Josh Winslow/BSB

Ohio State Football: Quarterbacks And Wide Receivers Building Trust, Swagger In Spring Practice

After a year in which the Ohio State offense struggled to find success through the air, new coaches and veteran players are hoping to flip the script and improve the passing game.

There is no denying that a season ago did not meet the expectations Urban Meyer has for the Ohio State offense, especially in terms of the passing game. 

The additions of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day have already made an impression on the Buckeyes however, especially the quarterbacks and wide receiver groups. 

Wide receiver K.J. Hill told reporters that the Ohio State offense is playing with more swagger now than last year, and attributed that in part to the arrival of the two new coaches. 

"Coach Day has something to him and Coach Wilson has something to him and we are (working) behind them," Hill said. "We like it. On the deep ball, our percentages are going up in practice. We had a drought, but I think it is going up."

The swagger and excitement is a direct result of hitting the deep ball according to senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin. He said the Buckeyes, both coaches and players, take the time in practice to acknowledge a completed deep pass against the defense, making practices more fun for everyone. 

"When we make a big play, it's not just another play. We stop practice, and it gets hype in here," McLaurin said. "Those are game-changing plays. Coach Wilson and Coach Day have been a great addition to our offense and we are building great relationships."

Hill and other members of the offense have said that the Buckeyes have been charting passes, particularly deep passes throughout the spring to calculate completion percentage. The charting system is also a way to keep the quarterbacks competing and Hill said when the quarterbacks aren't completing the deep ball, they are hearing it from the coaching staff. 

"If they throw a bad ball, they are getting drilled," Hill said. "They know what we are trying to work on and what we are trying to establish this spring."

The charts and new found swagger has also helped create trust between the quarterbacks and wide receivers, a vital part of the relationship, especially on deep pass patterns. 

McLaurin said that the offense is aiming to complete at least 50 percent of their deep passes, something that is becoming accomplished on a more consistent basis, leading to a higher level of trust between quarterbacks and receivers. 

"There is a higher expectation now that we are charting it," McLaurin said. "There is no hiding anything. If you made the play, we are going to celebrate. If you didn't, then we are going to see the play (in film) and learn from it. There is definitely a trust between the quarterbacks and receivers. We are bridging the gap from last year and just trying to meet and exceed the expectations."

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