The relationship between a quarterback and offensive coordinator is one of the most important in football.
This isn’t some earth shattering revelation, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The two must be on the same page or it could significantly hinder an offense.
That’s why it was so crucial Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and newly-hired Buckeyes offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson hit the ground running as soon as Wilson was brought in to replace the departed Ed Warinner and Tim Beck. Barrett and Wilson will go a long way in determining how successful Ohio State’s offense will be in 2017.
“One of the things is, I think his mindset is that he’s a go-getter type attitude,” Barrett said recently of Wilson. “Definitely team-oriented, all about the team. Try to make sure that we just function our best as a group.”
There hasn’t been a ton of time for Barrett and Wilson to develop a personal relationship yet as Ohio State’s assistant coaches haven’t spent a ton of time around the team the last month or so. With National Signing Day just two days away, the staff has been out on the road recruiting while Ohio State's players began winter workouts with strength coach Mickey Marotti.
But the two were undoubtedly familiar with each other prior to Wilson’s arrival in Columbus. After all, Barrett went against Wilson for three years when he was the head coach at Indiana.
After Ohio State’s win over the Hoosiers in Columbus last season, Wilson was not shy in his postgame remarks when it came to Barrett even after the Buckeyes’ signal caller completed just 9-of-21 passes for 93 yards.
“In my opinion, from afar, I think he’s the best quarterback in college football,” Wilson said then. “He’s one of the best players, he’s one of the best teammates. I’m not in their locker room, but I’m sure he’s a phenomenal leader. That’s why those young players are playing so well.”
“He might have been off today, but he’s human. I think J.T. Barrett is an awesome football player.”
And while he wasn’t in Ohio State’s locker room that day, Wilson is now. And the relationship he develops with Barrett between now and the Buckeyes’ season-opener in August — against Indiana, no less — will be critical to Ohio State’s offensive success next year.
Wilson is the third offensive coordinator for Barrett in his Ohio State career. As a redshirt freshman, Barrett had Tom Herman calling his plays. For the last two years, it was Warinner with an assist from Beck.
Now, it's Wilson's turn. And while three coordinators in four seasons is certainly a lot to ask for any quarterback, Barrett said he does not see it as an issue.
Instead, he views it more as another opportunity.
“I think one of the main things is that you just try to do your best to get to know each one,” Barrett said. “Our relationship has to be so tight and there's gotta be a tremendous amount of trust in that relationship. The relationships that I have with Coach [Tom] Herman and Coach Beck, those are lifelong relationships. I think that's going to be the same thing with Coach [Ryan] Day and Coach Wilson.”