Ohio State Football To Do List — WR Coach Zach Smith

Binjimen Victor Ohio State Buckeyes Wide Receiver Ohio State Football


We wrap up our spring To-Do lists with a look at the wide receivers for the Ohio State football program. The Buckeyes return every receiver who was on the team over the second half of last season. That’s 211 receptions, 2,982 yards, and 31 touchdowns coming back, which is a ridiculous amount of production and experience.

And yet, there is still plenty of room for growth. That process began well before spring ball, but continues at a more determined pace over these final three weeks of camp.

For several of the OSU receivers, spring will be refresher course. They can’t take it easy, however, because there are still players looking to break into a rotation that has been on lockdown since last spring.

With so many players returning, and so much potential still waiting to emerge, goals and tasks can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. In order to keep that from happening, here is a handy-dandy to-do list for receivers coach Zach Smith.

1. Work on Binjimen Victor’s consistency.

After having at least one catch in Ohio State’s first seven games last season — and totaling 18 receptions for 245 and four touchdowns — Binjimen Victor finished with just five catches for 104 yards and three touchdowns over the Buckeyes’ final seven games. There were some drops in there, and as the competition got better, Victor wasn’t as productive. Of course, all receiving numbers dipped over the second half of the season. This can be attributed to poorer weather, better competition, or quarterback play. It’s most likely a combination of all three, and it pre-dates J.T. Barrett. Receivers who are more consistent, however, could help things greatly. This isn’t just a Binjimen Victor issue, as inconsistency has been an issue for just about everybody one time or another.

2. Improve the deep ball.

Improving the deep ball is a goal every spring for the Ohio State football program. That will continue this spring, but the focus should also be on actually coming down with the ball. Last year, the concern was simply getting the football thrown accurately. That will be the case this spring as well, but the need to improve on bringing the ball down is a necessity. Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell have had issues in the past, and as two-thirds of OSU’s leading receivers, they need to be more reliable when it comes to stretching the field.

3. See what the young guys have.

The Buckeyes brought in three wide receivers in the 2017 recruiting class, but lost one when Trevon Grimes transferred back home to Florida. Jaylen Harris played in a few games last season and caught two passes, while Ellijah Gardiner redshirted. Together, they are both big targets. Harris has people excited about what he can do. Gardiner, however, is still a mystery, which is why he intrigues me. He’s a 6-foot-3 200-pound track guy, so I’m interested to see how he has progressed since being brought in as essentially a big, fast, project.

4. Find specific roles for each player.

One of the great things about New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick is how well he can find specific roles for each of his players. They will sign free agents that other teams don’t want because he sees something that they can do very well, so he’ll sign them to just do that one thing. With so many returning receivers — and more guys wanting to break into the lineup, perhaps Zach Smith can figure out the various niches for each of his guys. C.J. Saunders mentioned something similar a couple of weeks ago. He specifically knows that he will probably be a niche guy, but he is always on call and ready to go. Finding what players excel at may not lead to “micro” changes, but it will allow the Buckeyes to better coordinate the offense when it comes to knowing who does what and how well they do it. This could be an area where Ryan Day gets involved as well.

5. Keep Demario McCall busy.

With K.J. Hill out this spring and a heavily-experienced Parris Campbell not needing the kind of snaps that others do, there is an opportunity for redshirt sophomore Demario McCall to get a huge number of reps this spring. McCall moved to H-back at the end of the last season for the Buckeyes, so he is still learning the craft. He is more comfortable by the day, but this is a chance for him to build his confidence and consistency. McCall has the potential to be one of the best playmakers for Ohio State football this season. If that is going to occur, this spring will play a significant role in making it happen. I say just let him see what he can do and let the hype build.

To Do — Tight Ends | To Do — Running Backs | To Do – Offensive Line | To Do – Cornerbacks | To Do — Quarterbacks | To Do — Defensive Line | To Do — Safeties | To Do — Linebackers


10 Responses

  1. Your whining comments are so funny. My hope is that Michigan will find a quarterback and smash you Bucknuts cry babies.

