Thursday, August 26, 2010

THIRD RECEIVER DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A WIDEOUT; BIG DEX LOOKS GREAT

Photo of Ohio State tailback Brandon Saine by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State wide receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher provide the Buckeyes with perhaps the best duo of pass catchers in the Big Ten.

Each player brings superb talent and much needed experience to the position that should benefit quarterback Terrelle Pryor this season. Remember, OSU head coach Jim Tressel plans on letting the Heisman Trophy candidate put the ball in the sky more often this fall — possibly 25-35 times a game.

So obviously, if you're going to chuck the rock at that rate, then your team must have more than two reliable pass catchers, right? Hence why the competition for the Buckeyes No. 3 receiving spot is one of the most talked about battles going on during fall camp.

Senior Taurian Washington appears to have the edge at this point in time. Washington has shown his big-play abilities during scrimmages the past two weekends, hauling in a combined three touchdowns (all from Pryor), including a 75-yarder. Washington has been known for his dominance during camps in the past, but inconsistent hands have prevented him from making an impact during the regular season.

With young receivers like Chris Fields and Corey "Philly" Brown also turning heads in practice, the competition for the three spot is still very much in effect.

Washington stated that the receivers don't look at it as a competition, though. They are using it as a way to get better as a unit.

"I think the biggest thing is just the grind for all of us," Washington said. "It's not really a competition thing. I don't see us as wide receivers in a competition with each other, I think it's more of a competition going with the DB's. We basically need to help each other out to get better."

Some pundits are questioning whether the Buckeyes can put the ball in the air with great effectiveness, seeing that they are so inexperienced and unproven outside of Posey and Sanzenbacher.

But Pryor has a different outlook on the No. 3 receiver position than most do, basically saying that it doesn't always have to be a wide out hauling in his throws.

"T. Wash always makes plays, Chris Fields, Corey Brown ... " Pryor said. "But think of the other receivers we have. (Tight end) Jake Stoneburner could be a possible third receiver, depending on the grouping. (Tailback) Brandon Saine could have maybe 30-40 catches this year. That's our goal ... getting Brandon a lot of catches and Stoneburner 40 catches, and also DeVier, Dane and those guys.

"So if someone steps up to be the third receiver, that's great. Obviously we need three receivers, but we also have Jake Stoneburner and we have (fullback) Zach Boren who can catch the ball, as well.

"We have some weapons to tell you the truth," Pryor ended with a smile.

Look for the opener against Marshall on September 1 to have a bit more passing than usual, especially for a first game where Tressel usually hides his game plans for a mightier opponent.

The Buckeyes must find which receivers — or tight ends, tailbacks, or fullback — can reel in the throws when the lights are on and the real bullets are flying.

Chances are, whomever has the best production in the opener will gain a major leg up going into the rest of the season.

Photo of Dexter Larimore by
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
IT'S GOOD TO HAVE BIG DEXTER BACK ... Senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore has been a force during fall camp, eating up everything that has come his way.

After missing four games last season due to a knee injury he suffered against Indiana midway through the year, Larimore has come back bigger, stronger and more intense. He has been a beast on the defensive front, especially getting to the quarterback.

Senior offensive guard Justin Boren said Larimore can do it all.

"Dexter's a great bull rusher," Boren said. "He's 315 pounds at the nose. He can plug the run, you know, and when he's healthy he definitely helps us out on defense."

During last Saturday's jersey scrimmage at Ohio Stadium, Larimore recorded a sack of the elusive Pryor.

Of course, he didn't take much credit for it.

"It's because of our defensive ends getting good penetration on our stunts," Larimore said. "A lot of that has to do with those guys really getting penetration. Cam (Heyward) and Johnny (Simon) and (Adam) Bellamy really getting in there so I can come around free. So anytime I come around free it's probably attributed to our defensive ends."

So, does it ever happen because of his greatness?

"Maybe ... sometimes," Larimore smiled. "It's mostly guys doing their job, and me doing mine."

BREWSTER ON RIMINGTON WATCH LIST ... Ohio State junior center Michael Brewster was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list on Thursday.

The trophy is awarded to the nation's top collegiate center.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.