Con Air: Ohio State's Wide Receivers Desperately Need a Difference Maker

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stantmann's picture

"How to be a complete wide receiver" - Good stuff right there. Okudah and Victor are going to be among the best in the nation in the coming years. Both need a little bulk right now though. Glad we have Mickey...

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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Cincybuckeye's picture

Predicting that Okudah becomes a WR? Interesting.

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stantmann's picture

Thanks CincyBuckeye. I never would have revisted this, and noticed the error. Fixed it: Okudah Grimes

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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Squirrel Master's picture

UH..nvm

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

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celtic020's picture

Okudah a WR?  Kid is a freak at DB.  He has legit chance to play as a Freshmen and worst case, starts 2 years at CB and gets drafted in the first round.  But I'm not seeing the WR thing. 

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celtic020's picture

Saw the correction.  Gonna have to revoke my #wellactually.  Here's to Grimes and Victor balling out.  

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ScarletGray43157's picture

Anyone in any job should be evaluated on their merits and accomplishments.  Anything else weakens the organization that they are part of. This applies to coaches, players, and anyone in any job anywhere. Is this how it is in the real world?  Not always. In the most successful organizations it is this way, though. 

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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CC's picture

I'm with you but I don't think it's cut and dry.  First we start by discounting Samuel, that's fine but at a minimum he took attempts from other receivers.  Second if the O-Line was not so porous maybe they would have done better with more time.

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ScarletGray43157's picture

This applies to any position in football as well as any other part of life, so specifically the O-line needs improvement and no one who has any awareness of what is effective O-line play would disagree with that.  

As far as taking attempts away from other receivers for Samuel, it is simple...you have to find and hit the open man, and in order to do that everyone has to be doing their job, and that includes getting open.  

Like I said, it doesn't always work that way in real life, but the most effective organizations will have the hallmark of true competition and rewarding top performers and enjoying success as a team. 

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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JLBNYC's picture

Another good one Ramzy! 

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BUCKfutter's picture

campbell didn't predominantly play WR in high school. run TMC wasn't a highly coveted recruit, and james clark had a catastrophic injury of his own. i've also grown skeptical of smith's coaching ability, but let's see what he does with an offense that doesn't run four receivers into the same quadrant of the field constantly and with highly talented guys like mack, victor, hill, grimes, etc. if the talented WRs we now have struggle in wilson's system, we'll know for sure where the problem lies.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

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bucks15's picture

 But Thomas is also significantly better than Jehu Chesson, Jordan Westercamp, Aaron Burbridge and Alex Erickson

My issue with your comment is opposing teams are doing a lot more with a lot less.  We have guys on the roster with significantly more athletic talent than the guys listed above.  We have never had a receiver that demonstrated elite technique under Smith's tenure outside of Michael Thomas, and coincidentally he has some famous uncle that is hardly mentioned on here.  Talent isn't the issue.  

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3rdtimesacharm's picture

Agree with everything you said. Im just hoping against hope that the same discussion isnt being had in january 2018.

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Recovering_Buckeye's picture

The article didn't make it clear enough for me....is Zone6 a touchy subject?

Great Article!

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

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Tyvis'sGrandpa's picture

Finally someone is calling out Zach Smith for the lack of production at WR. Thank you Ramzy

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SilverState's picture

BUT HE CAN RECRUIT! DO YOU REALIZE ALL THE GUYS HE'S RECRUITED!!111

/s

Lol. Finally, indeed.

"There's still some green showing before you see the chalk."

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theopulas's picture

Right... I hope they give him a raise and hire another coach great wr coach.

Theopulas

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Buckeyeclassof18's picture

Hopefully the NCAA allows that 10th coach and this^^ actually happens. Hire a WR coach to actually coach those guys up and "Promote" Smith to Assistant Coach/Head Recruiter.

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3rdtimesacharm's picture

I dont follow who recruits who and am not sure if position coaches recruit their positions or regions of the country. But does it matter that he's the #1 recruiter if the 4 and 5 star WRs he brings in develop at the same pace as 2 star MAC recievers?

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SilverState's picture

Apparently it does matter for those who have floated the "but he can recruit" argument. I never could understand it.

"There's still some green showing before you see the chalk."

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Tyvis'sGrandpa's picture

So GD true. Thank you for some sense

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stxbuck's picture

For all the "He's the 24/7 #1 recruiter!!!" types, just ask yourself what is more important in recruiting-a reputation as a genius twitter jockey or having the #1 brand in the nation behind you? I really, really doubt Smith would have the #1 recruiter in the nation title if he got a job at UVa or Vandy or Washington State. The starhanderouter types are blowing smoke in suckers eyes to give themselves a pretense of relevancy.

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shawn kemps kids's picture

Weird that he isn't the # 1 recruiter every year since the only reason he's #1 is because he's at OSU.

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Bukirob's picture

You are taking away credit from Smith's recruiting ability?

Using YOUR logic, Johnson should be the #1 DL recruiter but he isnt.  Alford should be the #1 RB recruiter but he isnt, Studwara should be the #1 OL recruiting and he isnt...... So your theory doesnt really hold much water. 

You WIN with people.

 

 

WW Hayes

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BuckeyeinGA's picture

But, but- Johnson, Alford and Stud aren't #1 at twitter...

