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Ohio State football: Breaking down J.T. Barrett vs. Virginia Tech

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J.T. Barrett was under siege all night against Virginia Tech. See where the offensive breakdowns occurred and how they could have been countered.

Jamie Sabau

Total Game Summary

Designed runs Drop-backs Completions Incompletions TD Pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
9 46 9 16 1 7 7 3 1
Sacked Hit during throw Pressured Batted at LOS Drop Pass break-up Interceptions TD Run Defensive PI
8 8 15 1 3 5 3 1 2

  • J.T. Barrett dropped back 46 times versus Virginia Tech, drop-backs do not include designed runs.
  • Out of those 46 drop-backs, he was sacked eight times, pressured an additional 15 times and was forced to scramble seven times.
  • I thought his first half was solid and he was making good decisions in both the run and pass game.
  • Barrett had seven designed runs in the first half compared to only two in the second half.
  • Barrett had three underthrows in the first half compared to zero in the second half; he also had only one overthrow in the first half compared to six in the second half. The numbers show that the Virginia Tech pressure led to the overthrows.
  • As we were told in the preseason, Barrett has limited arm strength on deep throws compared to Braxton Miller; it showed on a couple of instances in the first half.
  • Michael Thomas ran good routes and seemed to get open more than any other receiver, I would expect Barrett to lean on Thomas as the season goes on.
  • I am very concerned about the lack of targets to Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett, especially versus Cover 0.
  • I thought the play calling should have called for more quick throws (slants, hitches, in's, TE seam) versus Virginia Tech's Cover 0. If they were hit early, they would have had to change up their coverage.
  • I broke down the final six sacks which happened in the final 9 minutes of the fourth quarter.

First Quarter

Designed runs Drop-backs Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
5 6 1 2 0 1 0 2 0
Sacked Hit during throw Pressured Batted at LOS Drop Pass break-up Interceptions TD run Defensive PI
0 1 2 0 1 1 0 1 2

  • On first-and-goal, Barrett had Corey Smith wide-open on a corner route. He underthrew the ball badly and got bailed out by a pass interference call due to his underthrow. It should have been an easy touchdown.
Corey Smith

  • I really liked the play calling in the first quarter. They got Barrett out of the pocket and called shorter, simpler routes for him to complete. Getting Barrett out of the pocket limited pressure and got him into a rhythm.
  • Barrett made a nice throw on play-action where he hit Michael Thomas on a simple out-route.

Second Quarter

Designed runs Drop-backs Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
2 13 3 4 0 1 1 1 1
Sacked Hit during throw Pressured Batted at LOS Drop Pass break-up Interceptions TD run Defensive PI
2 4 6 1 1 1 0 0 0

  • Barrett stayed in the pocket and took a big hit as he made a great throw to Wilson on a go route, which included a great catch by the speedy receiver.
  • They started to target Virginia Tech nickelback Chuck Clark, beating him a couple of times in the slot.
  • Todd Blackledge and Brad Nessler talked about Barrett's development during the second quarter and his comfort in both the running and passing game so far.
  • Barrett made a great throw, showing poise in the pocket and hitting Smith right in the hands in the endzone but it was dropped. Had Smith made the catch, it would have tied the game at 14 and the Buckeyes would have had the momentum. Instead, they ended up missing a field goal and getting zero points on the drive.
  • After the dropped touchdown, Barrett was bombarded with pressure but he made a good decision and threw the ball away, it was his only throwaway on the night.
  • Virginia Tech started to get to Barrett late in the second quarter, setting up for a pressure-filled second half.

Third Quarter

Designed runs Drop-backs Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
2 10 2 6 1 1 2 0 0
Sacked Hit during throw Pressured Batted at LOS Drop Pass break-up Interceptions TD run Defensive PI
0 2 3 0 1 3 1 0 0

  • Barrett threw a nice deep ball to Evan Spencer on 3rd-and-10 but the ball was covered well by the cornerback and broken up.
  • I also thought he gave Smith a good chance on a deep ball on 2nd-and-21 with 7:19 left in the 3rd quarter but it was dropped.
  • The interception was an overthrow into double coverage; bad decision and bad throw by Barrett.
  • Seems like Virginia Tech was forcing Barrett to keep the ball on the outside zone option but he pre-determined a few reads.
  • Curtis Samuel and Barrett had a great two play sequence on back-to-back option plays.
  • I loved the play-call on 3rd-and-4 when Barrett hit Thomas for the touchdown. With Virginia Tech playing Cover 0 for the majority of the game, they needed more slants and quick throws to allow the outside playmakers to make plays after the catch rather than beat the talented Hokies cornerback's deep.

Fourth Quarter

Designed runs Drop-backs Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
0 17 3

4

0 2 4 0 0
Sacked Hit during throw Pressured Batted at LOS Drop Pass break-up Interceptions TD run Defensive PI
6 1 4 0 0 0 2 0 0

  • This is the quarter where Bud Foster started to bring pressure from all angles by bringing six-plus pass rushers on almost every drop-back.
  • Out of Barrett's 17 drop-backs, he was sacked six times and pressured an additional four times.
  • When watching the game in real-time, it is easy to see the sacks and pressures and assess blame to the offensive line. But in reality, it was a combination of the entire offense, including Barrett.
  • When it comes to Barrett, he has to do a better job at making pre-snap reads and identifying where the pressure may come. Once he identifies the extra defender, he is now responsible for him and he needs to hit the hot route of where the pressure is coming. For instance, if they bring two linebackers and they are in Cover 0, a running back or tight end should be open, depending on the offensive personnel.
  • Virginia Tech started to blitz the cornerback late in the game which were not delayed but rather obvious pre-snap. Both times, the receiver on the play recognized this pre-snap, raised his hand then ran a simple hot route. Barrett was looking the opposite way both times and as a result, was sacked on both occasions. I feel like at that point, Barrett was rattled and he was not as mentally sharp as he was in the beginning of the game.
  • Here is a look of the sacks in the 4th quarter:
1.
Hot read

2.
Pocket

3.
LB sack

4.
Price

5.
Smith

6.
Thomas

7. Barrett was not sacked on the play but the pressure got to Barrett, forcing him to miss a wide-open Wilson. Barrett needs to put more air under the ball and allow Wilson to make a play:
Wilson