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Snap Counts: Ohio State

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Not really snap counts, too much.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Real life impeded our ability to produce the standard weekly jpeg of names and precision snap count tallies (they're not really very precise, by the way - more of a reasonable estimate).  Plus the utility for these things - not too high, in our own opinion.  Same 40-ish dudes play every week.  Here are some things we noticed, though:

Offense - 60 snaps

  • McSorley, Mahon, McGovern, Gaia, Bates, Palmer (seemed to) played the whole game;
  • Miles Sanders spelled Saquon Barkley twice.  Andre Robinson and Mark Allen did not.  Maybe that means something with respect to the RB "rotation".  Tune in to the Purdue game next week to learn who seizes upon those two to six plays per game.
  • Thompkins left the game early and didn't return, so Saeed's snaps (and catches) increased this week.
  • Gesicki rolled an ankle early, but came back after halftime.  Tom Pancoast did just fine in his stead.  Makes us wonder - if Thompkins hadn't also been injured - whether JoeMo goes more 5-wide and/or 2-RB in the future, though.

Defense - 83 snaps

  • Parker Cothren was hurt early but returned.
  • Curtis Cothran was your new starting 3-tech DT.
  • Sickels was suspended the first half for skipping a few classes during the bye week.  Then he beat Jamarco Jones like a drum the entirety of the second half.  We might want to have Garrett get frustrated/angry watching the first 30 minutes every week.
  • Cabinda (MLB) and Bell (WLB and SLB) played a whole bunch.  Bowen (WLB and SLB) played 3rd most.  Brandon Smith subbed in some at MLB only.  Koa Farmer got some SLB snaps.  Didn't notice Jake Cooper or Cam Brown at LB.
  • Christian Campbell returned at CB.  Oruwariye is supposed to return at Purdue this Saturday.
  • Apke got some plays at S.
  • Shareef Miller did some good things at DE, didn't he?

Rant

What in the world was Urban Meyer thinking?  JT Barrett reminds no one of Tom Brady, for both good and bad reasons.  Yet, there Barrett stood in a crumbling pocket, on (roughly) 60 pass attempts (43 actual attempts + 6 sacks + 10 or 12 scrambles).  Sixty (ish). Flipping. Pass. Attempts.  As a reminder, here are some of the other case facts that influenced this decision:

  • It was cold, wet, and windy;
  • On the road;
  • Really loud crowd;
  • OSU has 1.5 wide receivers;
  • PSU is 17th in pass defense, but just 95th in rush defense;
  • OSU is 8th in rush offense, but  just 80th in pass offense;
  • OSU never trailed in the first 55 minutes 29 seconds of game play.

The theory postulated by Chris Fowler / Kirk Herbstreit during the broadcast was that Ohio State wanted to decrease its reliance upon Barrett as a runner.  Barrett can't take the hits he absorbed during the Indiana and Wisconsin games, and survive the season.  Therefore, Meyer told his co-offensive coordinators to put Barrett's running shoes on the shelf for this game, and make others carry the load.

Sounds reasonable enough, right?  Nope, it's insane.

The issue - or rather, one of the issues - is that Ohio State is an option team, and Barrett's an option QB.  Ohio State is awesome at running the ball precisely because Barrett is a 3rd tailback, and the scheme puts defenders in no-win situations called "option plays", and/or Meyer can outnumber a defense to a side because Barrett is actually a tailback.  You lose all of those advantages the minute you decide "don't run Barrett tonight".  And once they're lost - as PSU fans learned Saturday but OSU fans have known for some time - Ohio State becomes very pedestrian on offense.  Member when Cardale Jones was the 2015 starter?  Member that?  Now take away Zeke Elliot, too, and three of the linemen.

Snap Counts isn't complaining, mind you.  If Meyer wants to junk his offense and behave like an Air Raid team when he plays PSU, by all means - have at it.  Go to town, man.  Go to town.  I'll even support a petition to make Barrett wear 200-lb cast iron boots to ensure he doesn't take off like a rabbit.

But, that's a crazy thing to do if you're the coach of an option football team, isn't it?  Perhaps it was just hubris.  Meyer thought he was good enough (and we were bad enough) that he could beat Penn State left handed, and rest Barrett.  If so, consider him smote.  He hath scattered the proud in their conceit, and exalted the lowly.