COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State football players will not practice today – Wednesday, April 14 – and will return to the practice field Thursday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Following that practice, assembled media will have an opportunity to interview members of the defensive secondary, including Chimdi Chekwa, Jermale Hines and Devon Torrence, plus coaches Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson.
Just because there isn’t a Wednesday practice doesn’t mean there aren’t things to report or be reminded about. For one, the receivers and Coach Darrell Hazell had plenty to say on Tuesday, and we’ll get to some of their thoughts, their terrific quotes like “He has wiggle in the slot like Gonzo” and additional notes in a moment, but first a few reminders:
Trio’s Touchdown Tradition Wide receiver was the position of the day after the Tuesday practice and spending some time with the media were three young men – seniors Dane Sanzenbacher and Taurian Washington, and junior DeVier Posey – who each caught his first collegiate touchdown pass in his first collegiate game, and the opponent was Youngstown State University. It’s true.
All About the Rose Bowl Nobody brought up this trio’s touchdown tradition during the interview session Tuesday as the line of questioning regarding games centered on the 2010 Rose Bowl win over Oregon. All three started as Ohio State threw a 40-game high – dating to the 2006 game vs. Michigan when Troy Smith attempted 41 passes – 38 times, an air attack that kept the Ducks’ defense guessing and wondering the entire game.
Posey had eight receptions for 101 yards, including the game-winning touchdown catch from Terrelle Pryor from 17-yards just past the midway point of the fourth quarter. Sanzenbacher secured nine receptions for 64 yards. Washington was terrific as a Buck decoy and as a downfield blocker.
Mission Accomplished A big question coming into the season last year was how well would Sanzenbacher, Posey and Co., play as go-to receivers with the loss of Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline to the NFL, with Hartline leaving a year early. The answer is easy when one looks at Dane and DeVier’s deeds compared to what the “Brians” accomplished in 2008: Dane and DeVier combined for 96 receptions for 1,398 yards and 14 touchdowns. Robiskie and Hartline combined for 63 receptions for 1,014 yards and 12 touchdowns in their final season.
A New Direction? Asked whether the 38-attempt-23-completion game by Pryor against Oregon was a sign of things to come for the Buckeye offense, Sanzenbacher was non-committal…multiple times when the question or similar versions of it came from different directions.
“It was nice to get that Rose Bowl win,” Sanzenbacher deftly said when asked about the offensive direction. “We opened it up offensively, but I don’t know any more than you guys. We’ll see if that’s the direction we go. You all know coach Tressel. He always stresses the run game.”
Already Upperclassmen Posey spoke about priorities when he was asked about the leadership he, Sanzenbacher and Washington are going to have to provide to the younger receivers.
“Our priorities have changed,” Posey said. “Now in addition to being talented and athletic youngsters, we have to be leaders, too.”
Yes, But… Pressed on the fact that he is a legitimate playmaker on this team, someone who has proven he can make a big, big play like his TD catch in the Rose Bowl, Posey wasn’t impressed that he made such a play in such a big game.
“I dropped one in the first quarter,” Posey said. “That could have been two great plays. I’ll never settle for anything less than being great.”
Wow! Here is what coach Hazell said when asked about his prior comment that Posey was as good as some of the players – the NFL receivers – who have come through Ohio State recently:
“DeVier has a lot of characteristics of a lot of players who have come through here,” Hazell said. “He has explosiveness like Santonio [Holmes] … he has close to the top end speed of Teddy [Ginn] … and he was wiggle in the slot like Gonzo [Anthony Gonzalez].”
Seeking Consistency Taurian Washington, who is lining up as the No. 3 receiver, is seeking a consistent senior season.
“I just want to be consistent,” Washington said. “That’s my biggest goal. I want to focus on the game and on being consistent. We [the team] need all of us to be consistent.”
More Hazell Thoughts…
Regarding Washington: “Taurian has been very consistent this spring. He needs to keep getting better, getting stronger and play through confrontation.”
No. 3 Receiver: “It’s a wide open position…that No. 3 position.”
On Duron Carter: “Right now Duron is coming in day-to-day doing the same workout [as the others]. He’s not practicing. We’ll track him through the rest of the quarter and see where he ends up.”
Stats from the Receiving End…