Ohio State is a frightening machine heading in 2017. Few coaches in the country are as dynamic as Urban Meyer is when it comes to innovative offensive football. Take that level of coaching and groom that with a senior quarterback in J.T. Barrett, who has been through the fire of some of Ohio State’s highest of highs and lowest of lows, and there is no question Ohio State is the odds on favorite to win the Big Ten in 2017
Illinois did not play Ohio State in 2016, but in 2015 the Illini lost to the Buckeyes 28-3 in Champaign behind a solid J.T. Barrett showing.
A true dual threat quarterback capable of slinging the ball around from the pocket or gaining yards through designed quarterback runs — there really aren’t any weaknesses in Barrett’s game.
J.T. Barrett’s bread and butter, and where the Illini will have most trouble is trying to stop Ohio State’s no-huddle, zone-read offense. Watch and listen to how ESPN color commentator Kirk Herbstreit breaks down this Ohio State scoring play:
This type of offense wears down a defense in multiple ways. The Buckeyes often run this play over and over again in the same series; the quarterback has the option to keep the ball and run or hand it off to his running back. That repetition, in a no-huddle hurry-up type of offense physically and mentally sucks the life out of a defense. Defenses get tired and they start to feel hopeless, unable to stop what is a pretty basic offensive system. It helps that next to Barrett in the backfield is Mike Weber; a reliable running back with over 1,000 yards rushing and nine touchdowns last season.
The Illini should be afraid, very afraid of what J.T. Barrett can do against an inexperienced defensive front seven.