Ohio State Football: Was J.T. Barrett Too Careful In 2016?


Part of the problem with the Ohio State passing game?

From a statistical standpoint, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett had a fine 2016 season. After all, he was the co-winner of the Silver Football Award as the top player in the Big Ten. But would he have had even more success if he hadn’t been so careful with the football.

Urban Meyer, like all great coaches, preach ball security and want to limit interceptions. But if that is the overriding concern for a quarterback, it can limit his aggressiveness and won’t allow him to fully utilize his natural abilities.

Sometimes the QB won’t take a chance at squeezing a pass into a covered receiver, that if completed would result in a big play. Is that what happened to Barrett this past season?

When you compare Barrett’s stats last season to his freshman year at Ohio State, it would appear that may be the case. Yes, J.T. had a couple of future NFL players to throw to in the 2014 season, but nobody had Devin Smith or Michael Thomas pegged as being outstanding receivers going into the season. Don’t you think a large part of their success was the guy throwing them the football?

In 2014, Barrett threw 10 interceptions to 7 last season while throwing 65 fewer passes. However, he passed for 34 touchdown passes vs 24, 2,834 yards vs 2,555 and his quarterback rating was 34 points higher at 169.8. His yards per pass attempt was at 9 in 2014 but 6.7 last season.

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This while Barrett averaged 1 interception every 31.4 throws in 2014, but only 1 in 54.1 during the 2016 season. His ball security wasn’t as good as a freshman but he was a much more productive quarterback.

Every Buckeye fan who watched J.T. Barrett last season saw that at times it looked like he wanted to make a throw but held up. He would often then throw the ball away or would tuck it and run.

Throwing the ball away reduced his interception total but his completion percentage as well by three points. Ironically, even though he ran 34 more times last season than in his freshman year, his rushing yards and touchdown total was down. Possibly teams were expecting him to take off running with the ball?

It could have been that the former quarterback coach and offensive coordinator coached Barrett to be overly conscious concerning ball security. If that was the case, it won’t be an issue next season as they are coaching at other schools. Whatever the reason, the numbers say J.T. is a better quarterback when he isn’t too careful with the football and is willing to take some chances.

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I’m sure Urban Meyer doesn’t want J.T. Barrett to go out and become a turnover machine, but I’ll bet he would like the Buckeye quarterback to be a little more aggressive in the passing game. Just for him to play smart, but not too careful.