Why Ohio State Can Ask J.T. Barrett To Do Less With More

By Patrick Maks on August 20, 2014 at 5:56p
Corey Smith, Dontre Wilson, and Michael Thomas are just a few of the weapons Ohio State has at its disposal.
63 Comments

For the better part of the last three seasons, Braxton Miller has been the face of Ohio State football and the crux of the Urban Meyer era. 

In his senior year, the star quarterback was supposed to guide the No. 5-ranked Buckeyes on a redemption-fueled quest for championships. He was supposed to be a Heisman frontrunner.

A season-ending shoulder injury (torn labrum) thwarted rosy picture Monday afternoon. And when it happened, it made Meyer's stomach turn. 

"It was devastating," he said. "It was a bad deal." 

Because the Buckeyes lost arguably their most valuable player and it stung even more considering a newfound cache of targets he was supposed to throw to this fall. The combination was supposed to be a fully-functioning display of Meyer's vaunted spread offense. 

"I haven't had any weapons like that since I was in high school," Miller said in February. Which is why, for the last six months, Miller gushed about the influx of skill players to Ohio State's offense. 

Players like Dontre Wilson, Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Jeff Heuerman, Corey Smith, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Ezekiel Elliott, Curtis Samuel and more offered Miller a surplus of options he hasn't had in the passing game.

That kind of talent still exists on the team's roster with or without Miller behind center.

"We’ve got a lot more playmakers this year that can make plays with the ball than we have in years past, we probably got three, four, five more playmakers than we did in years past coming into this season," Heuerman said. "We’re gonna rely on some of them to make a lot of plays."

The difference, of course, is who's throwing the football to them. Charged with filling the massive and probably oversized shoes of Miller is redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who Meyer called a "meticulous" distributor compared to his more dynamic counterpart. He's not Miller, and it seems hard to imagine Ohio State will ask him to be. 

"We’re gonna have to account for some of the things we’re not gonna have with Braxton not out there. It’s no secret or anything, he’s probably one of the most explosive players to ever play this game," Heuerman said. "We’re not naive to that and we’re gonna have to make up some ground."

It's why Barrett can be asked to do less with more. 

"A quarterback's an important cog, but that's exactly what it is: it's a cog. It's not the team," Meyer said. 

Don't take that the wrong way, though. The Buckeyes will miss Miller's unusual athleticism and he did things on the field that few across the country can. Ohio State is not better off without him. Far from it. The Buckeyes, however, can still win without him. 

"There's 100 yards of offense that has to be made up somewhere. Probably more than that, but just strictly with his skill level, you've got 100 yards of offense that we find whether it's rushing, passing, extending plays and I think I see some excitement that there's 100 more yards out there for someone to have," Meyer said.

"There was a time two years ago when Braxton right and Braxton left was our best way of getting a first down. When Jordan Hall got hurt, Carlos (Hyde) was still 240-some pounds and not what we're looking for. And the offensive line was just maturing. Jeff Heuerman hadn't become a target yet. Devin (Smith) was inconsistent, Philly was Philly and Evan wasn't what he is now."

After time for Meyer to assemble a cast of players that perhaps better suit his style of play, Ohio State can mitigate the loss of Miller. 

"There's been some nice growth over the other positions so I'm anticipating a much different offense from certainly what you saw two years ago and a little bit more evenly spaced out than it was last year." 

63 Comments

Comments

J.Mo's picture

It's not a coincidence that JT Barrett wears no. 16 either.

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Just like 02...

So half of us will die of a heart attack. XD

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

+1 HS
buckeyepastor's picture

If J.T. and Cardale can be decisive and make the correct reads, everything we want this season is still within reach.  Well, except the Heisman.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Citrus's picture

Don't count EZE out! I think this means the run game is leaned on a bit more. Or perhaps the same as last year but the RB position leaned on more. That means plenty of chances for EZE. I fully expect 1300+ yards out of him.

+6 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Agreed. I don't think the QB will run as much, but the RB position will more a bit more. Also, the H back position will not be just a decoy, but get carries as well. After reading up on J T and his recruitment, I feel a lot better about him as well. If not for an injury his senior year, he could well have been the top dual-threat QB in his class and a 5 * recruit.  GO BUCKS!

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

+2 HS
nfischer's picture

I love EZE BUT 1300 yards?  I do not see it happening.  To much competition for touches, even with Miller out of the equation.  But my, how I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

+4 HS
Citrus's picture

Herman has some predictable qualities. When something works, he tends to become obsessed with it, particularly in close games. Last year that was Brax and secondarily Hyde. This year I am predicting EZE demonstrates he is the best Buckeye back. He'll get 20 carries a game. Maybe more in tight games. In the early part of the sea on he'll let someone else chew some forth quarter yards but when it counts EZE will be the one out there. 

Hyde ran for 1500 yards last year despite missing two games. It is not far fetched that removing Brax and adding two more games, that EZE can come within 200-300 yards of that. 

