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Will somebody emerge as go-to wide receiver for Ohio State?

Austin Ward07/25/18
Article written by:On3 imageAustin Ward


Austin Mack by Birm:Lettermen Row

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the latest on the wide receivers? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

An already fascinating unit just became more intriguing this week, of course. And it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the deep, talented, veteran group of wide receivers that Ohio State has returning now that they’ll be getting a new coach to lead them less than two weeks before the start of training camp. Sources familiar with the plan for the Buckeyes have told Lettermen Row that Brian Hartline will be the guy on an interim basis, and that will put the pressure squarely on his shoulders to put Zone 6 in position to take another step forward.

That’s especially important right now since Ohio State is obviously breaking in a new quarterback, and Dwayne Haskins can’t be expected to elevate the passing attack alone. He needs targets, and he needs to be able to rely on them when the stakes are highest. The good news for both Haskins and Hartline is that there isn’t a shortage of candidates to work with this season.

The safest bet to become the go-to threat this season is Austin Mack. The two already have a close relationship off the field, Mack has shown flashes of Mike Thomas-like ability and that combination quickly produced some magic during the comeback last year in The Game. If anybody is going to have the complete trust of Haskins in crunch time, the odds favor Mack.

But the real bonus for the Buckeyes is that Haskins probably isn’t going to need to zero in on one guy. There have been some skeptics of the way Ohio State has rotated wideouts in the past, but who exactly doesn’t deserve to be on the field from a group that has Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and C.J. Saunders all back for another year? Each of those guys brings something special to the table, which would potentially allow Haskins to have a different go-to weapon depending on the situation.

There’s really nothing more a first-time starter like Haskins could ask for as he prepares to take the reins of the offense. And while training camp will now have a bit of a different vibe for the receivers thanks to the coaching change, there’s enough leadership coming from the Buckeyes themselves to make that a smooth transition for one of the program’s most important units.

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