Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Photo of DeVier Posey by The Buckeye Times' Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State has had its share of great collegiate wide receivers since Darrell Hazell became the position coach back in 2004.

Hazell has mentored three NFL first round draft picks in Santonio Holmes (2006), Ted Ginn Jr. (2007) and Anthony Gonzalez (2007) and has also coached Brian Robiskie, who was selected in the second round last year by the Cleveland Browns.

The Buckeyes assistant head coach knows a thing or two about what it takes to play wide receiver at the highest level. So, when Hazell claims that junior receiver DeVier Posey is one of the best players he has ever coached at the position, one needs to take serious notice.

"He's an exceptional receiver, one of the best we've had since I've been here," Hazell said Tuesday, following practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus. "He's got a lot of the characteristics of a lot of different guys. He's got the explosiveness of Santonio Holmes. He's almost got the top end speed of Teddy (Ginn). He's got wiggle like Gonzo (Gonzalez) has in the slot. He has a lot of different characteristics of those guys.

"He's fun to watch."

Posey, who led the Buckeyes in receiving last season as a sophomore with 60 receptions for 828 yards and eight touchdowns, doesn't want to settle on just being good.

He wants to be perfect.

"I want to go from being a good receiver to being a great receiver," Posey said Tuesday. "Those are my expectations for myself. I like to set the bar high, I don't like settling for anything less than that.

"Everyday I'm out here I'm hard on myself. I want to be perfect everyday. I don't want to miss any of my assignments, no dropped balls. That's how I feel I have to be to get better and become the player that I want to be."

Hazell stated though, that it's the "I want to be perfect" attitude which holds Posey back sometimes.

"Right now he's his biggest enemy," Hazell said of Posey. "Because he looks for perfection in everything he does. When he makes a mistake, it kind of looms on him for awhile. He's got to learn to get over that because he's going to make a mistake."

Posey agrees with his coach's assessment.

"Yeah, I get mad at myself," Posey said. "I'm not afraid to admit that. I really can't do that once the season rolls around. I'm learning. I talk to Coach Hazell about that all the time, about being mature and being poised in those situations where you mess up and being able to come back from it."

Posey has showed that he can be the go-to guy when the spotlight is the brightest.

In last January's Rose Bowl game against No. 7 Oregon, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver hauled in eight receptions for 101 yards, including the game-clinching touchdown on a 17-yard pitch and catch from quarterback Terrelle Pryor, giving the Buckeyes a 26-17 win — the team's first bowl victory since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.

Posey said making such a big play in such a huge game, still hasn't completely sunken in, quite yet.

"I'm still kind of numb from that," Posey laughed, when speaking about his touchdown against Oregon. "I probably won't realize what happened until about 10 years later. I feel like it was a pretty big play for Ohio State and for me, but that's in the past. We've reached that plateau as a group. Now we want to reach an even higher plateau. We're going to need bigger plays from me, bigger plays from the offense and we'll see where it takes us."

As an observer, it appears that the Buckeyes have a lot of strengths on the offensive side of the football going into the 2010 season.

"I have to disagree, I see a lot of weakness," Posey said. "Actually not weaknesses, just areas we need to get better. We have a lot of room for improvement in the receiver's room. I'm pretty sure the running backs feel the same way, (so too does) the offensive line and the quarterbacks. Don't get me wrong, we know we can be good, but we don't want to settle with being good.

"We have high expectations for ourselves and that starts from the top to the bottom. We don't want to accept mediocrity."

There he goes again — expecting perfection.

OFFENSE SHOULD BE 'MORE WIDE OPEN' — Coach Hazell joked that he doesn't know what "more wide open" means, but he did say that there is a lot of depth and a new dimension to the offense.

"I tell you what's going to help us this year and that is (tight end) Jake Stoneburner," Hazell said. "He brings an added dimension of speed up the middle of the field and that can create a lot of problems for people. It keeps the safeties on the hash, it gets the wide outs open and if they don't cover him, he's going to run right by them and catch the ball."

Hazell said that when you add in the great depth at running back and receiver, as well as the maturation of Pryor, you have an offense that can do a lot of different things. Or, be "more wide open."

"We've got a ton of backs who can hurt you and then we've got enough wide outs right now that we can spread the ball around," Hazell said. "And then Terrelle (Pryor), he's definitely matured as a thrower, as a quarterback, as a leader. He's matured in a lot of different areas. It's exciting, it really is."

PLAY OF THE DAY — The best play of Tuesday's scrimmage drills came on offense, when senior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher made a beautiful one-handed catch from Pryor on a 45-yard pass down the right sideline, against starting senior cornerback Devon Torrence.

SAFETIES PASSING THE EYE TEST — So far this spring — and again on Tuesday — starting safeties, senior Jermale Hines and sophomore Orhian Johnson, have really caught my eye. Not only do they have NFL size and speed, but their instincts out on the field look extremely promising. The Buckeyes should have one of the most talented pair of back ends in the country.