A quick glance at Twitter will show that Ohio State fans are ready to replace the starting quarterback after the team’s 31-16 loss to Oklahoma.
None of those tweets came from the man who makes that decision.
Coach Urban Meyer stood behind redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett after the loss, providing a simple one-word answer when asked if there was any doubt as to who the starting quarterback will be going forward.
“No,” Meyer said.
He added that while Barrett did not play well against Oklahoma, the three-time team captain was not the sole reason the team lost.
“I’m going to be perfectly clear, there’s not a bullseye on J.T. Barrett,” Meyer said.
Still, backup quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow continue to breathe down Barrett’s neck, at least in the eyes of Ohio State’s internet coaching staff.
During Monday’s press conference, Meyer said he will start the quarterback who gives his team the best chance to win, no matter who that is. And right now, Meyer is sticking with Barrett.
“Any decisions about any personnel is strictly who gives us the best opportunity to win, whether it be right guard, quarterback,” Meyer said. “And right now, it’s not even a question.”
Yet, it remains a question to some followers of Ohio State. Many have clamored for either Haskins or Burrow to start in place of Barrett, and wholeheartedly believe that a change of personnel would aid the Buckeyes in their quest to reach another national championship game.
Even if he believes Barrett is the most deserving starter at the position, Haskins issued a tweet Monday that feeds the thoughts of those who think he should start in place of Barrett.
Soon ? https://t.co/WHfV3wPRY6
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr? (@dh_simba7) September 11, 2017
However, Meyer said the separator right now between Barrett and everyone else is the gap in actual on-field experience.
“You think of a quarterback and it’s just throwing; it’s much more than that. It’s getting the right plays and et cetera,” Meyer said. “Just the term ‘game ready’ is used quite often around here. That is, is Dwayne game ready to help us go win a game? And if we feel he is, then he’ll go into the game. And that opportunity is — that third quarter of Oklahoma is not the right time to do that.”
So far this season, Ohio State has not been given that chance to give its young quarterbacks playing time. In their season opener, the Buckeyes failed to create much separation from Indiana until the last several drives of the game, and the team was either tied or trailing the Sooners for all of its game against Oklahoma.
But Meyer said there will be chances soon for Haskins to take snaps in game situations and give him a chance to show his capabilities as Ohio State’s signal caller.
“We like to do that anyway. [The situation] hasn’t presented itself yet,” Meyer said. “At some point, we’re hoping if he continues to grow up and get some game experience, then you can evaluate it there. Does that make sense? First time to take a snap in those situations. Normally if something happened, you have to do it, but not in that situation.”
For the foreseeable future though, Barrett is going to be taking the first snaps under center for Ohio State. Even following the loss to Oklahoma, Barrett took accountability for the loss, admitting he did not perform well enough for the Buckeyes to win after he completed only 54.3 percent of his passes (19-of-35) for 183 yards, no touchdowns and a critical fourth-quarter interception.
As for the calls to be replaced, Barrett knows that’s just part of the position.
“When you’re winning, I get too much credit when I try to give that credit to the guys around me because that’s who I need. Ten other guys to play well,” Barrett said after the game. “When we lose, I mean, I’m the one to blame too. Rightfully so, I didn’t play well. Missed a lot of throws. Game of inches. It’s the life of a quarterback.”
And Meyer knows his quarterback has the thick skin to be able to take everything said of him online with a grain of salt.
“I see a mentally tough guy, he’s got to play better, we’ve got to play better and we’ve got to coach better,” Meyer said. “This is not the first time we’ve had a tough loss. Fortunately haven’t had too many. But you know me well, the ‘B-word’ doesn’t come out. We’re not blaming anybody.”