"Love him on slant routes. He's not afraid to take a hit if he has to. He did a great job breaking a tackle, and then he just got away."
Doug Lesmerises took a look at the success that Michael Thomas has had when running slants this season and how it's been extremely difficult for teams to stop. When Thomas gets single coverage, you can bet the Ohio State coaching staff will be looking to him to make a play, just like he did against Virginia Tech by taking a slant 53 yards for a touchdown in the second game of the year. Thomas also took a slant 79 yards for a score in Saturday's 49-37 win over Michigan State.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett obviously has been enjoying hitting Thomas in stride for those touchdowns as the Buckeyes continue their winning streak and look to make the College Football Playoff. When Thomas was asked about the chances of him continuing his success with freezing temperatures at Minnesota, Thomas provided the following:
"I'll still catch the ball. You don't feel anything. You're just numb. If you drop it and it hit your hands, it's kind of embarrassing."
"In odds released by Bovada on Tuesday, Barrett was listed as a 20-1 Heisman shot, fifth among the candidates. He trailed Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, the odds-on favorite at 1-2; Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott (13-2); Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon (14-1); and TCU QB Trevone Boykin (14-1)."
J.T. Barrett has had an outstanding freshman season in place of the injured Braxton Miller, but his head coach has been mostly quiet about any hype surrounding Barrett. Remember when coach Meyer compared Barrett to Kenny Guiton earlier this season? Barrett has now exceeded those expectations, and Ohio State is a top 10 contender because of it.
While he hasn't been at the front of any big time award talks, Barrett has put together quite an impressive year both statistically and leading Ohio State to an 8-1 record. Now the hype surrounding Barrett might not be hidden for much longer, as the redshirt freshman is starting to make some noise in the Heisman race, coming in at eighth in the latest ESPN Heisman tracker.
I'm hearing a local NFL team is letting our opponent borrow their sideline-heating equipment for the game. Dislike.— Chad Pearson (@chadpearson42) November 12, 2014
As I mentioned above, the temperatures at Minnesota are expected to be extremely cold and Ohio State is doing everything they can to prepare for the frigid weather. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings are providing their heated benches for the Buckeyes at a request that came from the Golden Gophers to help out their visitors.
The above tweet is from Minnesota's strength and conditioning coach, who seems slightly miffed that the Gophers are going to be helping their Big Ten opponent this Saturday. Minnesota is currently ranked 25th in country with a 7-2 record, but one of those losses came at the hands of Illinois, who the Buckeyes beat down handily earlier this season.
"If the Buckeyes win the conference title, which seems like a reasonably good bet, Barrett could win his own Big Ten offensive player of the year trophy."
The conversation concerning J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller as Ohio State's quarterbacks continue with the idea that Barrett could essentially win his own Big Ten offensive player of the year trophy this season, provided the Buckeyes take care of business and win out. This would be taking another step into further showing that Barrett is more than capable of taking over the team for the rest of his career, because Miller has two of the same award.
Of course, this is all hypothetical, and as we looked at yesterday's WITN, it's possible coach Meyer will be using a two-quarterback system next season anyway, or at the very least hold a competition during the spring and fall camps before the 2015 season begins. For now, though, J.T. Barrett is the quarterback and the Buckeyes have plenty on their plate to focus on with the Big Ten championship game in their sights with a goal to make the College Football Playoff.