Film Study: Shallow Gains in the Passing Game Against Indiana

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bucks4nuts's picture

great as always.. 

Im sure the crossing routes will open up other things.. The wheel route and more..

Also.. KJ was open on the crossing routes.. so had options.. 

Improvement this this!

"To The House"

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MountainsAwait's picture

As long as we can continue running the short and intermediate routes effectively, I'm not as stressed about the long passing game. Think about this… Last year, we didn't have these shorrt or intermediate routes, nor did we have a long ball. It's amazing we didn't lose more. it's amazing we didn't lose more.   So even if the long-ball never gets going (though I hope it does) this new addition of effective and creative routes will be greatly welcomed.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity..." -John Muir

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WestDesMoinesBuckeye's picture

Great write up.  How much of the offense was new?  It looked very similair to the plays we have seen for the past several years.  Do you think that this is the offense we will see for much of the year, or were they holding back not wanting to show a lot with Oklahoma coming up?  I was hoping to see some screens integrated into our offense.  

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NuttyBuckeye's picture

I agree, West.  I didn't see very many Kevin Wilson plays.  I thought all looked like UFM plays.  I thought the tempo was quicker than last year, but NO WHERE near what IU was doing.  I fully expected to see our offense move as quickly as the IU offense did.

I was expecting to see his WR bubble screens and other wrinkles that would pick our defense apart.  I really didn't see that... I am hoping we see more plays against the Sooners.  We cannot afford to have a first half like we did last week, or we won't be able to make up for it in the second half.   OU is a better team than Indiana.

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

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cdub4's picture

Kyle, just because I am a numbers guy, and have used the stat before...Barrett threw for 992 yards on 147 attempts in 2015, for 6.7 YPA. I think there is a typo in your chart.

It illustrates the struggles that the passing offense has had post-2014 even more.

Great stuff! I always look forward to the Film Study

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37OH55V's picture

I want to believe we were showing a somewhat "vanilla" offense against Indiana.

But more likely, it was just a rust/timing/nerves issue.

Hopefully Oklahoma doesn't pick on our Corners too badly... But I'm not worried about their defense.
Saturday could be a shootout if the catching game improves.

Winning wins Championships.

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rockyincbus's picture

Watching it again, I think they played it very close to the vest especially in the first half.  I hope you are right about the early "vanilla" offense and I really really hope it was nerves (not hands) that led to the bad drops.

You've got barbecue back there?

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TheDizzle's picture

After how the passing game was last year, I refuse to give them the "vanilla" pass. At least until I see them doing well against good competition

"The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish" - Charlie Chaplin

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Buckeye06's picture

There is no denying they were vanilla in the run game in the game, which caused OSU to stall on a few drives on 3rd and 4th downs.  They were conserving Barrett taking hits, and as the game went on and it was closer, he kept more often to get big yards.  

I'm not giving a pass to the downfield passing, but Barrett did have more time in the pocket in the game.  If Campbell catches that one dropped into his lap are we having this discussion still? 

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Kyle Jones's picture

I agree, that if Campbell hauls that ball in and Dixon doesn't drop that easy catch in the first half, the narrative becomes, "Hooray, the passing game is fixed!!"

However, even though this was a pretty vanilla passing game plan, I doubt there is a whole lot they left out because they're saving it for Oklahoma, I just think they haven't installed a whole lot with new coaches and young WRs.

That said, I do expect to see a lot more in the running game. IU did a good job rolling in and out of the Bear front to throw off the inside run game and OSU did nothing to counter it, which i think is on purpose. I'd expect more perimeter runs to go with some gap schemes like Dart if OU tries to mimic that tactic.

I'd also be willing to guess that Urban was so tentative with JT running last week because he knows the run game will be so important this week. OSU will want it to be a street fight with the Sooners, not a shootout.

bucks4nuts's picture

I won't read into vanilla offenses via the last two years 

"To The House"

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wyatt's picture

No matter the scheme or routes run, they still have to catch the ball. 

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cdub4's picture

It appears JT was only 4-15 on passes longer than 10 yards in the air. I recall 2 of those passes were dropped by Campbell.

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OSU1978's picture

But while concepts like these will work against most, if not all, of the Buckeyes' Big Ten opponents, questions still remain about this offense's ability to perform against the best competition. 

My sentiments exactly.  

