Week-Seven: Thoughts On The OSU Offense

Ohio State played their best game of the season Saturday, defeating Penn State at home 38-10. Who stood out for the Buckeyes on offense?

- Safe to say the quarterback rotation is now over, the semi pro-style can be junked, and Ohio State will return to the read-option offense that won them a lot of games last season. J.T. Barrett played like J.T. Barrett, instead of J.T. Bauserman for the first time this year, and he deserves the ball going forward. Case closed.

- Barrett will benefit from getting back to Cupcake City the next three weeks, because while the score might show a blowout, Penn State was anything but a cupcake. Their defensive line is the best OSU has played this season, and Saquon Barkley is going to be heard from the next few years as an elite back. If James Franklin can build an offensive line that is above average, then he can hang his hat on Barkley. Their defense is solid as heck, and they play hardnosed, physical football. I don't watch Penn State a lot, because they don't have a lot of Ohio kids on the roster I know, but when I do watch them they play their tails off. And Saquon Barkley was the best football player on the field last night, without question. Imagine trying to stop that guy in the fourth quarter with Penn State having the lead? No thanks. This was a quality win for Ohio State.

- I know people like to whine about playcalling, and that will never change over the next 100 years. But Urban/Beck/Warinner didn't all the sudden get smarter in the second half calling plays. They got smarter when they went back to the style of play that allowed them to set records last year. They got out of the pro-style offense with Cardale Jones, where they have struggled all year, and went back to playing option football with Zeke Elliott and Barrett handling the football on every play. This has to be their identity going forward. Had they stayed with Cardale Jones in the pro-style, he would have gotten killed by Carl Nassib, Austin Johnson or Anthony Zettel. OSU could not block that crew in pass pro, but found success running the option in the second half to put it away. 

- Had Barrett continued his Bauserman impression last night Ohio State would be in trouble right now. Where else would they turn? Stephen Collier? The Jones experiment has to be over, but they have to be careful he doesn't check out mentally, because with Barrett's injury history there's a good chance Jones will be needed again. With Barrett getting all the practice reps and the bulk of the game reps, there's a good chance he can return to being the guy that set records last season. He does appear healthier, hence much quicker and faster than he was earlier in the year. He also looks like a far more confident player, which also comes from being healthier and trusting his body. 

- The wide receivers played well last night, and even though the ranks are depleted, they have enough talent to win with Mike Thomas, Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall. When the pass attempts get reduced to 20 per game, as it should playing option football, the wideouts will have an easier time getting open when the safety comes into the box to stop the run. As we saw last night with the passes to Samuel and Miller, it's far easier to throw when the defense is playing run first. Look for the tight ends to become more involved under Barrett than they have been. 

- Ohio State played their best game of the season last night, and they did it against easily the best team they have faced so far. If Penn State gets the touchdown to go up 10-0 early, who knows what happens from there? Does Jones press and throw a few picks? And then they're down 20-0 to a team with Saquon Barkley running over, around and through the defense? If this is going to be a team that turns it off and on depending upon the competition, it was a good thing they were ON last night because that game had the making early of a repeat of last year at Penn State. 

- Where does OSU go from here on offense? Are they going to be the team they were in the fourth quarter offensively going forward? Or will they flop around against the next three talentless teams, much like they did the first six weeks? Time will tell. 

- Through seven games they are right where they need to be from the won/loss standpoint. The first goal is to win the East, and they're in position to do that. It's going to come down to games against Michigan State and Michigan, and both will be tossup games in my opinion. Forget the last play of the Michigan/MIchigan State game.................scratch that, there's NO WAY anyone will EVER forget that play. 

- Let's set aside the last play of the Michigan/MIchigan State game, and I think that can be done for about 30 seconds. That was a GREAT football game between two quality teams, probably two Top-Ten teams in the country. Ohio State can beat both of those teams, but they can lose to either one as well. There is not a huge gap between the three teams, although I would give OSU the edge if the offense is what they showed last night under Barrett. 

- The Ohio State goals are still the same. Win the East. Beat Iowa (probably) in the Big Ten title game. That alone puts the Buckeyes in the final four, no doubt about it. From there it's all about taking a month to put this team in a position to be at their best for (hopefully) two games against the best in  the country. Everything Ohio State wanted to accomplish this season is right in front of them. From that perspective, everything is right on schedule. 

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