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Buckeye Football Notebook: 'It lasts longer and it resonates throughout the locker room'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — If you've paid attention to Urban Meyer over the years when he talks about his quarterbacks, then you have heard him talk about J.T. Barrett and Joe Burrow needing to increase arm strength.

Some might wonder why Ohio State is recruiting quarterbacks that need to get stronger, rather than simply recruiting the guys who already have the kind of arms they are looking for. The answer should be pretty clear to those same people who have paid attention to Meyer's words. There is more to a quarterback than simply the strength of his arm.

"There are pitchers and there are throwers," quarterbacks coach Tim Beck explained after the spring. "Greg Maddux was one of the great pitchers ever in baseball and I don't know how fast he threw a fastball. There is so much that goes into playing quarterback — smart, leadership, toughness, accuracy, timing, all of it."

In his early days Maddux could hit the low 90s, which isn't the stuff of legend, but his control, movement and command absolutely were. If you can throw 91 with movement at any time and know exactly where it is going, then that's more effective than something in the high 90s that never moves.

For Beck, the example is a fitting one and is something that they take to heart. Just as pitchers need to do more than throw hard, so do quarterbacks.

"Sometimes there are guys who have exceptional arms and really zing it, but don't have those other characteristics," he said. "So you say, 'Can you develop?' What do you feel like with a guy like Joe who is a young player, or even J.T.? They can develop arm strength. They're going to get stronger, they're going to do things to improve their techniques and fundamentals and their accuracy. That's where you kind of go and you pick and choose those battles and what you want to try to incorporate."

When wide receiver Johnnie Dixon signed with Ohio State out of Florida it was seen as quite the recruiting win for the Buckeyes. When he enrolled early and excelled in spring camp there was immediate talk about the fact that Dixon was going to be in the receiver lineup as a true freshman in 2014.

Knee tendinitis ended his freshman season after just one game played, however, and he has battled the pain and swelling seemingly ever since. Last season he played in the first four games, but then only saw the field once more over the final nine games.

Dixon participated fully this spring — or at least as fully as receivers coach Zach Smith would allow. Mostly, however, they tried to keep him limited to the less taxing routes on his knees like deep routes and the like.

"Johnnie for the first time was really able to practice," Smith said. "He had kind of two different traumatic knee issues that he finally now is getting through. This spring we limited him more thinking we need to have him 100 percent full strength, no issues, come fall.

"So the stuff we asked him to do he did extremely well. We didn't ask him to do everything, so you can't really evaluate him as a complete receiver when you don't ask him to do everything you need him to do, but he has the skill set and how he executed everything else I would imagine, given he's healthy, he will be able to that."

Page 2 - The value of patient linebackers, and is Terry McLaurin on his way towards being the Buckeyes' new deep threat?

Player profiles relevant to story:
1 - Dixon, Johnnie | 83 - McLaurin, Terry
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