OSU can ride the huge talent advantage they generally have making safe passes vs inferior opponents.  How well this offense performs vs the better teams, and particularly the better defenses, will likely determine the outcome of this season.  Hopefully the extraordinary brain trust we have in Meyer, Wilson and Day combined with heavily experienced 5th yr Sr QB JT can get it done.

Go Bucks!

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GareBear's picture

Yep. Still, though we only have a sample size of one game. So we can't be too hasty. Let's see what next weekend brings.

"Because I couldn't go for three." - Woody Hayes

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KBonay's picture

Ask Tom Herman if an offense can be fixed in one game.

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rockyincbus's picture

Very nice film study review.  When I went back a watched, it confirmed for me two big things that remain true of JT and the passing offense.  One, JT isn't nearly as inaccurate on deep throws as the numbers - and his biggest detractors suggest.  He is late, plain and simple. If Day and Wilson can get him to throw on time, especially on downfield throws, he has a chance to have a special senior season. Two, we rely way too much on slow developing crossing routes to have passing game success against good defensive lines.

Side note: Mack has a knack for getting open and we could have hit him downfield for big plays.  I'm a huge Dixon fan but don't be surprised if it is Mack that becomes our Mike Thomas type guy while Campbell is clearly the explosive big-play threat.  Zone 6 started poorly and Campbell's drop was brutal - can we trust him? - but they blocked well and showed potential.

You've got barbecue back there?

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cdub4's picture

I didn't record the game, and my opinion means very little, but I have always felt that JT's biggest issue is ' pulling the trigger'. His arm strength and accuracy may not be elite, but it doesn't have to be in CFB with the weapons he has.

JT is a confident dude, but he is human. Looking at his career arc, I have often wondered if that is a byproduct of the 2015 QB battle, and Jones leading the team to the title. The last thing I would want to do if I was battling someone for a starting spot would be to commit a turnover.

I believe JT even admitted after Cardale left that he looked over his shoulder a little bit. He shouldn't have had to do that last year, or now, but I wonder if not committing turnovers is stuck in his head.

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rockyincbus's picture

100% agree and would add that there will be a time when we will look back at JT's lack of throwing into coverage as one of his biggest strengths.  But, if he starts to anticipate throws just half a beat quicker (a confidence issue), he will really get us rolling.

You've got barbecue back there?

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nickel beer's picture

I agree with you, too, about Mack/Thomas.  Mack is going to happen--no idea when, though.

half machine

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nickel beer's picture

if the catching game improves

Yes, my thoughts, too.  It's really difficult I think to come down to a conclusion about JT's long throws from Thursday night. 

What surprised me was that I didn't see more evidence of an uptempo attack from the offense.  It almost had the feel of a scrimmage pace, especially in contrast to IU's pace, which coupled with their game plan, was obviously effective. 

half machine

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rockyincbus's picture

Good point about the pace.  I am very surprised how selective we were.

You've got barbecue back there?

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TJ1's picture

Great analysis, Kyle; very enjoyable. Love the mesh concept and the wheel route. Incorporating the back shoulder fade would be awesome. I do like that we targeted our TEs. OL protections seemed improved. More Ben Victor.

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Dillon G's picture

That completion to Campbell would ignite the OSU offense for the rest of the evening, with the short passing game taking center stage. Barrett would go 10-14, tallying 209 yards, and post a blistering 267.55 QB rating in the in the second half alone.

Welcome to the wrongly labeled west coast offense, which is Paul Brown and Sid Gillman Ohio River offense. I think the term west coast offense might be Bill Parcels who made the snarky comment, but I would have to crib wikpedia to be sure. 

I love this site. Even (especially) the skull session where DJ takes takes the peanut gallery in stride. Well done.

#walkaway

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

An offense fit for a Weenie Arm.

Snark aside, I do think Wilson and Day are devising offensive pass schemes that play to JTB's strengths. Who needs a howitzer arm when you've got track stars for WR's?

Astute writeup and analysis, Kyle. Thanks for your clarity and visuals.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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awlinBrutus's picture

We don't need a howitzer arm but we have to stretch the field to keep opposing defenses from having all 11 defenders within 10 yards of the LOS like Clemson did. That shuts down the whole offense like we saw last year in the playoffs. And that doesn't mean 50 yard post or go routes. I'm talking about 15-20 yard corner routes like we were hitting against Bama and Oregon. We're not going to bully Bama or other playoff teams with our run game without stretching the field. 

