Sorry for yet another JT Barrett post. I promise this post isn't about starting Burrow or Haskins. This isn't about blaming any one person. I'm just stating my observations of JT over the past 3 years. Feel free to agree or disagree with my analysis.
First off, I would like to acknowledge a turning point in his career. It may have been the t injury. I could have been the Heisman talk. I could have been the fact that he watched Cardale take his team to the national championship and win it all. Maybe it's the coaches? Or, what about the offensive talent? In my opinion, it has been a combination of them all. He are JT's highlights from his freshman season...
Notice a difference? Something I've been saying for the past few years is JT is playing like he is trying to prove that he's an NFL QB. He is trying to show that he isn't just another running quarterback. He wants to show that he has a future. But, in reality, he DOES NOT! I don't want to be rude or offensive, but that's just the truth. What makes it worst is he is ruining his only chances of being a pro quarterback by going away from what he's good at. Going back to his freshman year, I saw a QB who didn't have anything to lose. After getting pummeled by VT, everyone wrote him and OSU off. He played the rest of that season without concern. He took off running with every opportunity. He flung the ball without effort. He made good reads on options. He played like he didn't have a job to lose and nothing to prove.
... Then came the Michigan game and the injury. I can't totally blame the injury because when Cardale came in, they limited his actions. They used Cardale as a personal assistant to Zeke. He only handed the ball off. But, the Wisconsin game is where you saw Cardale take over the team. Then came Bama. Then Oregon. Cardale, the person he beat out last spring, had reached the pinnacle of CFB quarterbacks. He even killed a nose tackle on a QB draw. People slowly stopped talking about JT and started talking Cardale. Cardale even had a press conference to announce that he was coming back to school. AFTER STARTING 3 GAMES!!!
That next spring JT played but he looked rusty. He didn't look the same. We blamed the injury. We blamed the coaching change. We thought he would get back to normal form. When the season started, both he and Cardale looked subpar. They were both looking over their shoulders. They were both playing like they had to prove they are NFL worthy. Cardale took over the national championship by running through people and rifling passes in tight windows. The following season, he tried to throw with "touch" and avoid taking big hits. JT, he stopped airing out deep passes. He stopped throwing passes into tight windows. To me, the biggest sign of his change was in his running. For whatever reason, JT stopped running to make plays and started running out of necessity. He stopped taking off and held on the ball longer and longer. It is still evident. If you watch his scrambles over the past 2 years, you will see him running out of bounds A LOT and also sliding and diving to avoid contact. I didn't see much of that his freshman year.
Now, the biggest elephant in the room is the talent surrounding him. We blamed offensive linemen, wide receivers, etc. I can't say we are wrong. Each one has negatively impacted JT's growth. There are no play makers in the wide receiver group. They don't have the swagger to call out starters like Mike Thomas. They don't the ability to make db's pause like Devin Smith. They don't make DB's fear taking a misstep like Curtis Samuel or Jalin Marshall would. They have all of the talent in the world but they too are in their heads. JT plays like he reads their lack of certainty. He holds on to the ball. He acts like all of their drops are on him. Watching him react to their plays make me wonder if he questions whether his passes could have been thrown better. He tries to perfect passes and holds on to them for too long. He tries to have perfect touch instead of just letting the ball fly from his hands. Cardale did the same the season after he won the national championship. He held on for too long and didn't play with the same power.
And, finally, this is where I blame the coaches. JT, in my opinion, is the most talented QB on the roster. He wasn't when Cardale was here but who cares? A good boyfriend could make the ugliest girl feel like she is Beyonce. The same applies for a coach. A good coach can make a flawed QB feel like he is Peyton Manning. You can blame Herman, Beck, Urban, Warrinner, or Ryan Day. I don't care. It is up to the coach to take what he sees and make the player ignore all of the outside influences. A good coach is supposed to make the player forget about the next man, or the next stage in life, or the next player. Tom Herman was good at that, but not great. He couldn't stop Braxton from trying to prove that he's a QB. Beck couldn't do that with Cardale or JT. And Warrinner and Urban were there through it all. Now, it's up to Day to get JT or the next QB to stop thinking so much. And he is facing a snowball of bad habits rolling down the hill.
My essay is complete, but do yourself a favor and watch JT's highlight from 2014. See how careless he is with the ball (in a good way). Then think of our past 3 seasons. I think you will notice the differences.