Barrett explains why he didn’t claim Ohio State’s starting job earlier

J.T. Barrett (16) looks like his old self for the No. 1 Buckeyes on Saturday night.

Jim O'Connor

Perhaps nothing has been talked about more in college football season than the Ohio State quarterback situation. 

The latest chapter came Saturday night when J.T. Barrett, making his first start of the season, was the catalyst for an offensive explosion at Rutgers. 

After a 49-7 win, the sophomore was asked if health had played a role in his inability to win the starting job away from Cardale Jones in the preseason or in September when Jones was pulled for ineffectiveness in back-to-back starts. 


"No, I just didn’t play well," Barrett said. "It was simple as that. I didn’t play to the level I knew I was capable of playing. It’s all on me." 

Barrett completed 8 of 15 passes for 70 yards against Hawaii in the second game of the season then went 11 for 19 for 97 yards a week later against Northern Illinois. He threw a touchdown and an interception against the Huskies while playing the entire second half of a 20-13 win. 

"I was trying to do too much," he said. "I came back and we’re the No. 1 team in the country and all these great things and high expectations and I was trying to do too much. I was forcing stuff and trying to make the big throw and the big run and things like that instead of letting the game come to me. I think that was one of the reasons I didn’t start."

After throwing an interception in mop-up time against Western Michigan in the fourth game of the season, Barrett did not play at all when the Buckeyes won at Indiana. 

But a bad day in the red zone in Bloomington led coach Urban Meyer and his staff to get creative in the following week of practice, and the result was a plan to use Barrett in or near the red zone with Jones playing the majority of the snaps otherwise. 

Both played well in the first week of that experiment against Maryland, but Barrett was far more effective a week later against Penn State. 

That led Meyer to make Barrett his full-time field general this past Saturday against Rutgers, and the native Texan made his coach look very smart while exploiting one of the nation’s worst defenses. 

"I don’t feel like I was doing anything crazy, it was just doing what we do on offense," Barrett said after throwing for 223 yards and three touchdowns while running for 101 yards and a pair of scores. "Run the ball, read game, those are things I’m good at so I didn’t really feel pressure to play well or not. Pressure is something if you weren’t prepared. Like if I wasn’t prepared for the game I’d probably feel a little pressure but I feel like we prepared well offensively all week. I prepared myself." 

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