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Buckeye Jack's picture

Watching Lagow run Wilson's explosive offense was highly encouraging.

Imagine the Buckeye's 2018 offense with Burrow or Haskins throwing well positioned darts to WR's - releasing the ball at 1.8 to 2.5 seconds - trusting the WR's to go up and grab whatever comes their way.  And, with 2 great running backs to keep the D-line and LB's plenty busy. An up-tempo attack that will exhaust and confuse D's all season long. And a long-ball or 2 every quarter would top it all off. 

And, like others, I also hope  Wilson/Day//Meyer were holding something big back on Thursday. I have a feeling they were.

And thanks Kyle, for another well crafted article. Great read.

Zone6, with rotating WR's, will have 1000+ yards at all 3 WR positions this season

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dmurder's picture

Watching it live we seemed to abandon the run game at times that was consistently working. Dobbins inside or outside and as a threat to catch the ball as well. I think i saw just a couple draw plays on the night for barrett that he gashed the IU defense for 15-20 yards. My thought is that they knew what would work at times and other times things just blew up on them. 

We seem to struggle in the RED ZONE and 3rd Down in the First half.  i remember Dixon dropping a wide open catch that would have kept the drive going and who knows what happens when you get a whole other set of downs. 

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

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ShawneeBuck74's picture

A fair piece of both sound praise and critique.  Work to be done to get the passing game where it needs to be.

And with this mixed result, JT still wins offensive player of the week.  

You win with people. 

And so forth...

9 Units Strong!

 

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whobdis's picture

What was nice to see was guys were open quite a bit. There are a number situations where JT had multipe guys open. During the game many were complaining about WR not getting open but I seen several open wr's. JT just has to have the confidence to go to them Heck Indy rarely had guys wide open but they throw it anyway

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BUCKAROOTIMESTWO's picture

Whobdis, are you saying you literally saw OSU Receivers with separation and open in the IU game ?  

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rockyincbus's picture

On coaches film from ESPN, you will see Zone 6 wide open down the field on and behind the crossing routes, particularly in the second and third quarters.  A lot of this can be credited to tremendous time to get open as Indiana rarely sent more than 3-4 pass rusher and our line handed them easily.  This isn't a critique of JT but he hasn't developed a chemistry with KJ Hill and Austin Mack yet.

You've got barbecue back there?

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I did not much separation at all. When receivers got separation, JT usually went there. But the route running wasn't crisp at times.

I thought his accuracy was improved (the deep ball that Campbell dropped was beautiful), but not perfect (his completed wheel route to Dobbins was off target). His trust in his receivers seemed to grow. It will be interesting to see how the chemistry develops.

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

The narrative doesn't really change, Barrett has to keep working on learning how to anticipate the routes and try and throw guys open. Keep it going, and just try and get better 

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

The play calls were better. Overall the QB was more decisive. Accuracy and route running are areas for growth.

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

I agree, for the first time in a while I had no complaints on the play calls. 3rd and 3, empty backfield, I'm think QB draw, but no! It's a pass play 

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

So far we have a one game sampling that didn't nearly show 100% of the installed offense, let alone the whole offense.  The improvement from the first half to the second half was huge.  Improvement from game 1 to game 2 is key.  I expect Ohio State's superior coaching staff to maximize that improvement this week.

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awlinBrutus's picture

I remember all of us saying the same thing all year in 2016. That they are not showing the whole playbook and nothing new was run.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Buck'n Crazy 22's picture

I'm just glad I didn't see that god awful jet sweep. That play dropped us behind the line of scrimmage so many times the last two seasons. It's good when the defense doesn't expect it. But when they know it's coming my god it sucks.

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bucks4nuts's picture

However we did see the short side option run 

"To The House"

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awlinBrutus's picture

Or......

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

We're doing as good as JT can do. That's always better than 90% of the nation. Damn playoffs let in the other 10%. Nobody doesn't love JT Barrett but we're not nearly as good as we could/should be.
Platooning usually sucks but beating an opponent by more is always good. If we don't play the back up QB's it's just not fair.
Not talking about the last 6 minutes against UNLV either.

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rockyincbus's picture

While I am critical of JT for hi failure to throw on time, I don't think platooning is the answer.  JT has some weaknesses but his running, leadership and ability to hang on to the ball make him our best option.  I hope to God he improves his anticipation as he gets more confidence with his young receivers.

