Return to Sports

Feast or famine for Buckeye receivers?

by Joedy McCreary


(August 28) COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller says it's usually feast or famine against West Virginia University's suspect secondary.

And training against the Buckeyes' talented defensive backs this fall will only whet Miller's appetite for receptions, he said.

"I've seen (WVU) make some good plays, and I've seen them get beat a lot of times," Miller said. "But I think playing here, we go against some of the best defensive backs in the country, day in and day out. We should be used to any defensive back we face this year."

All-American cornerback Antoine Winfield and all-conference safety Damon Moore anchor the Buckeyes' secondary.

Miller expects the Mountaineers to play two men on either him or All-America candidate David Boston for much of the Sept. 5 contest.

Boston, a junior, led the Big Ten with 73 catches for 970 yards and 14 scores. His 14 receptions against Penn State established an Ohio State record. And, Miller, a senior, added 58 grabs for 981 yards and five touchdowns.

To open things up for those two, OSU plans to keep tight end John Lumpkin involved.

Lumpkin caught 17 balls for 320 yards and three touchdowns -- including a 50-yard TD in the Sugar Bowl -- in a complementary role to the Buckeyes' receivers in 1997.

"He's a fast target," Miller said of Lumpkin.

"We have to get him up the hash a little bit. We have to be able to deal with whatever they throw at us."

Ohio State will attack WVU's defensive backs, Miller said.

"We pretty much want to go against anybody we play," Miller said. "We heard (WVU) gave up some big plays last year, but they're probably well-matured and grown in the offseason as a nucleus. We're just ready to go out and accept the challenge."

Ken-Yon Rambo, a sophomore who spells Miller at flanker, says opening with the No. 11 Mountaineers will provide the Buckeyes with an accurate benchmark.

"It shows where we're at, how we're going to come out and do our thing," Rambo said. "West Virginia's a great team, and that puts a lot of pressure on us as No. 1, going against a hard team. We've got to come out and show what we can do."

The beginning of fall camp is much like the beginning of classes, Rambo said.

"You've got to go in there and learn and keep on learning until you get an ÔA' on your test," Rambo said.

WVU's receivers have caught Miller's eye. He mentioned David Saunders and Shawn Foreman.

"Saunders, ... he's supposed to be the real deal," Miller said. "I hear they have two pretty good ones."