Urban Meyer knew what he wanted to see Ohio State do more than anything else in last Saturday's Scarlet and Gray spring game, and that's throw the football.
With Braxton Miller now a fixture at quarterback, the real focus was on the wide receivers as Meyer has made no bones about it, the Buckeyes are going to pass more - make that a lot more -this season, his first at the OSU grid helm.
Meyer was looking for that ''wow'' factor, as he calls it or the need to find players who can make things happen, to emerge -and wouldn't you know it - may have found one in true freshman wideout Michael Thomas, who snagged 12 balls for 131 yards.
When I say true freshman though, that's sort of a misnomer, because Thomas is a glorified high school senior, having graduated early to enter Ohio State and participate in spring practice.
Thomas has got the talent in his bloodlines, as he's the nephew of former NFL star wideout Keshawn Johnson.
As Tom Dienhart, the Big Ten Network.com's senior writer, noted, ''Yes, it was only a spring game, but Buckeyes have a yawning need for receivers. So it was a heck of a beginning for Thomas, who looks a lot like former Ohio State great Michael Jenkins with his smooth moves and stride. Thomas also has sticky mitts.''
However, even Meyer himself wasn't all that surprised by Thomas' performance.
"He's our most dedicated receiver," said Meyer of Thomas, who ''spends hours on his craft away from practice,'' wrote Dienhart, ''specifically working at catching passes from a JUGS machine. So that extra work and attention to detail paid off'' for Thomas last Saturday, on a day Meyer wanted to emphasize the importance of the passing game.
To that extent, No. 1 QB Miller completed 24 of 31 passes for 258 yards, with 197 coming in the first half alone including connecting on his first five attempts, while backup Kenny Guiton hit on 17 of 26 aerials for 191 yards and a touchdown. Word of warning to this season's OSU opponents: Do the math, that's a total of 57 pass attempts in the game to 36 rushes, about a 3-2 ratio.
Of course, there's got to be some other wideouts step up as well to make the rejuvenated passing game with Meyer's spread attack a viable option come the actual season.
''We had to get some things accomplished and I think we did that,'' said Meyer after the spring game. ''We identified our issues and we also identified our strengths. We maybe did some things offensively that we wouldn't normally do, because we are going to be a very balanced offense.''
But he stressed the point that "we are taking one of the worst passing teams in America a year ago, and need to find out if we can throw the ball. That was the objective today, and I have a better opinion of our guys now. We know we can run the quarterback, but we didn't run him one time today.''
Meyer's post-game assessment of Miller's passing ability: ''His release is an A. Arm strength is a B, but I am very critical. His accuracy is a B or C, so he needs to get better, but he had a very good spring and a very productive one."
"But I just told our guys that it has to be the best offseason in the history of college football. That has to happen."
Perhaps, though, the best and most telling quote came from starting junior center Corey Linsley.
"We were all in a whirlwind last year,'' he said. ''This program didn't have a concrete foundation to it, but now we're back on track."
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at email@example.com