Ohio State said all spring there was an added emphasis on the deep passing game.
If Saturday’s spring game was any indication, the Buckeyes weren’t lying.
J.T. Barrett, Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins were throwing the ball all around the Ohio Stadium field as the three combined to throw for 626 yards and seven touchdowns. Of those seven, four were of the 30-plus yard variety as both the Scarlet and Gray offenses had receivers running free all afternoon.
It was certainly a different image many had from a year ago when Ohio State simply struggled to get any rhythm going in the passing game.
“I saw some guys, some receivers really step up and make some nice plays,” head coach Urban Meyer said afterward.
So, it certainly begs the question: Was Saturday’s showing a product of it just being the spring game or is that what Ohio State fans should expect from the offense in the fall?
The truth is, it’s probably a little bit of both. The Buckeyes certainly looked more comfortable throwing it deep than they did all of last season, but they also certainly benefited from a spring game environment which featured a game of two-hand touch for a quarter and a half.
Ohio State also showed a bit of creativity, which was somewhat surprising considering the setting. There were bubble screens, pop passes and even a couple of designed passes from players who weren’t quarterbacks. Running back Mike Weber threw a nice ball to Barrett for a 17-yard gain.
“We kind of did a lot of things we’ve been practicing,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “We didn’t necessarily try to hide things but we didn’t try to throw everything out there. I thought we had a solid spring and a lot of areas need improvement.”
There was no question heading into spring ball the area Ohio State needed the most improvement was on offense. Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day were both hired to enhance Meyer’s offense and fix the issues that ultimately led to the Buckeyes’ 31-0 blowout loss to Clemson at the end of last season.
It was just one spring game, but it appears the Ohio State offense is headed back in the right direction.
“I think now this is when you polish up those little details,” Barrett said.
The next test comes Aug. 31.