This Is Reloading?

By Jason Priestas on September 19, 2007 at 7:00 am
Silky SmoothRobo: Silky Smooth

Heading into the 2007 season, there were many questions about how the young Buckeye offense would respond after losing Troy Smith and two receivers taken in the 1st round of the NFL draft. While Todd Boeckman isn't putting up Troy numbers (yet), Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline have more than eased any doubts about the receiving corps.

Robiskie has quietly (at least in terms of national exposure) already put up 17 catches for 342 yards and 2 touchdowns -- a healthy average of 20.1 yards per catch. His average of 114.0 yards per game, good for 11th in the nation, extrapolated out over the 12 game season is 1,368 yards, good enough for 3rd all-time in Buckeye history. Only David Boston's 1,435 yards in 1998 and Terry Glenn's 1,411 yards in 1995 rank higher. (A bowl appearance would put him at the top with 1,482.)

In fact, should Robo break 1,000 he'll be the first Buckeye receiver to do so since Jenkins cracked the mark in 2002. It may be unrealistic to think that Robo will continue to put up these numbers going forward. After all, he'll be going against Big Ten secondaries from here on out. Then again, we've already seen some of these Big Ten secondaries and they may be just as bad as what the Bucks have faced. And while folks want to talk about Saine and Small's speed, Robiskie showed a little of his afterburners on the bomb against the Huskies.

Robo is blowing up, but he's not the only bright spot. Brian Hartline is quickly making a name for himself as the new Gonzo. At his current pace, he's projected to go for 600+ on the season. To put that into perspective, Gonzo ended last season with 734 receiving yards. The emergence of Hartline as a possession guy and someone that Boeckman looks to other than Robo is a big key to setting up everything else in the offense.

It's definitely early, but these guys are putting up numbers in a handcuffed offense. Last season the team was in 4 wide receiver sets for about 25% of their plays and have yet to even feature that formation this season. The Vest has been digging the 2 tight end set with Jake Ballard in as the 2nd tight end, but he conceded he'd like to open it up a little more at his presser yesterday:

"You do what your personnel dictates. I like having Ballard in the game some, so I like the two tight ends, although I love being in three wides."

Even Boeckman has had his moments. Through his first three career starts, he has two games of 200 yards or more of passing. That's the same number of 200 yard games Craig Krenzel had all season in 2002. Imagine what these guys will do next season (IF Robo comes back).

Small update on the BlogPoll: our week 3 ballot remains unchanged since we published the initial draft on Monday. Either you all really like our selections, or the picture of Archie's fro has you hypnotized. We're not sure.

At any rate, one of the cooler aspects of the BlogPoll is the data visualizations Brian built into it. The view of voter distribution for OSU this week is kind of cool, not only because the little squares project a giant middle finger back to the football collective, but because you can quickly see who is insane by clicking one of the squares in the middle teen range.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten universe, Mike Hart is keeping his mouth shut ahead of the Wolverine's matchup with Penn State.