Blame the Sooner Blip on Lack of a Preseason?

J.T. Barrett Ohio State Football Buckeyes

The topic isn’t going to go away until the Ohio State offense makes it go away.

Even though we are now speeding toward November, the only two games in the recent past that have mattered to most were last year’s loss to Clemson and this year’s loss to Oklahoma.

No other games can get a word in edgewise — and certainly not any of the games this year.

The fallout from 31-0 came quickly and the Buckeyes have moved on, but the loss to the Sooners in September brought it all back out in the open.

The offense was supposed to be fixed, and everyone saw in week two that the fix wasn’t going to be so easy or so immediate.

That doesn’t mean things aren’t fixed now, however. Or aren’t still in the process of improving and growing.

The Ohio State pass defense gave up a ton of yards against an Indiana offense that no longer excels in the forward pass. At the time, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs chalked it up to having new players in big-time roles and there being a period of adjustment. It was a logical thought.

It would follow, then, that the same thing could be said of the offense.

It is not easy to hit the ground running, as quarterback J.T. Barrett tried to explain this week.

“I think it’s interesting being that in college we don’t have a preseason, does that make sense?” he said. “NFL, they have preseason games. They get time to get going as far as actual games of football. We just try to do the best we can with practice.”

As Urban Meyer has said repeatedly this season, practice reps are no substitute for game reps.

“Everything doesn’t click in the first weeks of college ball,” Barrett said. “And I think it turned out that it was like, ‘Oh, those guys are not as good as we thought.’ That’s fine to have that opinion, but with the game of football, there’s things that need to take time. Then there’s other times that you start hot and you keep on rolling and then you die off toward the end. Or you may start a little slow and then get hot, and then you end up playing your best ball at the end of the season.”

People — fans, media, coaches, players — were expecting a hot start, but it just didn’t happen. And now that things are rolling like they never have before, there’s a lack of trust from the outside that the Buckeye offense will be able to look dynamic against better defenses.

Barrett’s confidence in himself or the offense has never waned. He knows the Buckeyes are in the middle of a marathon, and sprint runners need not apply.

“I think you see that not only in college, but you see it in the NFL as well,” he said. “People in the Super Bowl, not all of the time do they start off great.”

14 Responses

  1. the only problem with blaming the loss on a lack of a preseason or game reps is what Baker Mayfield did to us while surrounded by a bunch of true freshmen and redshirt freshmen who had been in the Oklahoma football program for a far shorter time than Barrett and the guys surrounding him…and it was the first big game for the youngest head coach in the nation…excuse making is not very conducive to winning

    1. They weren’t changing anything tho. The coordinators and offense were still there. Bob Stoops left now because he knew the coordinators would be able to hold it down. Not saying JTB is right, just saying the situations between the two teams are not the same.

      1. agreed on the different situations. Our coaches simply dropped the ball in fall practice. They knew that the blueprint was out there to rush three and drop back in a zone while spying on JT to make him throw into windows. They admittedly did not work against that much or at all in fall practice. On the other side, our linebackers acted as if they had never seen play action before, thus I am guessing that they didn’t do much work against play action in the fall either. Luckily this year’s coaches and players and this year’s JT have learned and grown from it…something we did not see under Beck and Warriner. Wilson actually has a better resume as an offensive mind than Herman, so I expect this offense to continue growing as he learns how to best utilize all the talent at his disposal.
        I always enjoy reading your articles.

  2. I admire your persistence, Gerd. You’re talking to a) those that agree or b) those that will not be convinced that their armchair credentials can be taught a damned thing.

    1. Andrew- there’s this old adage about pots and kettles…

      1. Oklahoma had the same amount of practice time, the same garbage defense and had to come to Ohio State to play the game. Their staff came prepared and the players came prepared. There’s no excuses the PC crowd can throw out there hoping for it to stick. Coach Meyers team played like garbage, and his wonderkind 5th year leader played like he didn’t have a clue what a football was. You mean to tell us that Coach Meyer can’t get his team amped up and prepared to host a big name AT HOME, because it’s too early in the season? That’s NOT a reason. It’s an excuse.

        This is and has been a problem for Mr. Barrett. He sucks against good competition. We’ll see against Penn State. Right now there’s doubts about his heart when he faces a team that will hit him. Maybe he just gets scared. Maybe Coach Meyer just gets scared and he tried to hide it behind an already scared quarterback. Who knows why. The history after 2014 has shown the same results when facing the best competition. JT and Coach Meyer have an opportunity on the horizon to start to win back or over the fans who doubt their ability to perform against good teams. But it hasn’t happened yet. If they want all pretty and coddling comments about their level of play. FIX IT and stop making excuses for when they don’t perform or bother to show up at all.

        Complaining about those who doubt is excuse making too. The results on the field against the better competition and the inability of the staff to get their team motivated is a statement. A wise man once said. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Teams aren’t always going to win every game, but there is NEVER an excuse for a talent filled roster to get smacked around like they’ve never played the game before.

        Rather then making it about us miserable fans, try making it about piss poor performance. THAT’S where the negativism comes from.

  3. If an emoji of a dead horse being beaten exists- and it wouldn’t cause a firestorm of protest to depict it- the reply column for this article would be a perfect place for it. The OU result came about because of horrid game planning by the coaches, lackluster efforts by some players, and good planning and execution by OU. Its a shame JT Barrett is left picking up the pieces, trying in vain to explain that game result. This why I prefer direct speech rather than the coachspeak fluff we often hear from the guys who are actually in charge. My “lack of trust” isn’t with JT, and it would be largely eliminated if the offensive brain trust calls a viable game plan vs PSU, etc rather than running JT like he’s the tailback and throwing either a) only on obvious passing downs or b) slow developing, parallel to LOS throws that active defenses scoff at. We will found out in 2 weeks.

    1. Whoops- last line of my first post should have read “find out” rather than “found out”.

  4. Very well said, OSU, its fans and the rest of the CFB world is waiting to see if this is just a second stanza from last year or the real deal. Optimistic OSU fans believe it isn’t. We won’t find out until next Saturday and it will be confirmed or not confirmed in the weeks ahead.

  5. Lack of a preseason doesn’t seem to affect Alabama. They lose guys to the NFL also. What are they doing differently?

    1. Alabama vs FSU — 269 yards of total offense
      Ohio State vs Oklahoma — 350 yards of total offense

      1. …………and Alabama won. Even when their performance isn’t up to par, at least they don’t look like garbage, or QUIT in the middle of the game. NOBODY expects their favorite team to enter the season hitting on all cylinders and look like championship level. But we don’t and SHOULDN’T expect the program not to show up and at least be competitive. The 2 biggest opponents the Buckeyes have faced treated them like a joke by licking their entitlement down their throat.

        The rest of this season will be interesting.

          1. Most “typos” don’t need explained….that one did!!!! Thanks for clearing up!

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