+1 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

If Elliott was THE guy getting the bulk of the carries, he could easily get 1300 yards.  However, I don't see it happening just because like you said, lots of touches probably to go around for everyone.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
awlinBrutus's picture

Exactly. He showed flashes last year. He has the speed to turn the corner. yet he's a chiseled 210 pounds and looks like he can run inside as well.I think he could pass 1600 rushing yards if he gets big numbers in the early part of the schedule. We potentially could play 14 games if we qualify for a bowl. then again what if Samuel blows up right away? We may have a real balanced offense as far as touches for each player. Eze just looks like he has that "it" factor when he runs. O H......

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

+1 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

And 600 yards for Samuel!!

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Well, except the Heisman.

Who knows, brother Pastor? Johnny "Cleveland" and Jameis "Crab Legs" Winston had as much experience as JT. Stranger things have happened. Agree, though, nothing has changed as far as goals and expectations - from the lips of Urban to the ear of El Elyon!

+3 HS
DefendYoungstown's picture
JT & C
#2014yearofthe2headedmonster   #shocktheworld

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

+3 HS
DefendYoungstown's picture

duplicate

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

cinserious's picture

Cordale is the head on our right and J.T. is the one on the left.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

+1 HS
theopulas's picture

a redshirt freshmen has won it 2 years in a row.....

Theopulas

+2 HS
cinserious's picture

Hopefully we can make that 3 years in a row!

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

+1 HS
BassDropper's picture

Mike Thomas is going to give DBs nightmares this year.

DIRECTIONER

+11 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Mike Thomas is going to give DBs nightmares this year.

Dude is freakin' huge! Dontre's no skinny frosh anymore, either. Coach Mick, take a bow (and give me 50 pushups; 100 lunges and 200 sit ups)!

+2 HS
Furious George 27's picture

I have never seen use of the word "crux" so much in my life the last few days.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+2 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Who can forget the Krukker in the All Star game, ducking out of the way of Randy Johnson's 100 mph b-b's sailing over his head?

+5 HS
southbuc's picture

Half the man he used to be.  

+2 HS
JBuckeye's picture

Half the man he used to be.  

And not quite as ballsy either I've heard! 

+1 HS
nm_buck's picture

The crux of the biscuit is in the apostrophe.

Norwalk's picture

I thought he hurt his shoulder and was in a sling...I don't understand why he needs cruxes.

+2 HS
Mortc15's picture

I thought he had horcruxes for not ever getting seriously hurt, instead of never dying. 

​(A little Harry Potter humor for those who arent aware) 

Buck-I4Life

chemicalwaste's picture

I'd love to see these guys really step up and make it easy on the young qb to practically give them the ball and let them make him look good. It's not going to be easy, but with this group, it's not impossible. Whether it's experience that helps them or raw talent, these guys can get the job done with enough focus, staying healthy, and more importantly, staying out of trouble. The last one is the easy one.

DefendYoungstown's picture

One game at a time, these guys will be hungry. tOSU vs World, #shocktheworld

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

+3 HS
zenshade's picture

The 2011 team called and they want their meme back. In fact, they did such a tremendous job of shocking Buckeye fans that season that we're sealing #SHOCKTHEWORLD in concrete and dropping it in the nearest ocean.

cal3713's picture

Really excited to see the staff earn their money this year.

+6 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

This is what makes college football so great.  You have boys learning to be men.  I, for one, think this is an exciting time to be  a Buckeye.

New York Buckeye

+4 HS
jrunyan's picture

So...I don't want to sound like a complete idiot, but the only face I recognize in the photo is D. Wilson. Who is #3 and #84? 

(covers face in Buckeye shame)

jrunyan's picture

Never mind. Just discovered 11w has a football roster page!

#3 = Michael Thomas; #84 = Corey Smith

(uncovers face from Buckeye shame)

+6 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Going by the jersey numbers:

#3 Michael Thomas

# 84 Corey Smith

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

+1 HS
Faded Trey's picture

#3 Michael Thomas 

#84 Corey Smith

For future reference: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/roster

whiskeyjuice's picture

I am going to go out and have a few drinks, maybe a few shots then come back and go to sleep. When I wake up, it better be August 30th, dammit

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+10 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Better have more than "a few drinks, maybe a few shots" if you're gonna pass out until 30 Aug, my brother!

+2 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

I'll join you in the premium lounge, whiskey.

Codeezy's picture

I'll take a Dewars on the rocks. That's my crux. 

cinserious's picture

How many helmet stickers will a Chivas Regal set me back?

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

This is a huge help that JT will have a cast of blossoming playmakers around him.  It will give him a chance to grow into the position through the year.

Go Bucks!

BoFuquel's picture

Everybody knows the center is the crux, we lernt that frum Fat Albert in the 1960"s. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+1 HS
Log Jammin''s picture

Our supporting cast looks great on paper, can't wait till they get to show their wares!

Steven J McCluskey

SpielmanForPres's picture

I honestly believe the offense is the least of our worries. The defense needs to become solid, hopefully stellar. 

+2 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I just read an article on Yahoo! about our new QB and the author of the article called him, "T.J. Barrett."