You've got barbecue back there?

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LeftCoastBrutus's picture

Whatever you are smoking, I would love to have some... we need to play the backups or it's "not fair?" You're kidding, right?

JT is a 63% career passer. I am with whomever said it earlier, it's not his arm strength and skill set that are the question marks. It is:

1. Three OC's in 5 years - Beck might've really set him back in his development, who knows?

2. The (stupid) 2015 QB battle when it was CLEAR Barrett was a better option to lead that team than Cardale Jones. I say that having the utmost admiration for what Jones pulled off during the 2014 postseason, but he wasn't a one-man show out there.

3. Lack of playmakers making, you know, plays on the outside. Finally this year we're seeing some promise, but it's early.

JT is going to be a damn good QB this year, and we've got a legitimate shot at the Nat'l title with him. Without him, a B1G championship berth becomes questionable. The IU game was a perfect example of coaches coaching to strengths (and also being somewhat vanilla know OU loomed). Wilson and Day put Barrett in situations where he and the WRs could succeed. Someone else said it, but I don't really care if a long TD is 50 yards in the air and 20 on the ground or the other way around - Wilson knows he's got speed and he's simply gonna find ways to get guys the ball ASAP, in space and tell them, "you're job is to make one man miss and GO." If it means a bunch more plays like Campbell's score, the open deep shots will come and will be hit (If the WRs catch them).

#GoBucks

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cdub4's picture

Whatever you are smoking, I would love to have some... we need to play the backups or it's "not fair?" You're kidding, right?

What he said.

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DCBuckeye33's picture

God i love these write ups. I hadnt re-watched any of the game, but seeing the all 22 was nice to see some of these things come together. On that first wheel route if JT hits dobbins in stride that goes for at least 20 more yards and maybe more if he can beat the safety coming over. The fact he had to spin back and slow down to catch allowed his defender to make a tackle. I think those plays sharpen up as guys get some more reps together and we see some more chunk plays!!

GO BUCKS

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bucks4nuts's picture

I thought JT "threw him open " but just a touch behind ..

we will see that play a lot this season with variations coming off that cross mesh / ram mesh 

"To The House"

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buck__luv's picture

There were a couple of times in the first half that I was yelling run J.T.--which I could not believe I was saying! It was almost as if he was saying to himself "don't run the ball, whatever you do don't run". He was taking too long waiting for a receiver to get open. He trusted his instinct better in the second half and the score reflected it.

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cdub4's picture

There was one play I remember when he decided to run too late, where I think the LB had his eyes on a WR, and had JT been more decisive he could have gotten the first down, but  the LB focused back on him and stopped him short. It may have been a 3rd when they settled for a FG.

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Blue Eyed Buckeye's picture

3 for 13 ten or more yards downfield is a number any defensive in the league will take.  Until he proves he can do it good defenses are just going to cover everything within 10 yards of the LOS and dare Barrett to complete a ball through the air.
 

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bucks15's picture

This is a far bigger concern to me than hitting the 40+ yard deep ball.  Until we can prove we can throw behind the linebackers with consistency, frankly it doesn't matter much if we hit a deep ball a couple a times a game if we revert back to shallow routes in the meantime.  Point is to keep the linebackers away from the line of scrimmage is going strengthen our strength, the running game.

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bucks4nuts's picture

the mesh / crossing routes helped / will help 

"To The House"

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ShawneeBuck74's picture

All of the WR drops were +10 downfield. So, JT would have been 7 or 8 of 13. Mich better, but still with room for improvement.

You win with people. 

And so forth...

9 Units Strong!

 

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Zimmy07's picture

I am probably in the minority but I don't mind a Field spreading short passing game.  It should keep both the safeties and the linebackers from selling out on the running plays.

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rockyincbus's picture

I am 100% with you but to maximize our talent against good defenses, we will need to work on throwing it quick, not just short. We won't be able to wait on crossing routes to develop against the good d-lines we'll see.

You've got barbecue back there?

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awlinBrutus's picture

It doesn't work Zimmy, Clemson, PSU and MSU losses proved it imo.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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rockyincbus's picture

I am 100% with you but to maximize our talent against good defenses, we will need to work on throwing it quick, not just short. We won't be able to wait on crossing routes to develop against the good d-lines we'll see.

You've got barbecue back there?

