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J.T. Barrett brought tempo and calmness to the Ohio State offense vs. Penn State

After seven weeks, the number one team in the country might be making a switch at the most important position on the field. See if the film agrees.

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James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The storyline changes week-to-week for the 2015 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes and it is about to change again, hopefully for the final time.

Urban Meyer reiterated that Cardale Jones had yet to be beaten out on the practice field or during J.T. Barrett's limited game snaps, but it may have happened on national television, in front of a packed Ohio Stadium. Jones came out and struggled from his first throw to his last, while Barrett reverted back to the player who finished fifth in last year's Heisman voting. The team captain brought tempo and a sense of calmness to the offense, not to mention an added dimension in the run game.

Let's take a look at the film:

Cardale Jones

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scramble Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 14 5 7 0 0 2 1 1
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
1 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0

*Tap passes do not count as attempts

  • 34 total plays, 141 total yards, 0 touchdowns.
  • There isn't much to say here. Jones was erratic from the start and barring one decent drive, the offense was stagnant and the execution level was low.
  • Jones missed big time on the first third down play of the game, overshooting a wide open Braxton Miller, who sat down on a 10-yard curl in a soft spot in Penn State's zone defense. These are the types of throws that need to be completed every single time and especially on third down.
  • A reoccurring issue happened on the second third down try of the game. Jones hit Jalin Marshall three yards short of the sticks, with two defenders clearly behind him. Jones was not mentally sharp on Saturday.
  • It is completely inexcusable for this offense to not gain a yard, nevermind put themselves into field goal range or score a touchdown after starting their third drive on the opponent's 35-yard line. The special teams has been excellent this year, giving the offense favorable field position and they have left countless points off the scoreboard due to their inefficiency.
  • One could argue that Jones' biggest contributions of the night came on two blocks he made on Miller first down runs.

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scramble Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
9 6 4 0 2 2 0 0 0
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0

*Tap passes do not count as attempts

  • 32 total plays, 270 total yards, 5 touchdowns.
  • When looking at the chart, the vast number of designed runs and scrambles are concerning, compared to the amount of pass attempts. This could be due to a limited red zone playbook that is based on the quarterback run option, but it will be something to keep an eye on if Barrett is named the full-time starter.
  • Barrett put on a zone read clinic:
  • 1)
  • 2)
  • 3)
  • Coach Meyer dusted off the old Florida playbook, calling a jump pass. Florida ran it out of 02 (2 TE, 3 WR) personnel grouping, Ohio State ran it out of 01 (4 WR, 1 TE) personnel grouping.
  • Miller actually sold it better than Nelson and the Penn State defensive back bit harder than the Oklahoma defensive back.
  • Barrett's performance speaks for itself. He gives this team a better chance to win football games when he is the starting quarterback. In my opinion, the team looks on edge with Jones under center and with Barrett, it is quite the opposite.

Running backs/ H-backs

  • Ezekiel Elliott's touchdown run showed off his speed to get to the perimeter, then his power to break multiple tackles, en-route to the endzone. Buckeye fans better appreciate him, as his time here is quickly coming to an end.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Elliott broke 11 tackles and gained just shy of 100 yards after contact against Penn State. After seven games, Elliott has forced 28 missed tackles and should easily pass his total of 41 from all of last season.
  • Braxton Miller has been used creatively in the past two weeks. It may not show up on the stat sheet, due to a few big losses on jet sweeps, but he has been put into positions where he can succeed. With the amount of attention Miller receives, it would be smart to use him more as a decoy on jet motion and quarterback counter going the other way. If Barrett is named starter, I can guarantee we will see triple option and quarterback counter off of Miller's jet sweep motion. His usage seems less forced than it was before and a tandem of Barrett, Elliott and Miller in the backfield is frightening for opposing defenses.
  • Below, they showed a new formation, where Miller is in at quarterback with Jones flanking him. He showed his elite athleticism and vision when he bounced the play outside (Jones helped with a block) to convert the first down.
  • Elliott continues to be the best lead blocking and pass protecting running back in the country. Here is a good example of him cutting the outside linebacker to spring Miller:
  • Curtis Samuel has been M.I.A on the offensive side of the ball since his apparent injury a couple of weeks ago. That needs to change.

Wide receivers

  • Jalin Marshall had another solid game. He is special on quick and intermediate routes and he should only benefit from Barrett's quick decision making and short to intermediate accuracy. He has been superb as a punt returner.
  • Thomas made his mark a few times throughout the night and like Marshall, he should benefit from Barrett's consistency and intermediate accuracy. Here he is making a one handed touchdown grab on Barrett's perfectly placed ball:
  • They have gotten better, but the receiving corps has taken a step back physically from last year. They are doing a decent job at getting in front of their defender but they aren't as physical and the effort does not look the same as it did in 2014.
  • If Barrett is named the starter, it has to be seen if the quarterback and receivers are on the same page. They clearly were not on the same page with Jones behind center.

Tight ends

  • Here is an example of Vannett making not one, but two key blocks on the edge to spring Miller.
  • Both tight ends were involved in all of the big running plays. Vannett was key in the designed quarterback running plays last season, so a change to Barrett could benefit both tight ends.

Defensive Tidbits

  • It was unfortunate to see Joshua Perry go down on the second play of the game. Luckily, they have Rutgers, a bye week, Minnesota and Illinois before Michigan State. Let the senior linebacker heal for a few weeks before the stretch run at the end of the season. Dante Booker got his first wire-to-wire playing time in the absence of Perry, he struggled a little against the run but he did not make many glaring errors.
  • Gareon Conley had a personal foul but he had a solid day. Ash dialed up a great cornerback blitz on 3rd-and-2, that resulted in a tackle-for-loss.
  • Raekwon McMillan had a tough game against the run. It was very unusual for McMillan to miss key tackles that would have been big stops near the line of scrimmage, that ended up being big plays.
  • Chris Worley has been in on obvious passing downs in the recent weeks. His athleticism at linebacker gives the defense another linebacker to match-up with a running back or tight end.
  • Eli Apple had very good coverage on Chris Godwin, but Godwin just made a great play on the ball, then dragged Apply while he was off-balanced for ten yards.
  • Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington were dominant. According to Pro Football Focus, Bosa and Washington split nine stops (six for Bosa, three for Washington) and eight pressures (four each). They came up with gigantic plays in key spots all night for the defense.
  • Here is Bosa pushing the right tackle back six-plus yards to disrupt Hackenberg.