The Buckeye offense continued where they left off against Nebraska, by putting up a mirror image on the scoreboard — 62-3 in favor of Ohio State. The offense continued to be called in a way that allowed J.T. Barrett to get into an early rhythm, which included getting the ball to their premiere play maker, Curtis Samuel. The offense came out and showed an empty set on multiple occasions throughout the first drive, which allowed Barrett to make easy reads and get into a flow.
Barrett did miss a couple of deep throws again, but he was more consistent in the intermediate game and in the deep game than he has been so far this season. The staff seems hell-bent on improving his deep ball. If the Buckeyes were to make it to the playoff, they can’t run the ball the majority of the time or just throw quick stuff — they need to make opposing defenses respect them downfield, which will then open up more running lanes.
They have one more game to iron out the passing game before they face a legitimate defense and it looks like they are on the right track.
J.T. Barrett’s passing chart versus Maryland
|Designed runs||Dropbacks||Completions||Incompletions||Total TD||Scrambles||Overthrows||Throwaways|
|Pressured||Sacked||Hit||Pass break-up||Batted at LOS||Drops||Turnovers||Defensive PI|
Once again, the offensive line did an excellent job protecting Barrett, allowing him to stay comfortable in the pocket. After allowing 26 pressures, seven hits and six sacks against Penn State, the offensive line has allowed 14 pressures, five hits and two sacks during the following three games. As mentioned above, Ed Warinner is working extremely hard to get the passing game ironed out before they play Michigan and possibly the playoff. They came out in an empty set on the first drive and hit some short stuff to keep the defense honest, before unleashing Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel.
On deep balls, Barrett was able to cut his overthrows to just one on the day — which should have resulted in a touchdown — but he was also helped by three defensive pass interference calls, which were caused by inaccurate throws. Samuel also dropped a would-be touchdown on a slightly underthrown deep ball by Barrett — still, it should have been caught. Overall, Saturday was a step in the right forward for Barrett’s deep ball accuracy, as he showed shades of his consistent 2014 season.
Even if his deep ball accuracy has been off lately, his movement in the pocket has continued to be one of his better traits. Barrett has to be one of the best in the country at sensing pressure, evading the rush, keeping his eyes downfield and making a throw. One thing I noticed recently (in the video below) is when they motion the running back into the flats, Barrett will run the ball if a linebacker follows the running back — which signifies man coverage — and he will look to throw if he sees they are in zone. Something to keep an eye on in the future.
ESPN #blessed us with the All-22 during the third quarter, which is something they should do more often. On one of the plays that was shown, Barrett was extremely late on a throw, which should have resulted in an interception. He seems to miss a couple of throws in the middle of the field per game, and on this play, Barrett waited for K.J. Hill to get to the area, rather than throwing to the spot on his break.
Maryland had a linebacker spying Barrett in the middle, while lined up in man coverage on Hill. Hill is running a simple 10-yard in pattern.
Hill jab-steps to the left, turning the defender’s hips to the outside. Hill breaks inside and has already beaten the defender. The spying linebacker has moved off his spot in the middle of the field to help with another route — reading Barrett’s eyes. Barrett needs to throw the ball right now to where Hill will be and not wait for the linebacker to get back into the passing lane.
Barrett waited for Hill to be completely open, which then allowed the linebacker to move into the passing lane and tip the ball into the air. If the quarterback threw to the open spot on Hill’s break rather than waiting for him to gain complete separation, this play had touchdown potential. It’s the little things that Barrett is seeming to miss this season, compared to his 2014 campaign.
Plays like this don’t matter much in a 59-point blowout, but they will matter when they lose a one possession game against Michigan, Alabama or Clemson. A play like this could have went for six, or could have been picked off by an NFL-bound linebacker from a playoff team.
I’m sure a play like this will be replayed in the film room.