August 18, 2009

Sanzenbacher to help lead WRs

COLUMBUS - Take a look at any one of Ohio State's games from last season and there should be a clip or two of Buckeye wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher sprawling to make a catch down the middle of the field before getting plastered by someone in the opposing secondary.

One thing you won't see, however, is a flat-out dropped pass by Sanzenbacher or him failing to get up onto his feet after getting his clock cleaned.

Some say the hits Sanzenbacher is seemingly continually subjected to don't hurt as bad as they may look on TV, but the junior wide receiver says otherwise.

"Oh, they hurt just as bad as they look," Sanzenbacher said with a chuckle. "It pretty much feels just how it looks."

The fact of the matter is, Sanzenbacher's continuous beating was just his way of providing for the Buckeyes last season. The epitome of a possession receiver, Sanzenbacher was there for countless amount of plays while helping bolster a wide receiving corps led by former wideouts Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline.

It was those plays - the ones where he took some big punishment - where catches came at some of the most crucial times in the game. It was those plays that Sanzenbacher takes great pride in.

"Somebody has to be put in position to do that kind of stuff and it is part of the game," Sanzenbacher said. "As far as holding onto the ball, it just got trapped between me and the defenders (laughs). In all seriousness though, somebody has to go out there and make those tough plays.

"I don't know if I want to get used to it because nobody wants to take those hits," Sanzenbacher admitted, "but just getting up is expected of you from your teammates and for me personally. I am not a guy who is going to stay down (after a big hit). If I am capable of getting up and walking it off, I am going to do that."

Quietly, Sanzenbacher amassed 21 catches (tied for second on the team with Hartline) in 2008 for 272 yards and a touchdown, proving to be one of the top performing receivers on the team despite a slower passing attack due to the learning curve of freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Even so, the losses of both Robiskie and Hartline seem to really have put a damper on what is expected out of the wide recievers this season.

Instead of returning some experienced receivers, aside from Sanzenbacher of course, the Buckeyes will be counting on new faces such as sophomores DeVier Posey and Lamaar Thomas in addition to other wideouts like Taurian Washington and possibly even senior Ray Small.

One missing link, however, is a big bank of experience, though Sanzenbacher seems to be pretty confident in what the receivers can do despite not having a big name.

"I think we have a lot of young talent and I think anybody who has watched us will tell you that," Sanzenbacher said. "It doesn't get talked about much, but I am actually excited to see how all of us get out onto the field and perform this season."

Sanzenbacher himself isn't a big name in terms of returning playmakers, but he certainly will be one of the more experienced offensive players returning to the Buckeyes in the fall.

Expected to contribute as a starter from the slot, Sanzenbacher knows his role could be expanded given the inexperience around him.

But it's simple for him - he just wants to get out on the field and contribute.

"I just have to focus on putting myself in a position to become a playmaker on the offense," Sanzenbacher said. "I wasn't able to work much this summer so I am really looking forward to (drills in camp) and the season so I can really get in there and get to work."

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