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Smith gaining confidence in himself

September 7, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

COLUMBUS - Urban Meyer believes every athlete comes to a point in his career when he enjoys that one moment where he emerges into the potential he possesses.

For Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith that moment might have arrived just 1:10 into the second quarter last Saturday against Miami of Ohio in Ohio Stadium.

"There's nothing greater than confidence, but nothing worse than false confidence," Meyer said during his weekly press conference. "I know I have confidence, but more importantly, (Smith) has some confidence in himself."

With the Buckeyes struggling for any kind of offensive consistency, sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller rolled to his right and lofted the ball to the south end zone.

Despite what appeared to be solid pass coverage, Smith adjusted to the ball in the air and made a miraculous one-handed catch for the first touchdown of the Buckeyes' season.

"We had struggled a little bit and I really think that catch ignited all of us, including the defense a little bit," Smith said. "After that play, we really got rolling."

The catch has become a YouTube sensation and was shown on highlights around the country on seemingly every channel known to man.

"It looked like the ball was going out of bounds," Smith said. "I just stuck my hand up there and squeezed it as hard as I could."

The Buckeyes' offense did go into overdrive as their new up-tempo, no huddle spread attack started clicking the way Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman had envisioned when they arrived in Columbus.

Ohio State finished with 538 yards and a 56-10 victory against the RedHawks.

"Coach Herman always tells us to keep attacking and that's what we did," Smith said. "We started out slow, but we picked it up. I think we're going to continue to get better every single day. Playing in this offense is a lot of fun."

Smith only caught one more ball the rest of the afternoon, but Miller was blunt with the sophomore from Massillon.

"Braxton told me he trusts me to make plays now," Smith said. "Before the catch, Braxton looked over at me, shook his head and it was like a 'let's go' kind of thing."

There was a point in spring ball and camp where Meyer didn't know who or when a receiver would develop himself into Miller's go-to-guy.

"I've never been down on Devin," Meyer said. "He plays like a young player that had a new offense thrown into his lap. He's a great kid to coach. He's really coming on."

Smith isn't concerned about being the top option or the last option. He's concerned himself with making as many plays as he can to help his team be successful.

"Evreryone on this team and in this offense has a role and we'll all continue to get better," Smith said. "Through the game, you could tell the cornerbacks had some fear because of the way we had played and the routes we'd been running."

The area where Smith thinks he's gotten much better personally in his route running. No one's ever questioned his speed. He's a member of the Ohio State track team and still holds the OHSAA's Division I state meet long jump record at better than 24 feet.

"The biggest thing is you have to play with confidence," Smith said. "Coach Meyer always tells us to just be athletic when you play the game of football."

As soon as Smith, who made the game-winning touchdown reception against Wisconsin last season, got back to the sideline, his teammates were quick to point out what turned out to be the truth.

"When I made the catch, everyone on the team kept saying, 'that's going to be on SportsCenter's Top 10," Smith said. "I was just glad I made the catch."

Don't think Meyer is just passing out the compliments, either.

"He keeps waiting for me to tell him great catch," Meyer smiled in his press conference earlier this week. "I just won't do it. I won't do it. I'm not going to do that."

So, can Smith top that catch this week against Central Florida?

"Uh ... I don't know," Smith laughed. "We'll see, I guess."


"Playing receiver in this offense is real," Meyer said. "It's not on of those, hey, you stand out there and we'll flip you the ball once in a while. You're very involved. Playing receiver in this offense is a grown man's job."



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