Senior wide receiver Drew Carter is finally getting his shot at serious playing time. He is running with the first-team and it's time to find out if his impressive workout numbers will translate into big plays on the football field.
"I'm just out there showing the coaches what I can do and trying to prove that I can be a big asset to this team," Carter said. "I've been waiting to really get a chance and it's finally here."
Carter (6-4, 205) thinks there's a crispness to Ohio State's passing game that hasn't been there before.
"Yeah, we worked a lot in the summer time with the passing attack and our timing is really on," he said. "Craig (Krenzel), everyday after workouts, we would throw, we would catch. So, we're ready. We know our capabilities, so we're happy the coaches have seen that we can help out the team a lot more."
Carter knows that opening night will be electric. It helps that it is against a top-20 team, but he would be fired up no matter the opponent.
"You've got to be amped for any team," he said. "But when a team is top ranked and people are talking about how good their offense is, you just want to put up points for your team.
"Plus, I think it helps out that it's under the lights at 8 p.m. I know I'm going to be amped and everybody else on the team's going to be amped."
With the Buckeyes low on numbers in the backfield, they have been running more multiple-receiver sets in practice. Carter couldn't be happier. He is used to seeing the "Three Yards…" offense.
"Oh, I love it," he said. "Different formations, different plays, more wide receivers in the game. I think it helps out a lot more with the running game. They realize the passing attack really opens up the running game. I think we'll throw it more this year, which is going to help our offense as a whole."
Carter says the Bucks have definitely added to the playbook.
"We're using a lot more three and four receiver sets, more formations," he said. "We want to get Mike (Jenkins) open, get Mike in the slot a lot more. So, you know there is going to a target on him - he's going to be double covered - so you have to figure out ways to open up things for him.
"At the same time, the other receivers, we're going to have one-on-one coverage and we just have to really step up and help Mike."
Carter reiterated that he feels like his opportunity at OSU has finally arrived. He knows he'll be counted on to be a playmaker.
"People's shots come at different time," he said. "This is my time and I'm planning to take it and run with it. Sometimes it happens when you're a true freshman. Sometimes you have to wait. I know it's my time now."
Some have questioned Carter's hands, but he blocks that negativity out.
"I am confident in myself and I believe I can make every catch," he said. "I don't worry about what people think. I just have to prove to myself I am capable of playing at this level.
"Confidence is something that comes over time. You do get down on yourself, but you have to believe in yourself. In my case, I just have to concentrate on catching balls."
Carter couldn't say enough nice things about Krenzel. He says the QB is like a coach on the field.
"He is remarkable," Carter said. "He knows everything about the game of football. He can tell you what the defensive ends or the defensive backs are doing on every play.
"Sometimes, he answers questions before even the coaches know. It's crazy how he knows everything."
According to Carter, what stands out just as much about Krenzel is his humble nature.
"The Sports Illustrated thing happened, but he could have cared less," he said. "He would rather have the team on there. That's the attitude he takes."
Some fans might consider Carter a track guy playing football, but he doesn't want to hear it. He enjoys running track, but is a football player first.
"I am a football player by trade," he said. "I came here to play football. Track is something I have done my whole life. Hopefully, I can go on to the next level in football, but I also see track in my future."
Getting to the next level usually isn't a problem when a player has good size and can bust out a 4.2 40, like Carter did at OSU's pro day last spring.
"The guys I talk to say the NFL needs speed," Carter said. "I feel I have opened some eyes with the things I've been able to do. Now, I've got to catch the ball and go from there."
Carter, talking like a savvy veteran, is trying to mentor the young receivers.
"The young guys are coming along well," he said. "When I got here, I was behind Reggie Germany and Vanness Provitt. They told me I had to have patience. They helped me out and now I'm trying to do that for Santonio (Holmes) and Roy (Hall)."