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stxbuck's picture

WTF? Alford, Studrawa, and Johnson all consistently bring in some of the best talent in the nation every year-what their 'recruiter ranking" is, is completely irrelevant-or do you really think some starhanderouter dweeb saying DE A is the #4 DE in the country and DE B is #7 means a damn thing on 3rd and 7 w/ the playoffs on the line? 

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Tyvis'sGrandpa's picture

Seeing at least one person upvote this helps my sanity. I needed someone else to see that we're better off with a good position coach because getting recruits isn't nearly as important as coaching those recruits up

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brutus0717's picture

Touchy? Yes, but I think this might be Smith's final year to prove himself. Maybe he got too much credit for 2014, and maybe he's taking too much blame for the last 2 years. The receivers certainly weren't the only problem last year. Time will tell.

"We gotta go win this next game and make the State of Ohio proud!"-UFM

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jamesrbrown322's picture

The receivers certainly weren't the only problem last year.

Indeed. Let's call a spade a spade - with all of the talent that has been recruited on both sides of the ball, the offense was a borderline trainwreck. Yes I know, about the scoring and production overall, but those stats were padded significantly in games against some bad opponents. Meanwhile, the offense looked awful against every team with a pulse.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Defiance's picture

the offense was a borderline trainwreck

"Defiance in Silence" 

Shhhh

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kmp10's picture

Yes, but I think this might be Smith's final year to prove himself.

I would think so too... but, at least publicly, replacing Smith was never even a consideration. Now, for those members of the community who believe any stated opinion contrary to Urban Meyer's means the one opining thinks he knows more than Meyer, let me clearly say that I do NOT think I know more than Urban. However, that Smith was seemingly untouchable during the staff purge was odd, imo. He's a good recruiter, yes (so was Tim Beck), but how he develops that talent, or doesn't develop it, is the pressing question. 

When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's 

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huffdaddy's picture

2017 is put up or shut up time. Was the WR production down because of our terrible OC and playcalling? Or because our WRs are not being taught how to get open? We will know this time next year. 

"I don't think you necessarily have to get a trophy to be a winner." - Nick Saban 1/2/15.

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dwcbuckeye's picture

If they played the position before in HS, how hard is it to actually create some separation?  Serious question.  Smith is not training them to be brain surgeons.  I doubt it all that difficult to do if you can actually do it

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cdub4's picture

Very hard. How many Big Ten caliber corners are these kids facing in high school?

It's not hard to create separation when you run a 4.45 and the guy covering you runs a 4.75 and may be a high school junior age 16

It's harder to create separation when you run a 4.45 and the guy covering you runs a 4.45 and is a college junior. If adjusting to college
wasn't that hard, you would see true freshman start all the time, and there would be no adjustment period. There would be no focus on route running, shoulder fakes, head fakes, high pointing, getting off press coverage, strength and speed training.

Learning how to get open is what makes the Antonio Brown's and Jerry Rice's special. Neither of them physical freaks.

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cricejr's picture

I thought the same thing; you don't see many as many (if any) frosh starting WRs in college.  The position requires a great deal of athleticism AND skill and they are supposed to be learning that in college. 

I bleed scarlet...literally

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dwcbuckeye's picture

Thanks, all good points.  To me it seemed like Samuel looked very good as a WR this year.  Lots of catches.  But I am sure not much skill training or at least not nearly as much as the true WR.  So the fact that he excelled as did Christian Kirk as a freshmen leads me to speculate it is not as much teachable skill as athleticism.

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stxbuck's picture

Hunter Renfro is laughing at the starhanderouters.

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shawn kemps kids's picture

lmao, you don't like statistics, do you?

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Elks' comb over's picture

It's 2017 and #Zone6 is a touchy subject.

I don't know what they were touching but it wasn't one of these

“Megadeth >>> Metallica” - Alum 2019. I couldn’t agree more.

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BuckeyeJAK's picture

With the unproven talent in that room if  no less than three devlope we either need a new coach or better recruit evaluations

Mark May is a mental midget

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IGotAWoody's picture

I think maybe you meant "With the unproven talent in that room if  no less than three develop we either need a new coach or better recruit evaluations"?

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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jamesrbrown322's picture

Not trying to insult the upperclassmen who have given tons of effort, blood, sweat, and time to the program, but I'm most looking forward to seeing something great from Victor, Mack, Grimes, and Harris. I'm rooting for some of the elder statesmen in the room to make a huge impact because it would be great for them, and the team as a whole. However, the 4 younger guys have the potential to be difference makers.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Hovenaut's picture

The thoughts of the "Historic OSU" examples on the field at one time...

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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Buckeye Scottie's picture

That hair was almost as bad as his accent....but I watch that damn movie every other weekend it is on TBS or whatever!

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HotSauceCommittee's picture

I believe it is the 20 year anniversary of Con Air.

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obucksrule's picture

'Why couldn't you just put the bunny in the box'

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Earle's picture

Yeah, but when I think about WR production last year:

Axe leukemia!
#Poppystrong

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tbuckeyew's picture

Zone6 wasn't the Buckeye's problem last year.  Sorry, but it was the O line and play calling.....and that ship has sailed.  Do we blame Smith for JT's fall off in production?  How about the fall off in TE production?  Let's face it.  We have the nation's number one recruiter and are calling this a put up or shut up year for Smith?  He has been a top 5-10 recruiter for four years straight.  I'll call the offensive coordinator to task but by no stretch of the imagination am I going to blame the nations top recruiter and the person bringing in consistent four and five start talent for the lack of WR production.  I blame the offensive schemes.  Period.