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countrybuckeye's picture

a crisp quick throw to a speedy slot receiver on a vertical route may be the best blend of the three facets of that play = catch the press cover D player in transition, the receiver knows it is coming, possible pass interference call when the D player doesn't want to give up a TD

“Save yourself and relax during every game. I recommend a fine bourbon.”

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tcm1968's picture

It's a one game sample but much like last year I kept thinking if Mack is the starter is there really no one else pushing him on the depth chart? I get emotions and first time starter and all that but just a whole lot from him I didn't love. Didn't love he wasn't selling every play. Obvious on running plays he wasn't firing off the line. Especially did't love that 3rd down play on first drive... If you've ever played WR/TE you know from like pee-wee ball that if you are the deepest receiver when a play breaks down you maintain being the deepest receiver. On that 3rd down play on our first drive Mack had one job... run the endline. Instead he broke off from where he should have been going and doubled down on a making a bad play even worse by running straight at Dobbins and pretty much bringing two recievers and two DBs into the exact same space ( something that should never happen). The ball ended up on the endline. Would we have completed the pass? We'll never know... but such horrible execution. 

Here's the clip. Mack ran himself into coverage.... if he runs to the back pylon ( as he's instructed) it's probably 6 points. 

 
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ShawneeBuck74's picture

Mack made 2 other mistakes like this in the game. He's still learning where he needs to be.

You win with people. 

And so forth...

9 Units Strong!

 

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Amalgamate's picture

Mack still appeared to flash open for a second or two - long enough for JTB to deliver the ball though, no? 

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

Awesome work as always, Kyle. Thanks!

I'm glad you chose Rams Mesh, because that curl that sat on the space between the linebackers and safety was something I noticed and was hoping you'd explain in its entirety.

And, just for the record, this interested party didn't have theories, he had guesses.

At best. 

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Dillon G's picture

Just look at that 4.55 speed. Just like Terry Glenn outrunning the "fastest man in the NFL" while still at ND.

#walkaway

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Hockinghillsbilly's picture

I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that JT had almost unlimited time finding receivers in 2014, not so much since then.

That makes a huge difference when a QB can wait as long as they want for a receiver to come open.

Hockinghillsbilly

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jpfbucks01's picture

were there a couple drops sure and Campbell's being the worst, but even with those JT had a long run of the game where he was simply not seeing open receivers even though if you look at the film there are plenty, missing open throws guys, having poor footwork and mechanics, and not being willing to throw into tight coverage.

after opening the game 4-4, he went on the following sequence

INC to Mack

INC to Baugh

COM to Dobbins for 6

Com to Hill for 1

INC to Dobbins

COM to Williams for 5 on 3rd and 9

INC to Dixon - drop

INC to Victor

COM to McClaurin for 3

PI on long att to Mack

INC to to Mack

INC to Baugh

COM to McClaurin for 16

INC to Victor

COM to Campbell for 7

INC throw away

INC to Victor

INC to Campbell

This is from the 11 minutes left of the first qtr until half time ie over a 3rd the game and he went 6-17, or 35% for 38 yards or just over 6 yards per completion and just over 2 yards per att. and 1 PI and 1 drop,

even adding back in the drop and he is maybe 7-17 for about 48 yards yards,,, that's bad QB play by any measure and lasted for about 1/3rd of the game.

He started well, finished ok, but for over a 3rd of the game he didnt see wide open guys, missed open guys, had bad mechanics and footwork on some throws and refused to throw into tight coverage.

He is what he is and we need to understand that and learn to live with it as benching him for his backup is not really an option

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countrybuckeye's picture

my best guess is there will be a gameplan to maximize unpredictability against a talented Sooner squad, both on D and for JT's crew

“Save yourself and relax during every game. I recommend a fine bourbon.”

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"That completion to Campbell would ignite the OSU offense for the rest of the evening, with the short passing game taking center stage. Barrett would go 10-14, tallying 209 yards, and post a blistering 267.55 QB rating in the in the second half alone."

With a QBR like that, by all means let him throw short passes.......

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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Steelydan54's picture

INSANITY is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I refuse to go insane watching this again and will go back to "Beat Michigan" football until I see (with some consistency) a better passing game. Maybe we win the B1G, we must beat scUM, a shot at one and done in the playoffs (is me being optimistic), and we can probably compete well in a NYD bowl game.   Is this the best possible use of a top 5 recruiting class?  I don't think so. Let's hope I'm wrong. 

Steelybuck54

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