Urban Meyer: J.T. Barrett ‘has got to play better’

Sept 11, 2017
Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett gets up after being tackled by Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Armchair quarterbacks across the country have busied themselves in recent days posting opinions to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. about Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett.

“There is nothing complicated about this,” wrote Clay Travis of OutkickTheCoverage.com on Twitter. “J.T. Barrett is just not a good quarterback.”

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Even a potential future Buckeye, five-star defensive line prospect Micah Parsons, got in the act Saturday night, writing that Ohio State should replace Barrett with redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins. The next day Parsons apologized on Twitter.

“My fault about J.T,” he wrote.

Ohio State postgame interviews after Oklahoma loss

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer heard about Parsons’ Twitter post. He cautions his players to take care with their comments — whether they come in interviews or on social media platforms — because the Buckeyes don’t need headlines.

That somewhat explains his comments Saturday after the 31-16 loss to Oklahoma and on Monday in his weekly press conference. Everything Meyer says creates a headline, but he could have created a bigger one by benching Barrett. Instead he reiterated that he won’t bench his fifth-year senior for Haskins or redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow.

“Any decisions about any personnel is strictly who gives us the best opportunity to win, whether it be right guard or quarterback,” Meyer said. “It’s always been the case, and right now it’s not even a question.”

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Barrett has not thrown a touchdown pass in Ohio State’s last three games against top-10 teams: Michigan, Clemson and Oklahoma. His completion percentage has not topped 58 percent in those games.

Barrett’s career quarterback rating is 147.1. In those three marquee matchups, his rating has been 73.2, 77.8 and 92.5.

Buckeyes take the field (slow motion)

Meyer worries about Barrett’s confidence but will stick with him. The Buckeyes (1-1) play Army (2-0) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

“I see a mentally tough guy,” Meyer said. “He’s got to play better. We’ve got to play better, and we’ve got to coach better. He’s a very mature guy. He’s kind of seen it all.”

MORE: Photos of Ohio State vs. Oklahoma

Meyer does want to get the backup quarterbacks playing time soon. Burrow, who was throwing passes before the game Saturday less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand, appeared in five games last season. Haskins and true freshman Tate Martell have never appeared in a game for the Buckeyes.

“The term game ready is used quite often around here,” Meyer said. “That is: is Dwayne game ready to help us go win a game? If we feel he is, then he’ll go into the game. And the third quarter of Oklahoma is not the right time to do that. At some point we’re hoping if he continues to grow up and get some game experience then you can evaluate it there.”

Notes: Ohio State announced Monday its Sept. 23 home game against UNLV will start at noon and be televised on the Big Ten Network. Five of the eight games that follow do not yet have start times. … Wide receiver Austin Mack hit his head on the turf after a catch in the second half. Meyer listed him as probable for the Army game.