Go Bucks!

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Byaaaahhh's picture

You have NO complaints about the WR play last year? 

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tbuckeyew's picture

Only when they dropped a ball.  Never blamed the WR core for horrible coaching.  See below.....
 

Go Bucks!

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IGotAWoody's picture

The WRs were inexperienced, but I don't think they were anywhere near as bad as many on here seem to think. Noah Brown was woefully underutilized, and we all saw how KJ Hill progressed.

I agree that play calling, and the formations used for those plays, were the main problem. We got away from a lot of what made us successful this past season, and it's puzzling that Meyer didn't see that and make adjustments.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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BeijingBucks's picture

not sure why we would just omit Curtis and Dontre from the receiver discussion. on key downs and most of JTs long pass plays production came from them, no? They knew how to adjust to coverage and find openings in the coverage and had good hands (unless it bounced off them for a pick or a punt fumble... but I digress).

Both of them had experience. We have never had a receiver in my memory come in and do squat their first or even I dare say second years that I can recall. The fact Zone6 doesn't have JTs confidence is obvious. the poor play calling was obvious to the whole Buckeye nation (and opposing DCs) and the OLe production was underwhelming giving little time to find openings.

I for one will give a pass for this year but I admit not much more

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Tidus Powell's picture

"Do we blame Smith for JT's fall off in production"

Literally, yes. And other factors. But the fact that Barrett looked like a movie actor trying to impersonate a QB, just stepping back, looking in one direction, then another, then another, then not throwing it, then getting sacked, is on his footwork as much as it's on the receivers. You can scarcely call this group's performance 'surehanded,' and no scout dot com stars can erase that game film.

You don't get shutout with the defense's performances, with the field position they were giving the offense, unless every single facet of the offense is failing.

Every single facet of the offense failed. The playcalling failed. The execution of the flawed calls failed. The receivers were no exception.

Recognition of flaws doesn't preclude an overall positive evaluation. But don't cherrypick a singular positive facet to say 'and therefore there can be no negative facets.'

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tbuckeyew's picture

How quickly you forgot about Noah Brown's Oklahoma performance.....when JT had protection.....remember?  I don't claim to be a know it all, but have coached Ohio football and know my way around a playbook.  I have watched NFL talent (literally one kid play for nine years in the NFL) be so underdeveloped by an inept staff that they were clueless how he ended up with a small school D1 scholly.  You see, you are correct that every facet failed.  But to scheme against bland play calling is SIMPLE.

Our play calling was inept, our team was extremely young, our offensive line was outmanned and underdeveloped, and our production was a failed product. 

Funny how no one bitched when Zone6 had Tressel recruits and Tommy Herman calling plays.  Smith was a genius and a genius recruiter at that point.

Hmmmmm........

Go Bucks!

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stxbuck's picture

It isn't like our fanbase isn't known for making wild leaps of conjecture-both good and bad-based on couple of games or one single season......

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chirobuck's picture

There were several factors at play for the problems of the offense but your kidding yourself if you think the lack of development of the WRs wasn't one of them, it would be stupid to point any single problem and say it wasn't that because of these other things......no, it was all of them and they all need addressed 

 

^ best post ever ^

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BayArea_Buckeye's picture

I think this had a lot to do with the offense playcalling and JT. 

There were handful of times where our WR would break away for a deep gain, but JT would either overthrow them by a mile, or throw it short, or just out of bounds. WR production is all about playcalling and your QB. With that said, there were some throws that the WR also just dropped. 

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shawn kemps kids's picture

I scrolled entirely too far to see this. Is some of it on the playcalling? Yup. Is some of it on pass pro? Yup. Is some of it on the WRs? Yup. But some of it is on JT being an average (and that's being generous) passer.

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JCam061588's picture

I find it ridiculous that we ignore the clear growth of the WR core over Smith's first 3 years because of the regresssion suffered by all cores the last 2. Didn't we learn from anything from the "fire Fick" catastrophe in 12/13? 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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BrownBuckeye's picture

Zone 6 The Resurrection coming to a theater near you...

Lead, follow, or get out of my way!

 

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fishleehooker's picture

So its good to be Keyshawn's family but not Earle Bruce's?  It's the receiver coach's fault we don't pass and prefer to control the game?  Interestingly enough Michael Thomas, as great as he is, won more in a running offense, than a passing offense. Weird. 

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Squirrel Master's picture

See I don't think you can discount Samuel. Yes he wasn't actually a receiver and probably didn't spend a whole lot of time with Zach, so his production and development might not give Zach the credit, but the way Samuel was used did take away from potential production of the receiving core. 74 catches is significant. The way Urban likes to use a good HB, it should be considered as a factor in the production of the passing game and WR core. Plus Michael Thomas was a much better weapon than Brax and Marshall in the passing game, but I think Samuel was a better weapon than Brown and others. Maybe if Samuel was the player he is in 2014, Thomas wouldn't have had the same breakout year.

I would like to take the article as a point I've been wanting to make (2016 stats):

bad OSU passing offense = 255 completions, 74 to leading receiver, 2781 yards total

typical Nebraska passing offense = 201 completions, 38 to leading receiver, 2752 yards total

UM passing offense in comeback year = 228 completions, 57 to leading receiver, 2756 yards total

I find it funny that OSU had a bad year as a passing offense and one that had Lindsey saying "I don't want to be a gadget player and in the mix of a bunch of players" (basically). Yet as bad as JT and Co. were, still better than conference foes. Yes the talent at OSU is superior to Nebraska, but not really by that much that they should be held to a standard where better stats across the board don't matter. I also find it funny that Lindsey wouldn't want to be a Curtis Samuel when the comparison would be an Amara Darboh (57 catches) and Westercamp (38). correct me if I'm wrong, won't Samuel be drafted very highly compared to at least Westercamp?

