Barnett’s proficiency in run game sparks offense

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When the 2008 Rice football re-wrote its record book for offensive production, Tom Herman was its coordinator.

The Owls moved the ball at will and scored more than 40 points per game. Quarterback Chase Clement passed for 4,119 yards on 326 completions. But, he quietly contributed 693 yards rushing (53.3 per game).

When Jared Barnett got his opportunity several weeks ago, close followers of the program wondered about his skill set. Is he a passer or a runner? Can he do both? There were many questions.

Barnett was ranked among the Top 30 “dual threat” quarterbacks in the nation. In limited action, Barnett has hit key passes. But, his proficiency in the run game (the read-option series, especially) has been excellent.

“He has a gift as a runner that he can cut back against the grain,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “He can one-cut people and make them miss. With the ball in his hands after the mesh, he’s very productive.”

Barnett made good reads for the most part as Iowa State unleashed a potent run game (368 yards) at Texas Tech last week. He added 92 rushing yards of his own. His season rushing average (44.8 ypg) is similar to the mark of Clement, the record-setter from Rice.

A strong run game puts the offense on the offensive. You can pass when you wish if the ground game is controlling the flow.

“He rides that fake a little longer and leaves some doubt in that end or linebacker as to who is actually going to run the ball,” Rhoads said.

There is an art to running the read option and Barnett’s efficiency in doing so has been a blessing for an offense that needed a spark.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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