How Ohio State’s Offense Will Change From Barrett To Haskins

J.K. Dobbins Ohio State Football Buckeyes Dwayne Haskins

The debate raged more or less non-stop on message boards, talk radio, and social media for four years.

To many Buckeye fans, J.T. Barrett was a record-setting quarterback who helped lead the Ohio State to 49 wins and a national championship.

To others, J.T. Barrett was a physically-limited quarterback whose inability to hit deep passes prevented the Buckeyes from winning even more.

To a subset of both of those groups, Urban Meyer’s reliance on Barrett’s running ability in key spots made the Buckeyes predictable; a pattern that repeated itself in the team’s rare losses.

Now Barrett is gone, and with the arrival of the Dwayne Haskins era comes a fresh start for both the program and the fanbase.

Where Barrett was a reliable runner but occasionally limited passer, Haskins has a truly special arm but is less mobile.

Urban Meyer knows that change will have a big impact on what his offense looks like this fall.

“Your quarterback is such a key part,” Meyer said. “(Haskins’) skillset is so unique. Very different than J.T. Barrett. His release, his size, his accuracy are his strengths.”

Senior wide receiver Parris Campbell said Haskins is just on a whole different level than most players at the position.

“You have great quarterbacks, but then you have a handful of quarterbacks who just are different and have that elite skill,” Campbell said. “It’s not something they earn, it’s something that they’re blessed with and Dwayne definitely has that gift.”

Campbell has a pretty good idea what Haskins’ arm strength and accuracy will mean for the offense this fall.

“We’re going to add to our game vertically, we already have an established run game with J.K. (Dobbins) and Mike (Weber),” he said. “I think it’s going to be hard for defenses to contain us once we get clicking on all phases.”

Meyer said many of the general principles of the offense would be similar this fall. The quarterback will still have frequent opportunities to “read” a defender and take what the defense is giving him. However, instead of plays where Barrett frequently had the choice between handing the ball to a running back like Dobbins or keeping it himself, Haskins may be more often given a decision between a handoff or a pass.

“We’re still going to be a spread offense, which means you have dual opportunities, either give it or pull it,” Meyer said. “The RPO (run/pass option) world where you either give it or you throw it, I just think that’s going to be even more involved than it was with J.T.”

Campbell has always been effusive in his praise of Barrett, a trend that continued at Big Ten Media Days this month. However, it’s not hard to tell that he’s excited for the chance to work with Haskins full-time.

“With the gifts and the talent that he’s been blessed with, we’re going to be able to do a lot more as an offense,” Campbell said. “The run game’s already established. Being able to take the top of coverages off, being able to vertically stretch teams, and being able to also beat them on the ground. That’s hard.

“How do you gameplan that as a defense? Do you want to load the box or do you want to double coverage on the outside?”

It’s a question opposing defensive coordinators will be agonizing over all season.

15 Responses

    1. Careful with that……….this place is getting worse than 11 Warriors and their mega homerism. You should know better than to have an opinion that rides against a pack of hyena’s. They’ll come after you like you’re a lone hedgehog.

    2. absolutely. this is the first time in several years i haven’t been dreading watching the buckeye passing game.

  1. Every QB that has played at any level has undergone the same scrutiny. I can’t remember one quarterback that has not gotten criticism at some point in his career (yes even Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and the Heisman winning QB of The). So coach Meyer who has three national championships (I can count on two fingers current coaches with that many) kinda has my confidence that he and his staff can get the job done. That said, I think Haskins showed me at least what he can do in a real football game with his legs (I recall a nice scamper against our rivals) and arm (and a pretty ballsy throw!) So, I’m not worried – growing pains, sure but you gotta give the ball to somebody and Dwayne apparently earned the job. Go Bucks!

  2. Does anyone know if Coach Meyer has contacted Mr. Mills about coming on board as a coach?

    1. I’d never accept the job. It would be a pay cut….:D

    2. Doubt if “Mr. Mills” could get permission from his wife.

  3. The key to the Buckeyes season remains in the pocket of the offensive line and the linebackers for 2018. If the linebackers can’t suffocate the middle of the field and close down the TE’s the offense will be pressured that much more. The talent is on the roster to make make the Buckeyes not just the best secondary and DLine in College Football, but throughout the middle zones where the linebackers roam. The jury is definitely out on whether or not they can deliver.

    Flipped to the offense you can bet that the Buckeye opponents aren’t going to pull the same blunder skulled mistakes when Dwayne had to go in for an injured JT Barrett last year. They thought they had the players to pressure the pocket and they simply did not. The offensive line mauled that defensive front and kept Dwayne upright because of it. New line, new starting quarterback. Michigan was ill prepared defensively but now teams pretty much know whats coming and will prepare accordingly. Keep pressure in his face and force him to beat coverages. Anyone can throw pretty passes in practice or even be a sub 50% can’t touch me quarterback in a Spring game, which is what Dwayne was and received corny ass rave reviews over. Would he have even been a 25% passer had the defense been loosed to knock him around? Fortunately he has a cream puff, or what should be a cream puff early season to test his metal under fire. He’s going to need it.

    I hope he does well, but his success is absolutely on the shoulders of the offensive line. JT could create, Dwayne doesn’t have the legs for it. JT’s RPO improvisation was the best in College football without a doubt. How many times did we see him completely breaking opponents hearts after plays broke down and he had to create? A LOT.

    The CEO has 1 central goal for his offense. Make sure that offensive line is among the best in College football. If it doesn’t come out strong from the starting blocks this could be an unfortunate season.

    1. You are actually questioning whether Haskins can complete 25% of his passes? Really? That would make him the worst QB in the entire country. If that’s what you expect of Haskins, it’s time for you to find another team to root for.

      1. Well….he completed 46% of his passes in the Spring Game playing tag football, often against reserve corners.

        You must have missed the part where I said that I hope that he does well. THAT is on the shoulders of the offensive line, and less on Dwayne. But no, I think I’ll stick with the same team I’ve cheered for since 1960

        1. Dude, you are basing your assessment of a QB in a glorified practice played in 30 mph winds. LOL!!!!!!! Why not watch last years game against Meatchicken. HE WON THE GAME FOR US……Barrett SUCKS….Thank the Lord he is gonzo!!

          1. Well no, JT Barrett was the best RPO quarterback in the land………..he simply couldn’t pass worth a damned beyond the box to stretch the field

            Why was Joe Burrow capable of very good numbers in the same conditions in that glorified scrimmage? The guy was also very good every time he made an appearance in live games with his arm and his legs.

            We’ll see what happens when the lights come on in the stadium for game time. I DO feel better with Zach Smith gone though.

    2. james, jt barrett couldn’t win the biggest games and it cost the buckeyes multiple NC opportunities. he also couldn’t throw the ball against good teams. i’m ready to move on.

  4. This season SHOULD be a breath of fresh air…but 2015 still looms in the back of my mind. Can Urban really develop an offense not based on the QB Power Dive?

  5. I won’t miss the repeated 3rd down called QB runs. Barrett is a terrific runner, but he is not superhuman.

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