J.T. Barrett, Ohio State receivers getting more comfortable


COLUMBUS — Here’s a J.T. Barrett statistic that might have gone unnoticed by many people.

In six games this season, Ohio State’s senior quarterback has thrown 16 touchdown passes and has had one pass intercepted.

Barrett talked about his season and the progress he thinks he has made and why he has made those improvements after Ohio State’s 62-14 win over Maryland on Saturday.

Much of the improvement in Ohio State’s passing game has come from him and the receivers getting comfortable with each other on the field in game conditions, he said.

“We keep improving every day. Myself, I have to go out there and be confident, not be timid, have confidence in my guys and let it rip,” Barrett said.

“I think we’re confident in what we’re doing and what we’re calling. I think it also has something to do with gaining experience with those guys. All those things take time. At the beginning of the year we had practice but as far as in the game we didn’t really have that.

“I think I’m just more confident. We needed games to really get that,” he said.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOT SPECIAL: How did Ohio State’s special teams give Urban Meyer indigestion on Saturday?

You can count the ways and you won’t stop counting until you get to seven. And six of them came in the first half.

In the first half, OSU allowed a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked, bobbled an extra-point snap, had a kicker called for delay of game on a kickoff, was penalized for a block in the back on a kick return and shanked a 21-yard punt. Then to start the second half, its kickoff went out of bounds.

The inability of Ohio State’s kickers, Sean Nuernberger and Blake Haubeil, to avoid having kickoffs go out of bounds frustrated Meyer as much as anything.

“We’re the only team in the country that can’t kick the ball down the field. It’s something I have to strongly evaluate and find out why.”

Kicking also played a role in the kickoff return for a touchdown, he said. “A big part of our kickoff is to kick the ball on target. And we’re not on target. There are a lot of people upset about that and I’m one of them,” Meyer said.

INJURY UPDATE: Ohio State has had remarkably good luck at keeping its offensive linemen healthy in recent years but it lost one of its starters for the season when right guard Branden Bowen suffered a broken leg in the first half on Saturday.

Matt Burrell replaced Bowen and will have the first chance to claim the job going forward.

“Right now it looks like Matt Burrell. We’ll see if there’s any competition at that spot. We’ll see what happens there,” Meyer said.

Barrett said, “That’s a tough loss. He will bounce back from this.”

PASS DEFENSE: Maryland receiver D.J. Moore came into Saturday’s game with a Big Ten-leading 30 catches and had at least seven receptions in each of the Terrapins’ first four games. He had two catches for 11 yards against Ohio State.

MORE NUMBERS: With Saturday’s win over Maryland coach D.J. Durkin, Meyer is 10-1 in match-ups against his former assistants. Durkin was a graduate assistant for Meyer at Bowling Green and one of his assistants at Florida.

Mike Weber’s 53-yard pass reception was the longest play of the sophomore running back’s career. His longest before Saturday was a 52-yard run against Michigan State last season.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS 1957: Ohio State’s 1957 national champion football team was honored during the game and had a reunion this weekend.

Team members included St. Marys’ Galen Cisco and Lima’s Ron Cook.


By Jim Naveau

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Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

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