Wide Open [2010 Season Preview]

This isn’t my wheelhouse, these wide receivers. It’s no secret I’m more of a defensive minded kind of fan. Punting on third down is never a bad option in my book. But some of you fans seem to like the idea of hurling the football in the air when it really should be safely cradled in the nook of a fullback’s bent arm. It’s a gameplan I’m not really comfortable with. I’m an adherent to the adage of, “three things can happen when you throw the football and two of them are bad.”

But I will begrudgingly admit that there is a certain benefit to quickly working the ball down the field in such a way that the defender can’t do a thing until the ball is caught. And if the Buckeye coaches are serious about doing this 25-35 times a game, I guess I better get on board. So how’s the receiving end of the passing game going to work out? (we’ll get to the passing end soon).

Contrary to popular belief, Terrelle Pryor actually has more than one target within the wide receiving corps. Having watched every play last year, it was clear with whom Pryor has built a rapport. Baby-faced DeVier Posey is clearly the number one receiver in the passing attack and Pryor isn’t afraid to communicate that unequivocally to everyone on the field (that’s a joke, people). Posey has established himself as a home run hitter with deceptive speed and soft hands.

Sure, DeVier Posey gets the majority of the action down the field, but Pryor also has Dane Sanzenbacher at his disposal. Sanzenbacher continues the tradition (and the now getting really old cliche) of the possession receiver. (It’s not his fault he’s got velcro hands). If there’s someone that’s getting a pass on a crucial third and five, I want the ball going to Dane.

Along with the human tackling dummy, the wide receiver group is also comprised of senior Taurian Washington and freshman Corey Brown. These two will most likely see the field the most this season.

It’s amazing what a case of the dropsies will do for your confidence and playing time. Out of camp last year, Taurian Washington was impressing coaches and observers. Then, after a couple ill-timed drops early in the season, Taurian found himself on the wrong end of the pine. Even to the point of contemplating a transfer. Fortunately, a Rose Bowl victory in which his blocking, not catching, contributed has reenergized the senior.

And then there are the tight ends. Oh, the tight ends. We Buckeye fans have had a somewhat of a tortured relationship with our tight ends lately (FRICKEN RYAN HAMBY [don’t click, it’s too painful]) (ALL HAIL JAKE BALLARD [click, click, clickity click]) so this year brings us to a crossroads. Jake Stoneburner has been ready to explode for a couple years now. This is going to be his year! He’s going to catch a hundred passes! Not so fast, my friend. Let’s not get too excited. As Duane Long rightly put it, “When in all the time Jim Tressel has been here has he thrown the ball to the tight end? It is not what we do here.” But he does go on to say that doesn’t mean Jake can’t have an impact. Stoneburner is the most athletic tight end Jim Tressel has had at his disposal in a long time (if not ever). Even if he doesn’t catch a ton of passes, he’s going to be a match-up nightmare for defenses and will factor in the passing game plan as a probable third option and hopefully as a relief valve for Pryor.

So supposedly Jim Tressel is planning on throwing the ball quite a bit this year. If that’s what you like, bully for you. I guess that means the Buckeyes will be scoring faster.

I’ll be waiting for the defense to get back on the field. Now it will just happen a little faster. Bully for me.

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