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

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fishleehooker's picture

Some great points. To add a though of mine: I actually think Curtis spent quite a bit of time in the Zone 6 room, likely more than he did with Alford. So Zach deserves some credit for getting Curtis to become so versatile.  

I also don't think Lindsay would have become a Curtis.  Maybe a good H, but not the between tackles runner that Curtis was. We should have used Curtis that way more IMO.

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OSU1978's picture

Season stats are misleading as they include pushovers like Bowling Green.  It doesn't help nor prove anything to pile on BG.  More illuminating is to look at how many bad passing games OSU had in 2016 as those are the games that can put OSU in jeopardy of losing.  By my count OSU had 5 good passing games out of 13, not nearly enough.

Go Bucks!

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Squirrel Master's picture

this would assume that Nebraska and UM's stats aren't also inflated with pushovers. If memory serves me correctly, UM had a lot of pushovers this year and most at home in a friendly environment.

So yes OSU didn't play well vs good teams as opposed to cupcakes, but I didn't see Nebraska light up a good team either! and they had a year that is on average what they have done over the past 5 years, this was a bad OSU passing offense!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

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OSU1978's picture

Squirrel, season stats are misleading for OSU and they very well may be misleading for Nebr and UM as well.  Not a good metric to use IMO, though it is a convenient and too often used metric.  For example, people kept touting JTs excellent TD to INT ratio all season long this yr which always had me laughing as a misleading stat.  I was vindicated over the last 3 games when JT threw 1 TD and had 3 INTs.  For the season JT had 24 TDs to 7 INTs which is still impressive. but if you break it down, JT had 20 TDs and 2 INT in 5 games and 4 TDs and 5 INTs in the other 8 games.  So while the season stat is impressive, 4 TDs and 5 INTs over the other 8 games is horrible.  OSU needs to develop a passing game that is consistent in most all games, not one that can pile up stats in lopsided 77-10 games, two 62-3 games and a 58-0 game.

Like I said, a better metric to evaluate OSU's passing game is took at how many bad passing games OSU had in 2016 as those are the games that can put OSU in jeopardy of losing.  Granted, it is a tough metric to compare vs other teams if that is the objective.  

I agree with you Squirrel that bad for OSU may be average for other teams.  OSU, particularly w/ Urb at the helm, has a high standard to live up to. 

Go Bucks!

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huffdaddy's picture

Agree. Our national ranking on offense looked pretty decent because of our beat-downs of less talented teams. 

But I don't think anyone would argue Warriner ran a good offense. 

"I don't think you necessarily have to get a trophy to be a winner." - Nick Saban 1/2/15.

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Squirrel Master's picture

that is where 1978 is missing my point, I said the OSU passing offense was bad. Yet they were still statistically better than Nebraska's and UM's who also have played a weaker schedule than OSU. So despite all of us knowing it was bad, they still were comparable or better than the conference best. even PSU had worse seasonal stats.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

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cdub4's picture

Your point is valid. The other way to look at though is Meyer and OSU strive to be among the best in America. OSU should have a lot better passing offense than Nebraska, PSU or Michigan because most people feel they have more talent and depth.

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Squirrel Master's picture

A lot better than pretty much the best of the conference? I do agree striving for excellence is Urban and our desire but even when we supposedly suck, we are still better!

and actually Urban strives to have balance, he wants 250 and 250. He knows he won't be one of the best passing offenses because of all the air raid offenses out there. Only Louisville, Baylor and Oklahoma were ranked top 25 in both rushing ypg and passing ypg. Most teams that are great at running don't compete with the teams that are great at passing, and vice versa.

the original point isn't that OSU should be given a pass for being barely better, it is that other teams saying that OSU passing attack is horrible and players will get lost and not get highlighted (as Tyjon apparently was told). I just find it laughable for Nebraska or UM to say our passing is bad when they are worse and haven't shown they will highlight a player anymore than OSU would.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

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fishleehooker's picture

There are a ton of injuries in zone6. Not Zach's fault. Dixon, Noah, Parris in 2015, etc.  

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BrutusB's picture

I kinda think they need to drop the nickname.  The team leader in TD receptions was a HB (Samuel).  A converted HB (Wilson) was third.  A TE (Baugh) was fourth.  Which means that four "pure" WRs caught 11 TD passes the entire year- 4 of those in an incredibly flukey Oklahoma game and 2 came against Bowling Green.  

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Hovenaut's picture

That's fair, and not even kidding.

The term "Silver Bullets" was dead to me from 2011-2014.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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Luckobucko's picture

I'll give you 2011 & 2013, but the defense was stout in 2012 and 2014.

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WezBuck28's picture

I was thinking the same thing..if I'm Urban I'm removing the name zone 6 and I'm going to tell then that they need to prove themselves worthy before referencing that name again..

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Clown Show Redux?

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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MercyTex's picture

Nash Ramblers?

Our people are everywhere, Esto Dignus.

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IslandBumBuckeye's picture

talking shit on Twitter doesn't disqualify anyone from having nuclear codes

But... but... politics!

