Difference in style separates J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones
Ohio State announced their 2015 team captains on Friday. With J.T. Barrett included, but Cardale Jones left off the list, there has been increased speculation that Barrett has edged out Jones for the starting job. That certainly could be true, but it may also be a reflection on the standing Barrett has in the locker room. Since arriving on campus as a freshman, Barrett has been consistently praised for his work ethic and leadership. As a result, becoming a team captain is a natural step for him but it doesn’t automatically suggest that he will start.
Earlier in the offseason, Gordon McGuinness discussed how both Barrett and Jones provide a dynamic dual-threat element, but have room to grow as a passers.
With Jones under center, the Ohio State passing attack is more explosive. Jones is the more accurate deep passer, thus throwing deep more often. In 2014 26.1 percent of Jones’ passes travelled at least 20 yards downfield in the air.
With Barrett under center the Buckeye offense is more controlled. Barrett throws it deep less often (16.7 percent), and instead operates a shorter passing attack with a greater emphasis on receivers gaining yards after the catch. Only 41.6 percent of Barrett’s passing yards came with the ball in the air, compared to 68.4 percent for Jones. As a result of their different styles, Barrett makes quicker decisions than Jones, taking 15.5 percent less time to throw or run.
Each quarterback offers the Buckeyes offense a different wrinkle, making the decision between them more about stylistic preference than it is about individual merit.