Ohio State Football: Why Buckeyes' Passing Game Must Improve This Season

Ryan DavenportContributor IAugust 25, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 24:  Devin Smith #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes pulls in a 17-yard touchdown catch over Greg Henderson #20 of the Colorado Buffaloes in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

245 attempts.

That's how many passes Ohio State's quarterbacks attempted in 2011, which was good for dead last in the Big Ten and over 200 fewer than conference-leading Michigan State.

14 receptions.

That's how many catches Ohio State's leading wide receivers made in 2011.

Upon taking over head coaching duties in Columbus, Urban Meyer was less than pleased with the team's receiving corps, which finished with a paltry 127 yards per game last season.

According to a recent Washington Post article, Meyer openly panned the Buckeyes' receivers and "questioned their heart, their effort, their skill."

Now, with only a week to go until OSU's season opener, it's nearly time to see if Meyer's been able to rehabilitate and reconstruct the team's passing game.

In 2011, there were a number of factors that contributed to the Buckeyes' disappointing 6-7 record, but at least on the field, none were more prominent than the team's glaring deficiency in the air.

The rushing game wasn't the problem, as the team averaged just over 191 yards a game on the ground last year. The defense wasn't terrible either, but nothing could make up for the Buckeyes' lack of a passing game.

If the Buckeyes, ranked 18th in the preseason polls, are going to bounce back from an extremely difficult 18 months that have seen a coaching change, they'll need much bigger contributions from Devin Smith, Corey Brown and Jake Stoneburner.

Simply put, the Buckeyes won't be playing for a bowl or finishing the season in the Top 25 if their passing game isn't worlds better than the offense that posted the 115th-best passing offense in college football in 2011.