Still funny af tho (pats self on head for layin down ZSmith-like lingo) 

"It's always scotch-thirty on my island."

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GulfCoastBuck's picture

If I post that in chat I'd get mod action super fast. 

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kjonesATX's picture

Good stuff, Ramzy. I'm not going to pretend to have answers like some fans do (especially on this site), so I'm going to simply trust what Urban Meyer is doing - he's earned that right. I doubt that his love for Earle Bruce would keep him from moving on from Zach Smith if he felt that he wasn't getting the job done, but as you mention, he's one of the best recruiters for the program. 

You know who was a WRs coach for 10 years as an assistant before becoming a head coach? That's right. Urban Meyer. Perhaps bringing in a guy like Wilson to run the show on offense will allow him to spend a little bit more time in the WR room than he has in the past 2 years.

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Kyson12's picture

I think it was more of the receivers not getting chances rather than lack of talent. They just didn't get thrown to this year. JT took a year off, or play calling was terrible. Throw it up instead of running the QB into the back of the linemans ankles.  

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OSU1978's picture

Maybe the best article I've read on 11W.  No biased "feel good" sugar coating, or misleading statistics, just plain hard illuminating information and poignant statistical facts.  For example, "Thomas caught seven balls in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, then proceeded to never top that total for the rest of his career."

Could have gone into the "touchy subject" part some - ie who is to blame - but everybody has their opinion, and the vast majority of opinions don't change even when presented with facts to the contrary.  A better passing QB could have made zone 6, Zach Smith and the play calling look better over the last two years though the complete blame is wide spread.

Go Bucks!

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fishleehooker's picture

Urban has repeatedly said and emphatically too: he doesn't sit around blaming. No reason for us to it either

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OSU1978's picture

That's a feel good statement by Urb, largely to stop players blaming each other which is reason enough and leads to a horrible locker room.  It is in fact Urb's job to find out where the fault lies and to correct it.  Fans can choose to do it too or not to do it.  It is a free country.

Go Bucks!

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IGotAWoody's picture

That's a feel good statement by Urb

That's not a feel good statement, that's a smarter, better way to operate. Be it on the football field, or in the board room, or anywhere else you find yourself in life.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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OSU1978's picture

I say it is a feel good statement because even though he is not blaming publicly, to fix a problem you have to find the cause of the problem which is essentially determining who or what is to blame.  A key for the coach is diagnosing the cause correctly and then addressing the issue appropriately.

Go Bucks!

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IGotAWoody's picture

You identify problems, but by all means do NOT dwell on assigning blame. Find the problem, fix the problem, move on. 

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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stxbuck's picture

No, he just boots people and is done-he doesn't have to sit around pondering the situation.

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steveinkc's picture

plenty of blame to go around!! The key is, will this get fixed this fall?  It starts with Meyer giving the offensive pass game a complete overhaul with Wilson in charge!!

steveinkc

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buckeye phi's picture

When we had Thomas in '15 - and defenses would load the box to stop Zeke - that pretty much automatically meant we could have isolated Thomas in a man coverage situation much of the time. 

There weren't many college corners who were gonna cover him man on man consistently - so one might have thought we would have gone to him regularly until defenses were forced to back off and provide help in coverage. 

That aspect of play-calling doesn't seem so complicated to me.  Of course, we would have needed to have faith in our QB and the o-line, as well -

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers

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Goalscorer9's picture

In the picture you use later in the article (against Clemson), the receiver got separation and then the ball was badly underthrown.

I am in the camp where I give the wide receivers a little slack this year, because I recall many times (read: several dozen) where the receiver was open and JT threw inaccurately.  More than a few of those opportunities would have been touchdowns.

Just funny that the picture used in the article "calling out" the wide receivers is a prime piece of evidence for the opposite case, in my opinion.

Thanks for the good read, as always, Ramzy.

(I might have gone for gonzo over philly in the route running category :) )

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NYWoodyFan's picture

Our standard isn't conference foes like Nebraska. It's Clemson. The expectations of this program simply weren't met, and given the recruiting, the expectations aren't unreasonable.

The worst beat-down of Urban's career was easy to see coming, and desipite the group think and public expressions of delusion, I think the majority of fans suspected it was coming. It has led to necessary changes, and we weren't ready this year regardless. I am almost thankful for the gift of being exposed and embarrassed. 

i don't know how to explain the head coach's denial or how he evaluated this clown show of a passing game last year. But running receivers straight down the field and having them stop is something anyone can coach them to do.  Being shut out by Clemson seems inevitable now, not surprising.

Meyer is an ex-receivers coach--what was he seeing? How to explain the failure to prepare in any smart way for Clemson? It's all inexplicable, and I wish someone with inside perspective could make some narrative sense of it.

Matt

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Tidus Powell's picture

31-0 is inevitable now, in January, because it happened in the past tense. It was not inevitable on December 30th. They probably would have lost regardless, given the condition of the passing game, but there was nothing astrologically ordained about a combined eleven handoffs to Samuel and Weber.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

I mentioned in previous posts that I thought Zach Smith needed to be on the hot seat for the upcoming 2017 season. I've not moved one iota from that opinion.

Be it previous stunted offensive scheme, bad OL pass blocking, JT's "weenie arm," or a perfect storm of all of the above, WRs have to come through. It didn't happen in '16.

With infusion of Wilson's offensive philosophy, all aspects of TOSU offense should fall into place. And this includes the vaunted "Zone Six."

