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Devin Smith and the Barrett effect.

RunEddieRun1983's picture
August 22, 2014 at 9:59pm
23 Comments

I think a lot of people have looked at Devin Smith and realized that while he may not be a totally "complete package" as a wide receiver, he has one trait that makes him very valuable to a football team, and that is the "home run" aspect of playing the position.  Smith can take a streak route to the house at any given time as evidenced in multiple occasions during his career at Ohio State.

My question is, how does having Barrett at QB effect him this season?  I think it's pretty obvious that Barrett's game is going to suit guys like Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall, Johnnie Dixon, Ezekial Elliott, Jeff Heuerman, Nick Vannett, and a lot of the other young playmakers who we are waiting to emerge (Corey Smith, Noah Brown, etc).  He can get the ball to those guys  in short yardage plays, in space, and they can make moves and get into the endzone without needing Barrett to be able to fire it 60 yards down the field to stretch the back end of the defense.

From what I've seen, Devin Smith isn't that shifty, juke, side, step and take off like he was shot out of a rocket, type of WR.  We have a lot of those guys on this team, but I haven't seen that from Smith thus far.  On top of that, he is listed as a starter, so my question again, is what type of effect does having Barrett at QB pose to Smith?  He totally disappeared in some games last year, but will we get to a point where we forget he's even there because his skill set seems not to favor what our new starting QB does??

RKilbane20's picture

Blocking for all those screen passes.

Class of '14 & '16

+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

This. It's the only reason he kept his job last season.

As obsessed as we are with having everybody from the QB to the LG running a 4.3/40, I really think Urban liked having Smith as somewhat of a bully on the edge - a pure blocking WR. 3/4 of the offensive highlights from last year involve Smith.. blocking downfield. I think there were more explosive options at his position, but we didn't need them. He was a big part of the game plan, especially when he didn't have the ball. And if his muscle mass gains are any indication, they don't seem to want to change his role.   

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?

+1 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Here's my two cents:

It's actually more difficult for guys like Devin Smith when the QB is not finding guys in the flank and for the intermediate gains. Witness the B1G championship game. When Brax when down field to Philly, Smith, and Spencer, it seemed like Sparty was completely ready for the deep pass. Blame that on Herman, Brax, or whoever, but consistent distribution and commitment to a diverse playbook (with our embarrassment of riches of playmakers) should do more for getting Devin open than his "shiftiness" and should keep alive his big-play ability.

+1 HS
osu407's picture

I was wondering how it affects Spencer. He doesn't have the speed of Smith, and I'm not sure I've even heard his name more than once since his recovery. 

BrooklynBuckeye's picture

A couple people brought up Devin's blocking, but I got the impression from the coaches' comments that Spencer was the best blocking wr. That is obviously attractive to the coaches. At the same time, though, that big dropped pass on third down against sparty probably made the coaches wonder how Michael Thomas would have progressed without a redshirt, or if Spencer would have been passed by a healthy James Clark. Spencer is solid, but may have reached his relatively low ceiling. It will be interesting to see how much pt he gets. I'm guessing it dips as the season goeas on and the young bucks develop.

+3 HS
Tampabuckeye85's picture

I don't think it has any impact on him. Kenny G didn't have a strong arm and they hold the record for the longest play from scrimmage. I think it's more about Devin holding on to the ball when it hits his hands and he will have plenty of opportunities to streak down the field.

OSUBias's picture

I'll flip it and say it could have a positive impact. If Smith gets better into and out of his breaks on intermediate routes, and Barrett can time his throws better than Braxton (not a high bar), he could easily have better production this year. 

And I'm not sure I agree that JT can't throw the deep ball. There's more to it than a rocket arm, and JT is supposed to have great touch. 

Shitter's full

RunEddieRun1983's picture

Not that I was saying he had no arm strength, but it is a widely accepted notion that he doesn't have Braxton's arm strength.  He does however possess the touch that Braxton has seemed to lack.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

JohnnyKozmo's picture

I'm sure J.T can throw it further than 15 yds.  He doesn't have to throw it 60yds in the air to complete a 60yd pass play.  Accuracy is just as, if not more important than arm strength.  If Devin beats his man off of the LOS, and J.T. hits him in stride 20-30yds down field, he's gone.  Under throw or over throw while zipping it in, and it's incomplete, intercepted, or down where he catches it.  I wouldn't worry about Devin, or any other deep threats.  Get open and J.T. will get you the ball.

+1 HS
allinosu's picture

We all have heard utilizing all the weapons before. Hopefully it is time to do it. Sounds like JT is a "keep the chains moving kind of guy" which is fine with me.

Little Dan's picture

I really like Devin Smith mostly because he has made quite a few awesome catches. I think he's the real deal.

Little Dan

Drewbuckeye's picture

Not shifty? I think it was the Indiana game the 12-0 year where he broke or made a few guys miss on his way to a good touchdown. He just doesn't have as many chances to make jukes because he makes catches with guys right on him or the home run catch

F--- Michigan!

cdub4's picture

Smith is not considered shifty. Meyer would not have been complaining about not having playmakers if Smith and Philly were shifty players.

+1 HS
robobuck's picture

I think.Devin is a guy that can "get under" a long.pass as he burns a db. Barrett can toss the rock as evidenced by his tape from 2 years ago. I'm guessing he.can throw it a tad farther at 19 with a year under Mr Mariotti than he did at 17. Let's hope I'm right :)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

+1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Strong arm or not, I'm sure J T can whip it 30 or 40 yards and hit Devin in stride and he can take it the rest of the way for a long one. J T doesn't necessarily have to rocket it 60 yards for Devin to be e deep threat. Devin might be more of a threat than ever if someone can hit him in stride 20, 30, or 40 yards downfield.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”

+2 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

I literally just posted the same thing above, and must have been typing when you clicked save.  Great minds think alike.

+1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

How true.

The ability to get the ball to a receiver other than the primary would be a big help too !

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Completely agree.  Interesting to see Meyers comments about seeing a different offense with J.T., more like the Kenny G offense.  It makes me wonder-were the coaches just so reliant on Braxton's playmaking ability (and rightfully so), or was it a knock on him as a QB in terms of reading a defense and executing the plays?

+1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

They definitely chose Braxton playmaking ability and breakaway run threat over KG's accuracy and progression skills. Braxton was more of a threat to run whereas KG and I think J T will be more of a threat with the pass.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”

JohnnyKozmo's picture

I wasn't saying picking Braxton over KG, but the play-calling.  I understand Braxton is the superior athlete, but in terms of your point about hitting someone other than a primary receiver, it seemed like that happened far more with KG in the game than Braxton.  Meyer referenced a different offense earlier in the week when talking about J.T.  My point was, were they calling plays for Braxton where it was a single read, then use his legs because that's the next best option, or was he just not getting to his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reads, like KG did regularly.

TURD_BUCKET's picture

They will call the plays that best suit the skills of the QB, no doubt.  I always thought KG was better at getting the ball to 2nd and 3rd receivers. I never really thought about Braxton having plays that were single read or then run option, I always assumed he just wasn't as good as KG with the progressions. I'm guessing UFM is talking about getting the ball spread around a bit more than with J T ( like KG ), regardless of the reasons, which might also include the improvement of the receivers.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”

Knarcisi's picture

The only stat I care about is Ws. 

sivaDavis's picture

I think Barett and this quick passing game could actually help Devin. Quick outs and screens help verticals WRs. Just look at the Cal game and Guiton's first TD throw. Fake screen streak, Devin over the top when the corner bites and the safety cheats. Alot more of those, combined with some double moves from out and ups. Devin should have more chances for big plays actually.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes