Open letter to Harlon Barnett: Dear Harlon, when do you plan to get in the game?

Harlon Barnett

I certainly don’t expect an answer from Harlon Barnett of course, but on behalf of Spartan stakeholders I am asking the question because Barnett’s Pass Defense is woefully bad and needs to be fixed…and Spartan stakeholders are entitled to answers.

Saturday, Harlon Barnett’s Pass Defense yielded an “eye glazing” 536 Passing Yards to Purdue including 3 Passing Touchdowns that essentially served a 40-29 victory to Purdue on a Silver Platter.

There were other problems as well, but none more problematic than yielding 536 Yards through the air. Keep in mind, 536 Yards is more than 5 trips down the field.

Of course, Defensive Coordinator, Scottie Hazelton has a measure of accountability as well, but in a 4-2-5 alignment, most of the accountability falls upon the shoulders of Harlon Barnett and the Defensive Secondary he deploys.

Let’s be honest, Purdue undressed Barnett’s Pass Defense yesterday.

Barnett’s Pass Defense didn’t simply have a “bad day at the office” but rather they stunk up Ross Ade Stadium with a non-existent Pass Defense.

Aidan O’Connell, Purdue’s QB carved up the Spartans Pass Defense at will.

Purdue threw the football 54 times which is usually an invitation to an Interception festival, yet Purdue completed 40 of 54 passes (74%) without throwing an Interception. Can we all spell “asleep at the switch and out of position”?

In just 4 games, Harlon Barnett’s Pass Defense (that’s Pass Defense with a question mark?) has yielded 388 Yards to Miami…488 Yards to Western Kentucky…406 Yards to Michigan…and now a “stupefying” 536 Yards to Purdue. Let’s count it up: that’s a total of 1,818 Yards (one thousand, eight hundred and eighteen yards) divided by 4, or an abysmal average of 455 Passing Yards in just 4 games.

Yet, in the last two games, Barnett’s Pass Defense has yielded a whopping 942 Yards or an average of 471 Yards per game. How can that be called Defense?

And now Harlon Barnett’s so called Pass Defense (?) is ranked dead last amongst 130 D-1 Schools. Imagine that, “Dead Last” in the land, yielding an eye watering 327 Yards per game.

I wrote before the Purdue game that Michigan State was playing a dangerous game, “dodging a bullet” if you will with its porous Pass Defense, but it is virtually inconceivable that Michigan State with all of its player talent could yield 536 Passing Yards in a single afternoon. Yet it did and the man that needs to be called into the Principals Office is Harlon Barnett.

To put the issue into another perplexing perspective, Purdue was averaging a solid and robust 300 Passing Yards prior to the game, so Barnett and Co. knew what was coming. But Harlon Barnett seemed unprepared and allowed the Boilermakers to throw the football all over the yard and exceed their per game passing average by a whopping 236 Yards.

So, Harlon Barnett, when do you plan to get into the game???

This isn’t the first bad season for Harlon Barnett’s Pass Defense, rather he has been stitching together a number of bad seasons.

As D-Coordinator at Florida State in 2018 and 2019, Barnett was part of an ill-fated coaching administration that lasted less than 2 seasons. Immediately below are FSU’s stats compiled under the guidance of Harlon Barnett’s Pass Defense:

  • 2018: Ranked #119 when measured against 130 D-1 Schools (bottom ten percentile) yielding an average of 269 Yards Passing per game. FSU posted an upside down 5-7 record.
  • 2019: Ranked #119 when measured against 130 D-1 Schools (bottom ten percentile) yielding an equally dismal average of 277 Yards Passing per game. The coaching staff was fired after a 4-5 start.

Harlon Barnett is a former Spartan player and arguably a good man, but this isn’t a popularity contest.

Harlon Barnett is getting paid good money to stop other teams from throwing the football all over the yard, yet over the past several seasons he is coming up woefully short.

Harlon Barnett needs to get in the game!

It’s not my intention to focus all the blame upon Harlon Barnett, but right now he is the man responsible for “the worst” Pass Defense in Spartan History, as well as “the worst” Pass Defense in the land when measured against 130 D-1 Schools.

The wish list isn’t long. Spartan stakeholders are simply asking Harlon Barnett to do his homework, study game film and fix a woefully bad Pass Defense.

Harlon, are you up to the task?

We have to be honest, Harlon Barnett may not be up to the task because the numbers don’t lie.

Now comes Maryland (averaging 316 Passing Yards per game, #14 in the land), Ohio State (averaging 353 Passing Yards per game, #6 in the land) and Penn State (averaging nearly 280 Passing Yards per game, #25 in the land) and the Spartans will have a hard time finding another victory if Barnett doesn’t fix the Pass Defense.

After all, each of those opponents have  a well scripted dossier on Barnett’s porous Pass Defense.

As I close the letter, Harlon Barnett…please, please get in the game!

Thank you for reading.