And thanks, Ramzy, for going there on a touchy subject.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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NYWoodyFan's picture

I'd like Ramzy to go further. He's still witholding. 

There's a layer to that fine mind I know has more to say about it. 

Matt

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BKshepherd's picture

I watched the senior highlights of Shaun Wade the other day and if I didn't know any better, I was looking at Ginn or Gamble.  That dude is a playmaker and I hope we look his way if the WR room isn't producing.

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CincyBuck's picture

Agreed.  Dude's athleticism and ball skills are insane (which, I admit, I've said several times).  Guy needs to get involved -- somewhere...  anywhere -- sooner than later.

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JCam061588's picture

People are really blowing this out of proportion in regards to Smith. Several factors played into a lack of WR production the last 2 years, however with Smith's track record I think a lack of development is the least of them. First & foremost there is talent,  most of the guys that got the majority of the reps last season were not recruited as true WRs, they were athletes plugged into open spots & they are only going to reach a certain level of play. Second is injuries, injuries have derailed the majority of the starting receivers development. Brown, Clark, Dixon, Smith, Wilson, & even Hill all suffered injuries that forced them to miss extended periods of time. Marshall unexpectedly leaving for the NFL & Gibson being suspended certainly didn't help either. After that there is the notorious clusterfuck at OC that saw literally every offensive unit regress in production despite the fact that the offense was virtually full of NFL players. Pretending like Smith didn't develop Philly from a former RB who preferred to catch passes with his face mask to a legitimate go to receiver or Smith from the inconsistent flash in a pan, prone to dropping wide open TDs to the unparalleled deep threat he was in 14 is foolish. Meanwhile Marshall a converted QB became a consistent playmaker under Smith, Spencer became a phenomenal blocker & team leader, while Thomas developed from a Spring Game MVP more known for Twitter-finger hot takes into a bonafide NFL stud. Smith has done a phenomenal job with what he has had & is an ace recruiter, give the man some credit. 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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JJBuckeye's picture

I disagree. He is a great recruiter which doesn't make him a great coach or developer of the talent he has brought to Cbus. We were all excited to get Ben Victor and Austin Mack and how much they were going to produce in 2016 and now everyone thinks the same of Grimes and Harris. We are The Ohio State University and the production from the WR's the past two years, or since Devin Smith left, is not up to the standards that a CFB playoff team should have. Play calling, injuries, QB play are factors but the lack of production is still a major concern and that comes back on Smith. My personal opinion, which I'm entitled to, is that I wish Smith would use Twitter only for recruiting purposes, instead of taking personal shots at other coaches and teams, develop the talent that is in the WR room, and let their play and production on Saturdays do their talking for them. If he is such a good recruiter and coach why do we have so many players switching from the other side of the ball to become "projects" instead of developing true WR's?  This is a touchy situation and has definitely hit a nerve with this Buckeye fan who wants the excuses for Smith to stop and for production to start, and like it or not, with Wilson as our OC, Smith will be exposed in 2017 as a great recruiter and coach or just a great recruiter. I hope for former, but only time will tell. Go Bucks

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JCam061588's picture

You are welcome to disagree. With that said let's look at your opinion which you are entitled to.

"He is a great recruiter which doesn't make him a great coach or developer of the talent he has brought to Cbus"

Being a great recruiter does not make him a great coach, the multitude of players he has developed into NFL caliber wideouts do. The fact is 5 of Smith's WRs are currently on NFL rosters, 6 total have been in the NFL from OSU alone. Of those players, 3 were not wideouts coming out of HS, none were 5-stars with the exception of Braxton who was at a different position, & the most accomplished is a 3-star whose development was so stark that it prompted his NFL WR of an uncle to laud OSU on multiple occasions & played a factor into having his son take a serious look at OSU during his own recruitment.

"We are The Ohio State University and the production from the WR's the past two years, or since Devin Smith left, is not up to the standards that a CFB playoff team should have. "

Every unit on the offense notably regressed when TOM HERMAN left. That is not on Smith no matter how you slice it, furthermore who was it that developed Devin Smith again? 

"My personal opinion, which I'm entitled to, is that I wish Smith would use Twitter only for recruiting purposes, instead of taking personal shots at other coaches and teams, develop the talent that is in the WR room, and let their play and production on Saturdays do their talking for them"

Your personal opinion on how Smith uses Twitter does not change the fact that Smith has developed 5 NFL receivers & was the primary position coach for Samuel who will also enter the NFL. Those are numbers that cannot be argued.

" If he is such a good recruiter and coach why do we have so many players switching from the other side of the ball to become "projects" instead of developing true WR's" 

This argument is silly & holds no weight, the potential for EGW & White to play offense was noted during their recruitment. Having them switch to a WR room that just lost most of its experienced players is not indicative of any failings by Smith. You find ways to get talent on the field, especially when EGW & White probably will not see any playing time at DB with the players on the roster & the players coming in like Okudah & Wade.

Smith has already proven he is a great coach, impatient fans tend to have short memories. Kerry Combs was clearly a great coach in 12 & 13, but it certainly did no look like it did it? Smith has already proven himself, what more can he do than produce NFL caliber players & bring in 5-stars?

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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TobyMagic's picture

While true you should've held off on this until Grimes and Harris fax (lol) in their LOIs..

