Bank Blog: Urban Meyer Makes The Ohio State Call On QB's

After a few days of deliberation, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made the decision to go with J.T. Barrett as his starting quarterback. How will this move impact his offense?

- After watching J.T. Barrett play like J.T. Barrett last week against Penn State, Urban Meyer made the easy call and has reinserted the redshirt sophomore back into the lineup as his starting quarterback. In what has become basically a two-game season at the end of the year, Meyer made the best move he could make to put his team in position to beat both Michigan State and Michigan.

- While Meyer could have stuck with Cardale Jones and continued to flop around on offense for the next three games and still win them, it appears this move was made to give Ohio State the best chance to win the last two games of the regular season. For the next three games, Meyer could have played Stephen Collier, Joey Burrow, Torrance Gibson or Kerry Coombs and still probably won them all. This move was made to establish an identity on offense, and let his team get back to being a zone-read team.

- In terms of pure quarterback play, going from Jones to Barrett gives Ohio State a far higher football IQ at the game's most demanding position. Jones was a one-read thrower, while Barrett can scan the field and pick out the better receiver to throw to. Barrett is also better escaping the pocket when flushed out, and his speed trumps Jones' power running ability. Accuracy on the throws? If Barrett is Barrett, this is no contest. Style of play? Ohio State in the zone read beats Ohio State in the pro style by miles. For Jones, who certainly didn't deserve to be booed by his own fans for bringing them a national title and never losing a game, it gives him a chance to step away from the pressure and get better. Odds are he will be called on again, because QB's get hurt in the zone read.

- What about the running game, and Zeke Elliott in particular? There was a school of thought that Jones could open up the field for Zeke by the threat of the deep ball, and keep a safety out of the box. That was proven false when Jones missed receivers, took sacks and never established anything deep. One look at Barrett against Penn State, and all the sudden the holes are huge and there are now TWO running threats to defend. Zeke is so good that he is going to gain yards in any system, but he is the perfect complement to Barrett in the option game and both are dangerous running the football. 

- How does the move affect the wide receivers? They certainly weren't flourishing in the pro style attack, and while the perception is that they will throw it less with Barrett than with Jones, that just might not be the case. As defenses move a safety into the box to stop the run, it will open up more throwing lanes and the passing game should be better. Just watch them throw it deep more effectively now, even though Barrett cannot match Jones' arm strength. There will be wideouts open deep now, and the look will be similar to the Devin Smith offense from last season. They will now use the run to set up the pass, rather than the opposite. More points are going to be scored, if Barrett is Barrett, and against Penn State's great defense he sure looked like J.T. Barrett to me. 

- For the offensive line, this is not a great pass protection unit with Cardale Jones in the pocket and Penn State exposed that. But this line absolutely crushes people in the zone read, which will make pass protection easier as they throw it when they want to, not when they need to. Third-and-four can now be a running down again. They can now get back to going for it on fourth and short with the zone read, as opposed to having to throw it with a quarterback that struggles with accuracy. This move also benefits the offensive line, and I would bet to a man they are thrilled to be back in the zone read. 

- Finally, what about this coaching staff? Are Urban/Warinner/Beck really the guys to oversee a pro style passing attack? Sure doesn't seem like it. Can these guys all point to success with dual threat quarterbacks and option schemes? Absolutely. The zone read is Urban Meyer's bread and butter, and J.T. Barrett is his kind of quarterback. Cardale Jones gave Meyer and Ohio State a national championship last season, and there is still a place for him on this team. In Meyer's offense, Barrett could be out for the year by the second quarter of the Rutgers game, and at that point in time Cardale Jones will be needed again. Here's hoping this staff can keep Jones in the game and engaged with his teammates, because it's probably even money that he will be needed down the line. 

- Where does Ohio State go from here? If what we saw in the fourth quarter is exactly who Ohio State is on the offensive side of the football, then they are a stronger national title threat today than they were last week at this time. I've never wavered on Ohio State being my number-one team from Day-One. My feeling has always been that there are no great teams this year in college football, and I believe that even more today. I just think that Ohio State's BEST is better than anyone else's best. Going back to the zone read gives Ohio State a better chance to be at their BEST on offense. And all of this is based on J.T. Barrett being J.T. Barrett. 

Buckeye Sports Top Stories