Whether his coaches call him Corey or call him Philly, all that matters to Ohio State’s Corey Brown is that they just keep calling his number.
Brown, dubbed “Philly” because of his hometown to differentiate him from defensive back Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown, has suddenly become the long-awaited go-to guy at wide-receiver for the Buckeyes.
“I just like the position I’m in right now, basically doing a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s obviously a perfect position, being able to get some carries, being able to do the screen passes and also getting some downfield throws.”
The junior had 12 catches in the 12th-ranked Buckeyes’ 17-16 win on Saturday at Michigan State. To put that into perspective, the leading receivers for the Buckeyes during the 2011 season had 14 catches.
“He’s really improved. It couldn’t happen to a guy that’s more committed to excellence,” said head coach Urban Meyer, who had verbally savaged his receivers for several months. “The good thing is he’s not near what he can be.”
Brown has 32 catches for 317 yards and a touchdown so far for the Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who host No. 21 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) on Saturday night.
He’s tied for 30th in the nation — something almost unheard of in recent years for an Ohio State wide-out — in receptions per game (6.40).
Much of his success stems from his volatility on short screen passes. But he’s also helping the Buckeyes out by simply attracting extra defenders wary of the threat he poses.
In Year One of Meyer’s no-huddle, spread attack that is heavy on passing, the Buckeyes are still a shadow of what he hopes they will become when it comes to throwing the ball. But it’s still a step in the right direction — even though Ohio State still needs to break more short passes for long touchdowns.
“He’s allowed to make a guy miss once in a while and get more than eight yards,” Meyer said of Brown, only half kidding.