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"Thomas is a mismatch on any field, an enormous asset both literally and figuratively and hey, he had just two catches for 8 yards in the loss to Michigan State, which had the 76th-ranked passing defense in the FBS. Yeah yeah yeah, the wind that day. It's a still a touchy subject."

It's been the play calling the last two years, plain and simple. Thomas had the makings of a star in that 2012 spring game. I seen it then and wondered why he disappeared until 14'. McLaurin can be the same type of break out player if he's in the right scheme and the play calling is opened up. Matter of fact, I think he breaks out big time this fall. 

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

Zone 6 must produce.  I am hoping superior scheme on offense will help production increase.  Obviously, talent is there.  Step up Coach Smith.  Step up Zone 6.

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Buck68's picture

so many stars ... so no emergings

so many statistical separations ... so no physical separations

so many factors ... so many favorite tales

Now although Indiana's OC Wilson didn't beat us he did overperform twice, so ...

perhaps here he will approach that proverbial great coach definition:  "...can beat your kids with his kids... or his kids with your kids...."

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MercyTex's picture

Channel your inner Bum Phillips there 68 with that last quote.  Good on you!

Our people are everywhere, Esto Dignus.

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Buck68's picture

iirc MercyTex, Bum got it from Bear... and Bear got it from ???  And somewhere in the past, it came from 'anon'.   ;-{)}

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TPMBuck's picture

If the coaches vote to add a 10th coach in April, the situation at WR coach will reveal itself through Urban's hire. If they don't hire a new WR coach then that would indicate that Urban doesn't see WR coaching as the issue (or else that he has even more pressing problems elsewhere).

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yankeescum's picture

News Flash: Curtis Samuel is not going to the NFL as a running back!

Look at the litany of guys going into the league at the receiver positions over the last five years. The NFL isn't looking for the shittiest route runners with the worst hands, who are incapable of creating separation and extending them an invitation. Smith has an absolutely proven track record of wide receiver production. As good as any member of the coaching staff. We haven't seen this many players going into the league in twenty years. So yeah, fire him I guess.

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JJBuckeye's picture

I think the players going to the NFL are going because of their God given talent, and then the NFL coaches are developing that talent, not because of Smith's coaching. Go Bucks

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analyticalguy's picture

Thomas is the only one who made it to the NFL because he was he was an all-round accomplished receiver.  Braxton made it on potential (though in fairness to Smith, he was only a WR for a year, and for much of the time, they were trying to get him the ball every which way).Devin made it to the NFL because he was essentially very good at one thing - tracking and attacking the deep ball to make catches; neither before nor since leaving tOSU has he shown as much of being a complete receiver as his innate talent should have allowed. Marshall (barely) made it into the NFL, primarily based on his ability as a returner, and still has a way to go in his development as a receiver. Samuel will be drafted (as a potential slot receiver), and will make it, mostly on potential, but still only partially developed. Although without the innate talent of some of the others, Philly Brown left school as a reliable receiver and has continued to show it in the NFL; how much of this was Smith, and how much his prior coaching. I need to see what Smith can do with the unfinished products still under his tutelage before judging whetehr he is an effective coach (as opposed to just a great recruiter).

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JCam061588's picture

Being a complete WR has more to do with a player's natural skillset than development. Guys like Cole Beasley are never going to be the all around wideouts that guys like Julio, AB, & Dez are. 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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JCam061588's picture

All players go to the NFL primarily because of their talent, the fact remains that Devin Smith was developed into a completely different player by his senior year. Who developed him? Corey Brown was a drop waiting to happen until Urban & Smith took over, the list goes on. 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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Tyvis'sGrandpa's picture

So true, I think it's next year or never for Smith. 

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JCam061588's picture

Next year or never? He already has proven himself as a coach & reruiter. 5 of his wideouts are in the league right now & 5 total have been drafted, of those players none were 5* recruits at WR & 3 weren't even WRs in HS. Not to mention he is currently listed as the best recruiter in the country by the most prominent recruiting site. I don't think his performance is as unproven as you perceive it to be.

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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Tyvis'sGrandpa's picture

Imho - yes. I don't like Smith and I want to see an older coach with a better on-field coaching presence

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JCam061588's picture

Your personal preference does not discredit what he has done. 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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osuguy2008's picture

How does David Boston not make the list of historical examples of Ohio St receivers? 

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Earle's picture

Recency bias.

Axe leukemia!
#Poppystrong

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stxbuck's picture

B/c a lot of the posters on here were 5 years old when he was dominating. Honestly, he and Cris Carter are the 2 best WRs ever at tOSU,imo.

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yankeescum's picture

Anyone who thinks that QB play, some protection problems, going five wide into a blitz, and general offensive scheme were not more pressing issues than receiver play were not watching the same games I was. The buck stops with the head coach. Every single time we went into five wide on third down, I knew we were looking at a QB draw or a sack. The play calling was a joke. If the staff couldnt find a way to be successful with Cardale Jones in 2015, the purge should have happened then. I loved Warriner, as an offensive line coach, but I was confused as to why we wanted our offense to emulate Kansas. We watched the offense cost us a shot at two national championships. The receivers were just fine.

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nickel beer's picture

And in 2017 talking shit on Twitter doesn't disqualify anyone from coaching football players or having nuclear codes.

Clever.

==

Talent happens.  No gradation.  It's the way it's been at the position these past several years and 2017 will be better.

half machine

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CowCat's picture

It's hard to evaluate the WRs without considering the plays being called. Did they execute what was asked of them within the scheme of the play? Is our passing scheme imaginative enough? Sometimes it seemed pretty predictable, and that doesn't all fall on Zach Smith. I'm recalling the opposing defensive coordinator that said you could predict our plays from our formations.

