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J.T. Barrett picks up another Big Ten award; Buckeye pass defense still in focus

OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16)  carries the ball during a game against Kent State Sept. 13. OSU won 66-0. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) carries the ball during a game against Kent State Sept. 13. OSU won 66-0.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Before Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spoke at his weekly Monday press conference, the Big Ten announced that redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett had been named the conference’s co-Freshman of the Week.

Barrett’s award came after he threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns and gained 409 yards of total offense — the second best output in school history — in the win against Cincinnati on Saturday. Just four games into his career, he has already been named either Big Ten Freshman of the Week or co-Freshman of the Week three times, in addition to one Offensive Player of the Week award.

While Meyer addressed Barrett’s development this season, he also took time to talk about the Buckeyes across the board as they come off the 50-28 win against the Bearcats.

  • Meyer said he was “very pleased” with OSU’s offensive performance against Cincinnati.
  • He said Barrett has been a strong “distributor” and the coaching staff is working to give him more responsibilities going forward.
  • The champions on offense were: Senior wide receivers Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas, redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith, Barrett, redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett and senior tight end Jeff Heuerman.
  • Offensive players of the game were the entire offensive line and sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott.
  • The champions on defense were: sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa, senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett, junior linebacker Joshua Perry and junior cornerback Armani Reeves.
  • Bosa was the defensive player of the game.
  • Meyer said “the obvious concern is pass game” for his defense. The pass defense gave up 221 yards and three touchdowns to one Cincinnati player on Saturday.
  • Meyer said there is a new “Thursday race” award, given to redshirt-sophomore running back Bri’onte Dunn this week for his work on kick coverage.
  • Meyer said kick coverage will be a challenge against Maryland on Saturday. He called the Terrapin’s kick and punt returners some of the best in the Big Ten.
  • He said he expects a “big time atmosphere” in College Park, Md., for the game.
  • Meyer said the lapses in pass defense against Cincinnati were on the coaching staff as well as player execution.
  • “We had four really bad plays that we have to get corrected,” Meyer said of the Buckeyes’ pass defense.
  • He said the defense still “absolutely” has the potential to be a championship-caliber unit.
  • Meyer said he was “really excited” to see the production OSU got from skill-position players against Cincinnati. The Buckeyes’ offense totaled 710 yards, with more than 300 yards both passing and rushing.
  • The coach said the offensive line is picking up depth and improving four games into the season.
  • He said he considers the OSU offense a “very good one, potentially a great one.”
  • Meyer addressed a potential quarterback controversy next season between Barrett and senior Braxton Miller by saying: “Braxton is our quarterback.”
  • Meyer said OSU had some fun with assistant strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel after his takedown of a fan who rushed the field, but also had a serious conversation with him about potential consequences if something were to have happened to the fan.
  • Meyer said the matchup with Maryland is another “big one” for his pass defense.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Terrapins on Saturday at noon.

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