Barrett Ready to Compete for Backup QB Position
By Patrick Murphy
It was a Monday in the middle of the 2013 football season, and for the Buckeyes, Mondays are “off” – no pads required, game films to watch, a time to recover from Saturday’s game.
For freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, this middle-of-the-season Monday was an opportunity for him to develop his game, something he didn’t get in practice.
As the media gathered in one end zone of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center practice field for player interviews, Barrett – in full pads – and a graduate assistant worked on the opposite end. The quarterback repeatedly threw different patterns, working with the coach on each throw before moving on.
J. T. Barrett
Photo by Dan Harker
“He's got a quick release, he's pretty accurate,” offensive coordinator Tom Herman said of the quarterback last week.
"Those things are what drew us toward him [during recruitment].”
An ACL injury suffered his senior year of high school forced Barrett to redshirt his first year on campus. After a year of leading the scout team in practice, the 6’1” quarterback out of Texas now has an opportunity to see the field.
According to Herman, how much he plays this year will depend on how he “makes the most of his reps” in spring practice.
With starting quarterback Braxton Miller slowed by minor shoulder surgery, there should be plenty of reps available for Barrett and redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones this spring.
If Barrett does win the second string job, it will be due to his hard work since enrolling early.
“He has reworked his body since he got here,” Herman said of Barrett. “[He] came in kind of pudgy as a would-be high school senior, in the second semester and has basically spent a whole year reworking his body.”
Peak physical conditioning is a must in an Urban Meyer offense that requires a quarterback who can run and throw.
As a junior at Wichita Falls Rider in Texas, Barrett passed for over 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for over 1,500 nine scores. Before his injury, Barrett had thrown for 784 yards and rushed for 569 more with a total of 12 touchdowns.
In addition to his work ethic and physical skills, Barrett brings something else to the table, something coaches can’t teach but need to see from a quarterback: leadership.
“He showed a lot of leadership on the scout team this year so it will be interesting to see what he can do thrown into the fray with live bullets,” Herman said.
“His high school coach, Jim Garfield, and his parents deserve a ton of credit because he is a helluva leader.”
Now Barrett will have to step up as a leader from the scout team to the full squad if his number is called.
Herman is confident his young player is ready for that.
“He's done laying in the weeds,” he said. “Now he's got to get out of the weeds and go attack this thing.”