 

 

robobuck's picture

HA! Everyone knows it's J.T. Barnett

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
rdubs's picture

Check the author, probably Mowins doing some freelancing on the side.  Not sure ESPN will approve.

+2 HS
droessl's picture

Can JT be our Tee Martin? 

+2 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

JT still sounds like Tressel to me... hard to shake that for a red shirt frosh

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+2 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

How about we call JT Barrett JTBaller?

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

What a weird year now, trying to compare it to anything other than tat gate and coming up with nothing... Our NC hopes are probably gone (I hope not, but reality is reality) but we can still win the Big Ten, finally!  Who knows how this will all shake out, but we didn't hold open tryouts for QB, did we? These guys are good. Recruited for a reason. Are they NC good? I doubt it at this point. But, who the hell knows.  It will be a hell of a ride, though.. 

BeatTTUN's picture

Ohio State has never been this DEEP with Play makers, 05 is the closest and I'll take this years Plethora of speed over that crew.

Just get a pencil and paper and then start putting together personnel groupings we will throw at defenses this year.

Go Buckeyes Beat Michigan

cinserious's picture

I like your optimism, but for the most part, its all just pencil and paper so far. Aside from Dontre Wilson and EzE, all the new guys are unproven talent. The '05 playmakers were badass! Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, Robisky, Troy Smith, Sanzenbacher. THEY proved it on the field that year!  

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

+3 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Looking forward to the season, it will be 100% different offense than last year... Miller was the only real legacy returning.  Sure makes it more exciting not knowing what to expect... Indeed Pick up that Rifle!!!

+1 HS
BucksHave7's picture

Whenever the Buckeyes seem to get toasted by other offenses, its been because they find the seams, short and quick screen passes.   We dont need someone who can throw the ball 50 yards downfield for that.

BucksHave7

+2 HS
RUNTOWIN's picture

That 100 yards they find that Braxton creates can more than be made up for by completing intermediate passes accurately and on rhythm.  When the ball is thrown on time, with anticipation, and accurately that's when these guys can eat up YAC.  A 10 yard completion to a WR/Slot running through a vacancy in a one can turn into 30 yards really fast if thrown on time and accurately.  So many of Braxton's completion like that were to late preventing the receiver from having space to eat up after the catch.

IF JT is as accurate as they say, the 100 yards can be made up.

buckuar's picture

I live in Florida and, of course, all of the G fans are reveling in the injury.  Classy, as usual... 

However, I did have a conversation this morning with one of them and he complimented the tape he'd seen on Barrett.  The point I brought up to him is that this isn't a situation (like in the NFL) where your backup quarterback is a journeyman who is just the best "other guy."  This is a situation where, had Braxton left after last year, one of these guys was going to have the starting job anyway. 

Is it ideal?  Of course not.  I'm not so jaded that I would ever say that.  But, I'm looking forward to seeing where this all heads.  I will continue to watch EVERY Saturday and see what this year and the VERY bright future holds.  I'm looking forward to "meeting" the new team this year even more than any other year.  

I don't know that I have the confidence of making the playoffs or even the B1G Championship game, but it's going to be one HELL of a ride. 

Go Bucks.   

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

JT Barrett is the 1st QB that was handpicked for OSU by Meyer and Herman.  Our offense will be more balanced and efficient under Barrett.  Braxton made a lot of great plays with his legs that weren't designed.  We are going to be just fine.  The defense will be much improved this year too.  

+2 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Couldn't agree more with you, Buckeye in SEC.  JT didn't come to us as an average QB.  He was at one point in his HS career the #1 overall dual threat QB, I believe - fell to #3.  Both coaches wanted him, and they got him.

The defense WILL BE a top 30 defense this year, I am confident.  NO WAY they finish in the bottom 30 against the pass this year.  I think we will see the D start to return to greatness, and we all know the offense can score.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
pasadena buckeye's picture

As an optimist I have high hopes that Herman and Meyer will find the right formula to use Barrett and if needed Jones effectively with all the weapons we have at our disposal.  The prospect of the additional touches for the young skill guys has to be getting them pumped up.  My question is if things work out beyond our best expectations with Barrett, what do you next year with Braxton back in the mix?  How will that affect our elite QB recruiting prospects who want to compete for time right away but could see Barrett as their heir apparent for awhile?  While I thought we had a good shot to make the playoffs, I honestly thought 2015 was our year from a player development and unit growth perspective.  Not counting us out at all because one things the Bucks have always done is overcome adversity and Meyer has done nothing but toughen up the locker room culture even more.

Go Bucks!

Pasadena Buckeye

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

I'm just personally excited to see ZEKE "the plumber" get silly

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

OHinKS's picture

What if Barrett or Jones does have a great year and becomes an efficient and productive game manager? What happens when Miller shows up next year? Does a kid coming off a strong year with no redshirt left just burn a year on the bench to a guy coming off major surgery? Do we see a QB battle? Does Miller move to receiver similar to what we saw at Michigan a few years ago?