Since a broken ankle forced J.T. Barrett to vacate his newfound role as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, he has kept a relatively low profile in recent months.
Barrett, who was thrust into such a capacity in the wake of Braxton Miller’s season-ending injury last August, emerged from early struggles to become arguably one of the most productive quarterbacks in program history.
In a season where Barrett combined for a school-record 45 total touchdowns and guided the Buckeyes to an 11-1 record, he became a Heisman Trophy candidate and finished fifth in the award’s final voting before a suffering a season-ending injury against Michigan.
As he nurses his ankle back to health, Barrett also seems to be slowly nursing his hopes of becoming the starting quarterback once more.
On Thursday morning, he met with a gaggle of reporters.
- In what’s been described by some as an embarrassment of riches at quarterback, Barrett is dueling with Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones to be the team’s starter next season. He said the competition isn’t that different from what it was last season. “Last year at this time, Braxton was coming off his first surgery and me and Cardale was competing for the number two spot. It’s still the same.”
- Like Jones, Barrett played down the battle at quarterback. “It’s not any bad blood at all, we’re friends out here. We always try to help each other get better.”
- He added: I think that’s just funny because we all see what we’re able to do here in practice, but I mean it just really came out last year that we can play. With that being said, somebody’s taking a backseat. But it’s always what’s best for the team … it shouldn’t be given to somebody, whoever’s going to win is going to earn it and it’s going to be the right choice for the team, for us to get where we want to go.
- Barrett, who is still recovering from surgery to repair his broken ankle, said he’s unsure when he’ll be able to practice at full speed. “It’s mostly how I feel — knowing that I’m getting my strength back in my quad and things like that. It’s not a date type of deal, it’s basically just how I feel.” Barrett is currently practicing in a limited role. He can throw, but he can’t run.
- Barrett said his performance last season isn’t good enough to land him the starting job this year. “I was blessed to have Coach Herman and Coach Meyer design ways for me to best fit this offense and I think that’s something that I really appreciated, but I think there’s also a lot of things that I could’ve done better.”
- With speculation that Ohio State might try and implement a two-quarterback system of sorts, Barrett said he couldn’t envision such a scenario. “I wouldn’t even know how that would look or how that would work out. That would be kind of a weird deal. Somebody’s going to be the best quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes … at the end of it, it’s going to be it is what it is. Everything’s going to be all right.”
- Barrett said he offers Ohio State certain brand of leadership. “I think all three of us have an ability to go out there and play, but also being able to lead the other people who may not have the same ability but giving them confidence and make sure everybody knows what’s going on.”