One real issue to me was the 10 WR rotation in 2016. It keeps each WR from getting reps and developing a specific skill set. By contrast, in 2014 it was clear which WRs were starting and what they were doing. Devin Smith = streak upfield. Michael Thomas = possession receiver.

Hopefully the addition of Kevin Wilson will add new energy and ideas to the passing game and we can evaluate coach/player performance from there.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

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RedQueenRace's picture

And so the receiver discussion continues.  A few days ago I came across a post on another Buckeye site from the NW game by someone who was actually at the game and not passing judgment based on what they saw on TV.

http://scarletbuckeye.com/index.php?threads/game-8-6-ohio-state-24-north...

The post is by Bucknut502 with a tag of "JT's only fan."  Here is a condensed version (removed non-receiver stuff).

Couple of observatuons because sitting in the stands allowed me to see a lot more than I do on TV obviously.

I noticed that JT gives that pump fake far too much. He will have a receiver open but still try to freeze a Safety. By that time, the open receiver is no longer open, which forces him to throw it into the flat damn near every passing play. I dont know if this is a JT issue or a Beck issue but it really needs to stop on every single passing play.

JT must not trust James Clark to catch the ball because he is literary blowing past everyone on go routes. He has ridiculous speed!

Receivers are open.  Ball is not delivered on time.  Window of opportunity closes.  A point I have made in the past.

If the McLaurin picture from the Clemson game in this article was chosen to illustrate "lack of separation" it was not an optimal choice.  TMC was open but the ball was underthrown, allowing the DB to close (and interfere).  This happened right after the exact same thing happened the previous play with Binjamin Victor, except Victor was even more wide open.

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FROMTHE18's picture

Victor, Mack, and Hill need to be the starters...the other dudes that have been in the program longer have shown they can't play at the level required for this strata of college football. 

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McDiebler's picture

I think people should remember that Parris Campbell enrolled at OSU just before turning 17. He is still very young and I think should be given every chance to show his improvement

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Steelydan54's picture

We weren't nearly as good of an offense in 2016 as in 2015: much younger. Nearly new OLine. Unproven receivers. Pressured QB. Lack of breakaway RB.

JT did not have the year we expected. And some of that was no him. Play calling often questionable, especially in tough sits. 

All those factors are largely fixable by 2017.  Go Bucks. 

Steelybuck54

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Doing so little while having so much to work with. Low expectations kept our co - OC's in their positions too long. Hopefully the new hires will expect more and time and talent won't be wasted.
Great story above.

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osuguy2008's picture

Ramzy - your omission of David Boston as any example of elite wide receiver attributes is absurd

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Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

 I deliberately kept it as recent as possible. The "greatest Ohio State receivers of all time by complete receiver attribute" portion of your off-season programming isn't for several more months.

yankeescum's picture

Can't wait to see it. As guy who writes fiction, I appreciate the hell out of your writing. You and DJ have wonderful voices, and give this site the personality and charisma that keep it from being just a Buckeye newsroom. Thanks, and we appreciate it.

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nickel beer's picture

I appreciate the hell out of your writing.

Glad someone said that.  Deserved to be said.

half machine

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osuguy2008's picture

While I would disagree with limiting to most recent ,  still how are guys like Santonio Holmes, Anothony Gonzalez, or even Brian Hartline not considered to have desires or attributes over Philly Brown, Sanz, or Devin Smith? 

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yankeescum's picture

On Ramzy's list of wideout superlatives, three of the six were coached by Zach Smith.

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stantmann's picture

In fairness, they could have included 2009-2010 Sanzenbacher and Posey tandem, 2007-2008 Robiskie and Hartline, and Ginn/Gonzalez 2005-2006. We haven't had any tandem like that on the OSU team since Smith took over. Someone made a point up there about O-line and he's probably right. Tressel had five 5 stars O-lineman in his last 5 years, a Urban is just now starting to win some of those recruiting battles... finally.

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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Aristotle's picture

"the catch of the year", Let me point out, that ball was seriously underthrown

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countrybuckeye's picture

my 2 cents

the early season push-overs should be the stomping ground for the 2nd and 3rd string receivers

the bulk of the season and the "teams with a pulse" should be where the 1st string receivers are pressed into service. 

then we are putting 'like-on-like' and would have much more useful 'season stats'

but only if that's what you want

“Save yourself and relax during every game. I recommend a fine bourbon.”

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W00dyForeverHere's picture

Great article and in fact touchy isn't the word for it... This is debated a lot amongst my family, but before we blame anything, being the youngest team and ending 3rd is a nice season even for Urban Standards. But would I of been able to predict the oline and misfiring of jt...Negative, Noah and actually every wide receiver not getting any seperation...Never.. With jt coming back, we hope that's a good thing, we can acknowledge our recruitment especially at talented Wrs... But development has been stagnant, but no one is getting the ball besides jt if we don't fix upfront... Ie Last year Michigan State game....*shudders

We do not pull in and fill up. And I'll tell you why we don't. It's because I don't buy one goddamn drop of gas in the state of Michigan. We'll coast and push this goddamn car to the Ohio line before I give this state a nickel of my money.
Woody Hayes

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Nairion's picture

Great article. Missing Anthony Gonzales from your WR route running list tho...

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