I’m not proud to be a Buckeye today. It’s not because they lost 31-16 to the Oklahoma Sooners in “The Shoe.” It’s not because of the blatant disrespect by the very sensitive Baker Mayfield when he planted the OU flag into the middle of the field after their victory.
It’s because of how Buckeye fans have reacted in the wake of the loss. Especially towards quarterback J.T. Barrett. Or as I like to call him, Just Touchdowns Barrett.
Barrett struggled mightily versus the Sooners. That was obvious. He did so in his last three game, against the Indiana Hoosiers for a half last week, and the entire night against the eventual National Champion Clemson Tigers. I can’t ignore that.
But what I can say is it’s not entirely on him. Most fans don’t watch all twenty-two players on the field. Most don’t know how to read what’s happening and why. So all they pay attention to is the guy with the ball. And who has it the most? The QB. That’s why they unfairly get all the blame, and undeservedly get all the credit.
So let me tell you what I see. I’ve seen an offensive line that hasn’t given Barrett enough time to throw. Especially the right side of the line. I see wide receivers with elite speed, but poor route running not get separation from defensive backs, while also dropping touchdown passes on the few occasions they got behind coverage and J.T. had enough time to sling it down field. I also saw receivers not come back to the ball when it was thrown to them. There’s also been some lack luster play calling, no matter who the offensive coordinator is. Why hasn’t Urban Meyer been called into question for not making proper adjustments, a la Nick Saban.
Nobody’s talking those issues. But hey, I’m here to get folks to stop bashing J.T. so I’ll practice what I’m preaching by not bashing anyone else. So back to J.T.
What he is, is a great example of what us Ohio State Alumni want in a student-athlete. Let me repeat that last part. STUDENT-ATHLETE. He’s already earned his bachelors degree, while being the first three-time captain in Buckeye history.
On the field he’s been responsible for more touchdowns than any player in school history (104 as of 9/10) and most passing touchdowns (72 as of 9/10). He’s passed for over 6,800 yards, which is second in the OSU record books, and by the end of this season, if he stays healthy, will pass Art Schlichter (7,547) for first all-time. Most importantly, he’s led the Scarlet and Gray to 27 victories (27-5 record). He also holds 22 Buckeye records and two Big Ten regular season records.
Will he win a Heisman like Troy Smith? Probably not.
Will he play in the NFL like Art Schlichter, Bobby Hoying and Joe Germaine? Highly doubtful.
Will he lead a team to a National Title like Craig Krenzel or Cardale Jones? There’s still a VERY good chance.
Will he beat “That Team Up North” for a fourth consecutive season? I’m pretty confident he will.
Will he finish his career as the most accomplished QB in Buckeye history? Absolutely.
Stop talking about what he isn’t and celebrate what he is. They say you never know what you have until it’s gone. Next season when a new QB debuts for the Buckeyes, I can guarantee you at some point the same Buckeye fans will wish they had another J.T. Just wait.