Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer memorably told his Buckeyes that he wanted an angry football team, a team with a chip on its shoulder.
Wednesday, wide receiver Devin Smith made it clear that he is responding to his coach’s challenge, to the point where he is not only taking umbrage with what Cal football has said about OSU’s receivers, he actually sees the Bears entire defensive scheme as a very personal attack.
“I feel like for them wanting to press us, they don’t have any respect for us,” Smith told the Buckeye beat media. “They feel like receivers can’t get open, Braxton can’t throw the ball, and all Ohio State is, is run the ball, run the ball, run the ball.”
He said the wideouts have worked hard all week on beating man-press, because they are fueled by the anger coach Meyer spoke about.
And it isn’t just Meyer. Co-offensive coordinator Tom Herman told Smith that a press defense is a challenge to a receiver’s manhood. Receivers coach Zach Smith helped compile motivational messages all week.
After hearing these messages, what does Devin Smith think? “In the back of your mind, you’re like, ‘man, they really don’t respect us,’ so we really have to go out there and play hard and handle our business.”
Quarterback Braxton Miller, who’s thrown to Smith 7 times this year, understands why the receiver might take Cal’s game plan so personally.
“They want to man up on our X,” Miller said, before quickly adding, “I believe in my X that he’s going to beat their corner, so that’s the match-up.”