Indiana Week Mic Check: Zone 6 Claims Six Starters

By Chris Lauderback on August 31, 2017 at 3:05 pm
Urban Meyer has high expectations for the 2017 Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer took his turn at the podium earlier this week and while much of the presser was a steady diet of the usual coach-speak, he made a curious proclamation in print via the Indiana week depth chart and backed it up touting a wide receiving corps that struggled mightily last season: 

Q. Are you curious to find out or do you know who is the guy, the receiver, that is going to take the top off the defense, as they say?

COACH MEYER: Yeah, this is as much depth as we've had. I can't tell you the guy. I can tell you six people that will play in a pure rotation basis. That's how much confidence we have in them, and we have six. At the X, it's going to be Ben Victor and Austin Mack. At the H, it's Parris and K.J. Hill and at the Z, it's Terry and Johnnie Dixon. So there's six in the rotation.

Meyer, for all his greatness, is never lacking in slightly hyperbolic statements which are the product of either shooting from the hip or purposeful use of his psychology degree so you have to stay on your toes when he's rocking the mic. 

That said, depending on whether your a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full fan, this whole situation with the receiving corps can be taken a few different ways. 

You might find it a bit shocking to learn that a team with 1.5 effective receivers last season (Curtis Samuel 1.0, Noah Brown .5) – both of which are no longer in Columbus – now suddenly has six guys worthy of the starter title. 

KJ HILL 18 262 1
P. CAMPBELL 13 121 0
T. MCLAURIN 11 114 2
J. DIXON 6 26 0
B. VICTOR 4 64 1
A. MACK 2 15 0
TOTAL 54 602 4

For his part, Samuel tallied 74 receptions for 865 yards last year. Add in Noah Brown's modest totals and the duo combined for 106 grabs and 1,267 yards. 

Looking at the guys listed as starters for 2017, the six-headed monster of Ben Victor, Austin Mack, Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon went off for 54 receptions and 602 yards a season ago. 

Could it be a good thing that there's not enough separation between the top six guys? It certainly could pan out that way. Meyer and staff have a host of blue chips and maybe all they need is a chance to shine. 

That seems to be Urban's point of view as he and Zach Smith continue to say this year's receiving corps is the deepest since Meyer arrived in Columbus. 

Still, it's fair to question if the staff thinks they have six, do they really not have a legit one or two again? I mean, who was lamenting the lack of depth in the receiving corps or getting excited about a six man rotation back in 2014 when Michael Thomas and Devin Smith were combining for 1,730 yards and 21 touchdowns while only one other receiver managed to break the 300 yard barrier? Yes, other wideouts saw a lot of snaps and even started plenty of games but Smith and Thomas separated themselves from a production standpoint.

The great news about these questions is that they start getting answered tonight and with Meyer's track record, it's hard to bet against either his six-man rotation being good enough to get the job done, or a few guys starting to separate themselves in a way that makes it tough to not give them extra turns in the rotation. 

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