Devin Smith Needs to Step Up for the Buckeyes Offense in 2013

Austin Kemp@@Theaustinator_1Analyst IFebruary 26, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Devin Smith #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a touchdown pass during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There’s no question that Devin Smith has the ability to be one of the premier receivers in the whole country.  The knock on him, though, is that the consistency isn’t always there.  2013 is a new year and Devin will now be an upperclassmen, which means it’s time for him to step up and contribute in a big way on a veteran Buckeye offense.

Some of the catches Devin made last season were downright nasty: the one-handed grab against Miami University, and don't forget the snag in the end zone against Cal.  Each showed what the future could look like for Devin Smith, but it’s the routine plays that he needs to improve upon.

More than once last season, Devin found himself with a ball that he couldn’t reel in.  Was this a sign of his youth, or just showing his lack of consistency?  If it was just youth, he should make strides in another offseason with this coaching staff.  However, if consistency was the issue, that can be worked out on the practice field with Braxton Miller.  

There were times when Miller would struggle throwing the ball last season, or would look to run without making all of his reads.  This could have been a result of Braxton’s lack of confidence in his receivers.  The better Devin Smith becomes, the more trust he will build with his quarterback and the passing game.

Going into spring ball (and even fall camp), Devin Smith has earned the right to be one of the starting receivers.  With Urban Meyer as the head man in charge, nothing is a sure thing though.  When the first team gets their reps, Smith needs to show his improvement  because there are guys behind him who would love to move up in the pecking order. 

Chris Fields, Evan Spencer, Michael Thomas, and Corey Smith will all be fighting for playing time, and Devin Smith needs to assert himself as the No. 1 option, and leader of the receiving corps.

With all that said, Devin is coming off of a sophomore season where he accumulated 618 yards receiving.  Oh, and he was in the first year of a new coaching staff as well.  There was a learning curve that every player needed to go through last offseason, but that's no longer a concern this year.

In 2013, it’s all business for the Buckeyes as they begin their quest for a national championship when spring practice opens on March 5th.  It’ll be exciting to see how each player has progressed through winter conditioning and who bettered themselves on the field. 

The Ohio State air attack would benefit greatly from a big year out of Devin Smith.  We have all seen the acrobatic catches Devin can make, but in order to be a premier receiver on the national scale, the routine plays need to be made each and every time.