It has been well documented that the Ohio State football team’s passing game last season was erratic. The 2016 squad threw for as many as 417 yards in one game (Bowling Green) and as few as 86 yards in another (Michigan State).
Many wanted to place the blame on something or someone, which often times led to quarterback J.T. Barrett being the scapegoat. After watching film from the 2016 campaign, however, new Buckeye quarterbacks coach Ryan Day said there were a multitude of reasons for why the aerial attack struggled.
“I know it sounds cliché, but it wasn’t just one thing or the other,” Day said Tuesday after the team’s third spring practice, in which the first hour of the session was open to the media. “It’s easy just to point the finger at J.T. or this or that, but I think it was a lot of things. When you go back through, you have to improve the protection, the route running, the throwing the ball, the timing, the spacing, all those things that we’re going to work on this spring. It wasn’t just one thing.”
To help shore up the passing attack for the 2017 season, Day noted that Barrett has been focusing on two aspects of his game in the three days the team has been on the practice field this spring.
“He’s working hard with his footwork and working on throwing the ball in the pocket,” Day said of Barrett, who is a fifth-year senior. “He’s excellent in play-action pass. It’s really just building on what he’s done so far throughout his career here.
“We’re constantly working on his footwork, we’re constantly working on getting the ball out.”
In the short time he’s has been in Columbus, Day, who was an NFL quarterbacks coach the last two years for the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers, has noticed that Barrett excels in accomplishing a vital task.
“From when I got here until now, I can see that the best thing he does is play the game,” Day said of the veteran signal caller. “In today’s practice, he started flinging it and he’s moving the team up and down the field. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important as a quarterback, is leading the other 10 guys on the field and then moving the team down to score points.”
Though the squad has only had three spring practices thus far, Day has been wowed by Barrett’s demeanor since being hired in early January.
“He’s been an impressive kid ever since I’ve been here,” Day said of Barrett. “I’ve been really impressed with the way he has gone about his business, it’s like dealing with a pro. So when you show up to work every day you better be prepared and you better give him a good plan. He’s out here working to get better every day just like everybody else.”
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Stories highlighting Day will be featured in the upcoming BSB, which will be mailed March 28.