulus will be punting for the Bucks....so I would not even put him on the list.

Sometimes you just got say WTF!