  2. Figures there would be whining over Zach Smith in the comments. The receivers have been just fine, and if you think Urban hasn’t had his hand what the receivers do, you’re wrong. Our receivers suck so much yet we’ve had 6 drafted from 2015-2017, most in college football over that time span.

    1. Logan. Look at the productivity, or lack thereof from those receivers drafted from Ohio State. The talent is there as evidenced by the draft. So why the dismal productivity at Ohio State. Why suck ongoing inconsistencies? There’s been one constant in the equation. Zach Smith. It’s great that he’s a grandkid of Coach Bruce and all, but quite frankly he’s just not any good as a position coach. The talent IS and has been on the roster,,,,,,and it’s NOT the fault of the players except in dropping wide open passes to them. Every decent opponent the Buckeyes face have squashed t5he Ohio State passing game. Will it get better with a quarterback who can throw the ball accurately and consistently in the deep intermediate and deep game? I’d like to hope so. Garbage gameplanning because of having to nurse maid certain players has cost the Buckeyes at least 1 more National Title. The running game is fine. The passing game is built on almost an entire resume’ of smoke and mirrors.

      I don’t see any Buckeye quarterbacks starting in the NFL. But I do see receivers starting. I see some terrific former Buckeye runningbacks playing in the league as well. Several offensive linemen are playing at that level as well.

      The evidence shows that the receiver talent is there………………so why does no one fear the Buckeye passing game? Because the route tree is junk. That’s being kind. It’s actually HS garbage. Who is teaching it and why?

      1. Putting all the blame on Zach Smith shows you don’t really understand the Ohio State offense. It’s a combination of the QB, the OL, the receivers, the coordinators, and the play calling. Pinning all the blame on Zach Smith is nonsense.

        Like I mentioned before.. NFL teams draft our receivers, and they’ll draft several of them next year.

        1. No, I’m putting all of the blame on CEO Meyer for not recognizing the flaws and actually addressing them. He’s not stupid so he MUST know that his choice of quarterback was nothing more than a security blanket and run game extension because he couldn’t pass the football worth a darned with any sort of consistency out of the box.

          If Zach Smith was a good receivers coach, why did they have to wait for Wilson and that other baggage, Day, to change the depth of the route mesh points? If I consistently over a couple years couldn’t recognize I needed to adjust how I was performing my job, I wouldn’t have that job, and rightly so. Especially so if others had to be hired to cover my obvious lack of ability.

          Of COURSE they will draft the talent on the Buckeye roster. A deaf dumb and blind man can see the talent those receivers have, regardless of how they’re wasted in the Buckeye offense.

          Cardale Jones made it no secret that gameplanning was a big problem. But maybe those gameplans are result of weak links in the coaching tree. THAT is CEO Meyers fault because he’s been too willing to accept mediocrity in the deep intermediate and deep passing. That problem is 2 fold. Quarterback and develop the route tree. Those 2 are CEO Meyers fault.

    2. Ummm are you counting D. Smith, Braxton, and M. Thomas? Because those aren’t Urban/Smith recruits…Samuels was really a RB at OSU and the fact he became our best WR option is emblematic of the problem. Take off the scarlet & gray lenses buddy…we need to improve in the WR room and it’s ok to say so. I think we will be fine as the trend from recruiting athletes to play WR changes to recruiting WR to play WR tales hold. Not to mention having better passing QBs.

      1. UT OH….you went there! LOL……Good job.

    1. Tim you may be on to something. The last few years is the worst I have ever seen the OSU WR corps. Moreover, the collective group of WRs we fielded last year pales in comparison to the corps I saw from USC, Georgia, etc. We have a lot of catching up to do in the WR room and it starts with coaching, recruiting, QB, and scheme. Hopefully Mack and the new guys start a new trend… I think the 4th and 5th year guys simply are who they are (ok players). If there is one bright spot its got to be that there will be a new QB and maybe that will allow these older WRs to prove me wrong

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