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Ohio State football: Breaking down J.T. Barrett vs. Kent State

Coming off of a tough game against Virginia Tech, J.T. Barrett bounced back in a big way versus Kent State.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Total Game Summary

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
6 37 23 7 6 5 1 2 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
1 3 2 2 0 2 1 0 1

  • The offensive coaching staff used this game as a glorified scrimmage, dropping J.T. Barrett back 37 times in just a little over two quarters. Last week, Barrett dropped back 46 times versus Virginia Tech.
  • Versus Virginia Tech, Barrett was sacked eight times and pressured an additional 15 times. This week, he was sacked only once and pressured only three times all game.
  • Clearly it was against much lower competition, but comparing the bottom row of data from this game to last game, it shows the improvement that was made by the coaching staff, offensive line and Barrett during last week's practice and film study.
  • I really liked the offensive game plan from the start. Kent State attempted to copy Bud Foster's defensive strategy, but it was easy to see that Coach Herman and Coach Meyer had the offensive prepared for both the Bear front and man coverage. They implemented man beating route concepts and Barrett was more aware pre-snap. It is clear that teams will copy cat Foster's game plan, but not many teams on the Buckeye's schedule will be able to replicate Virginia Tech's defensive talent to execute the strategy.
  • It looks as though Coach Herman will be abandoning the inside zone read versus the Bear front and he will be looking to get outside by attacking the perimeter on speed options and jet sweeps.
  • It was great to see the tight ends be a part of the game plan early and often, as Nick Vannett finished with four receptions, while Marcus Baugh found the end-zone on his only catch.
  • Michael Thomas continues to shine. I see him leading the team in catches by the time it is all said and done.

First Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
5 22 14 5 2 2 1 2 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
1 3 1 2 0 2 1 0 0

  • When Barrett is given time in the pocket, he looks more comfortable than Terrelle Pryor or Braxton Miller did as young quarterbacks. He was constantly going through his progressions and sometimes hitting his third or fourth option out of the backfield. On 2nd-and-7 with 14:40 left in the first quarter, the offensive line did a great job giving Barrett time. He surveyed the entire field before going to his fourth option, which was Ezekiel Elliott on a swing pass out of the backfield for a first down.
  • Facing a Bear front and Cover 0 on 3rd-and-7, Coach Herman dialed up a man beating pass pattern that was caught for an easy touchdown. Jalin Marshall was lined up in the slot, he ran a fade pattern that was perfectly timed to rub out Michael Thomas' man as he ran a shallow crossing route. Kent State blitzed the Mike linebacker, which left the middle of the field wide open for Thomas, leading to six.
Pick
  • As noted above, Barrett looked more aware pre-snap, looking to the sideline to audible when recognizing pressure. He did this a couple of times in the first quarter, recognizing pressure coming up the middle pre-snap, then changing the play to a speed option. After getting outcoached against the Hokies, I would give Coach Herman and Barrett both A+'s with their preparation leading up to Kent State as they will be seeing this look for the remainder of the season.
audible
  • Barrett was very accurate in the first quarter. He threw a beautiful deep ball to Devin Smith that was dropped. Then the interception was on a Thomas drop that was followed by an unlucky bounce into a defender's hands.

Second Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 13 7 2 3 3 0 2 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

  • On Thomas' second touchdown catch, the Kent State defense was playing man coverage but switching on crossing routes. Thomas' defender switched him off to a linebacker. Thomas ran a great whip route out of the outside slot that froze the linebacker and gave him separation. Barrett recognized the mismatch and hit Thomas before he galloped 63 yards to the end zone.
switch
  • One thing that has stood out as a negative with Barrett is his touch on corner routes in the end zone. This is the second game in a row in which Barrett has had his receiver open on a corner route for what should be an easy touchdown, but he has underthrown the ball on both occasions.
  • On Baugh's touchdown catch, Barrett threw the ball with perfect accuracy, giving Baugh a chance to use his big frame to box out the defender (who was in good coverage on the play).

Third Quarter

  • Barrett was only in for one series, dropping back twice, completing his two passing attempts and throwing for one touchdown.
  • Even though the scoreboard showed that the game was well over at this point, I felt that Barrett still needs every bit of experience and he should have finished out the quarter. He faces a tougher defense in practice, but game speed and atmosphere cannot be replicated in practice.