Buckeyes Aiming To Air It Out
Pryor might do more of this in 2010.
Pryor might do more of this in 2010.
Staff Writer
Posted Aug 13, 2010


Ohio State fans frustrated by the lack of a passing attack last season have hope for more fireworks this fall. In this update, find out how much the Buckeyes might throw the ball this season and where some of those passes might be headed.

Prior to the start of fall camp, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said he expects quarterback Terrelle Pryor to throw the ball 25-30 times a game this season. When word of that comment made its way to junior wide receiver DeVier Posey, his eyes widened.

“That makes me smile,” he said. “I’m a receiver. That’s what I do: I just catch passes and I block. For the receiving corps, we’ve just been trying to make sure we can prepare ourselves for that. We made sure in the offseason that we caught 1,500 balls a week. We made sure we got 250-300 in a day. We made that a priority that we wanted to make sure we got better.”

Now the hope is that the coaches will entrust their players with more responsibility to move the ball through the air. Although the Buckeyes actually attempted 14 more passes in 2009 than in 2008, they closed out the regular season with Big Ten victories against Penn State, Iowa and Michigan by throwing the ball 17 times in each of those contests.

In those three games, OSU accumulated 285 passing yards. In a week three victory against Toledo, the Buckeyes attempted 32 passes and threw for 275 yards.

Things turned around in a Rose Bowl victory against Oregon that saw Pryor complete 23 of 38 passes for 266 yards as the Buckeyes employed the potent offense fans had hoped for all season long. Although he had eight catches in the game and Dane Sanzenbacher had nine, the junior wideout said he can barely watch film from that game.

“We saw a lot of room for improvement,” Posey said August 8 at photo day. “I was joking with Dane yesterday that we were watching some Rose Bowl highlights in the film room and we started laughing like, ‘Wow, we look so bad.’ The end of the season is always hard because you’re banged up. We have a lot of room for improvement. There were a lot of missed opportunities in that game. We can definitely get better.”

So, too, can Pryor – or at least healthier. After suffering a torn PCL in his left knee during a week nine blowout victory against New Mexico State, the quarterback underwent offseason surgery and said he is back to full health.

The injury played a role in the team’s plan of attack down the stretch.

“Terrelle went the last three games of the year a little bit banged up,” Tressel said. “We did OK. I doubt if we’ll throw it 60 (times), but I think he’ll be one of those guys where we’re at a 25 or 30 pass team and have the kind of balance we’d love to have.”

The Buckeyes actually averaged 24.3 pass attempts per game for the 2009 season despite the late-season decline.

Said Pryor: “When I injured the knee against New Mexico State, there was a lot of pain,” he said. “I couldn’t run very much. There were a couple games where I couldn’t run because when I cut my leg would just give. Some throws I couldn’t make off the run.”

With a pair of starting wideouts returning in Sanzenbacher and Posey as well as the potential addition of tight end Jacob Stoneburner and running back Brandon Saine to the passing game, Pryor said he expects to throw more this fall.

“Jake Stoneburner, he can be a possible third receiver,” the quarterback said. “It depends on the grouping. Or Brandon Saine – he could make 30 or 40 catches this year. Jake Stoneburner (could have) 40 catches. We have some weapons.”

Recent history shows that expecting that many catches from an OSU tight end is folly. Since 2002, Ben Hartsock has the most catches for a Buckeye tight end with 33 grabs in 2003. So while Stoneburner might not hit Pryor’s estimated total, he appears likely to eclipse Jake Ballard’s 14 receptions from last season.

However, wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell cautioned against expecting the Buckeyes to do too much of anything in a given game.

“As always, you go into a game and you figure out what’s the best thing to do against teams and you try to do those things, but with the maturation of Terrelle and the young receivers coming along and those two older receivers we’ll have some weapons outside when it’s all said and done,” Hazell said. “We’ll be able to do some things.”

One season ago, Hazell found himself replacing two wideouts he considered grade ‘A’ players: Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. Instead of trying to fill their shoes, Sanzenbacher and Posey are tasked this year with living up to one of Hazell’s mottos enshrined on the wall in his meeting room.

It reads, “ ‘A’ Players Must Get ‘A’s.’ ” If Sanzenbacher and Posey are able to live up to that, the Buckeyes could see more points on the scoreboard.

“As always, you go into a game and you figure out what’s the best thing to do against teams and you try to do those things, but with the maturation of Terrelle and the young receivers coming along and those two older receivers we’ll have some weapons outside when it’s all said and done,” Hazell said. “We’ll be able to do some things.”


Related Stories
Stoneburner Addresses The Media
 -by BuckeyeSports.com  Aug 23, 2010
Pryor Faces The Future
 -by BuckeyeSports.com  Aug 8, 2010
Stoneburner Expects To Be Part Of Pass Game
 -by BuckeyeSports.com  Aug 19, 2010

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Subscribe today and get Buckeye Sports Bulletin, our team magazine absolutely free! So don’t wait ... Sign Up Today!
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from BuckeyeSports.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
WR DeVier Posey (profile)
QB Terrelle Pryor (profile)
WR Dane Sanzenbacher (profile)
TE Jake Stoneburner (profile)
[View My HotList]