COLUMBUS — The most important job requirement for an Ohio State tight end hasn’t changed, and it probably still won’t anytime soon.
The Buckeyes need that position to be handled by competent, physical blockers. That was true for decades before Urban Meyer arrived to take over the program, and odds are that’s still going to be the case whenever his time running the show comes to an end.
But after years of clamoring for the attack to more prominently feature those big, versatile athletes as more than just bruisers for the ground game, it appears like Ohio State might be poised to actually unleash those tight ends more often as targets for a dynamic passing attack. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but with nine receptions over the last two weeks from that unit, the tight ends are actually developing into useful weapons — with the potential to do even more down the stretch.
“That’s a very healthy position,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “You’ve got a really good young player coming up, Jeremy Ruckert, and Jake [Hausmann] healthy again now, so there are four guys that are helping us in other areas of the game, too.
“Luke Farrell and Rashod Berry have been playing pretty good.”
There’s still more they could give the Buckeyes, and a variety of ways they can continue to help the offense expand heading into the final month of the regular season.
Of course, the passing attack is already absurdly potent as it is. So this may actually be a rare case for the tight ends where using them to unlock a bit more potential for the rushing attack could actually be more desirable than unleashing them as receivers. Of course, Farrell and Berry might also be two ideal candidates to fix the breakdowns for the red-zone offense either as blockers or targets.
Either way, former Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner returned to the Lettermen Row film lab to analyze the position and what the offense is getting out of it lately heading into a key stretch of games. There are clear signs of progress for the Buckeyes in that department, and Stoneburner sees even more potential waiting to be tapped.
Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward contributed the editorial content for this post.