The Ohio State Buckeyes start their 2016 season for the first time in two years with a clear-cut starting quarterback: J.T. Barrett. Over the last couple of seasons the Buckeyes had the safety net if Barrett either got injured, or was terrible during a game. This time the pressure is on him to not only stay healthy, but play constantly.
In 2014 and 2015, Barrett was very good. He’s only lost twice, and has combined for over 5,400 yards and more than 65 touchdowns over that time. While those stats are impressive; he missed the end of the Buckeyes National Championship run when he was knocked out of their game against Michigan. The hit launched the dual-quarterback discussion from last season with then backup, Cardale Jones.
For the second straight year Barrett didn’t see a start until the season was under way. 2014 was because of an injury to Braxton Miller. In ’15 he was yo-yoed in and out of the starting role while putting up inconsistent numbers.
Head coach Urban Meyer said about the quarterback competition to start the season,
“Cardale finished the season as the starter, and I started thinking for him not to take the first snap, he had to get beat out, and he wasn’t beat out. It was very close, but we got two good players and they’re going to play.” (ESPN)
At times, in 2015, he looked like the quarterback that finished 2014 in the top-five of the Heisman voting. He went 14-18 for 324 combined yards and five total touchdowns on the road against Rutgers. Before being cited for an OVI over the Halloween weekend on Ohio State’s campus that earned him a one-game suspension.
He did rebound, after the suspension, with a stellar game on the road at Illinois with 224 combined yards and two touchdowns. However, the following week at home against Michigan State he was terrible combining for only 110 yards.
Like I said above, 2015 was a “yo-yo season”.
With no more options behind him Barrett, on offense and defense, he’s feeling as that the team should enjoy the victories unlike last year saying,
“We had so many great players, we knew there was so much we could have done,” Barrett said. “There were times where we won a game and we didn’t enjoy it.”(Fox Sports)
2016 starts off with two home games against Bowling Green and Tulsa. Before heading to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. That matchup will tell Buckeye fans if they’re going to be in store for more of a 2014 season, or the frustrating year just witnessed.
Barrett has said that he’s up for the pressure being “The Guy” saying,
“That doesn’t really change anything, because I’m not going to relax or get comfortable,” Barrett said. “That’s when you stop getting better, and I want to be better. There are things I know I can work on.
“But I’ll carry the weight on my shoulders to make plays, which I’m comfortable with. I have confidence in myself to do that.” (ESPN)
He is exuding the confidence that you would want from your starting quarterback. But what Buckeye fans saw in 2015, should they have the same comfort in the junior from Wichita Falls?
As 2015 showed, it doesn’t look like they should.