Urban Meyer praises J.T. Barrett, says 'let me evaluate' starting QB role

ByAustin Ward ESPN logo
Sunday, October 18, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A change might be coming at quarterback for Ohio State, but a final decision will have to wait for now.


After two productive weeks coming off the bench in the red zone and then seeing his role expand to essentially taking over the offense on a full-time basis, J.T. Barrett appears to be on the verge of reclaiming his starting job from Cardale Jones after seven weeks as the backup.

But even after Barrett accounted for four touchdowns and played extensively as No. 1 Ohio State pulled away for a 38-10 blowoutofPenn State on Saturday night at the Horseshoe, the Buckeyes weren't ready to officially pass the torch back to him quite yet.

"I thought J.T. came in and played great," coach Urban Meyer said. "He ran for [102] yards, and he obviously gives you that dual threat, and when you're bogged down a little bit, he did a great job.

"Just let me evaluate it. I'll let you guys know on Monday, and we'll go from there."

This certainly isn't the first time the Buckeyes have gone back to assess their options after a heated battle during training camp between the two decorated passers, and Meyer has consistently emphasized that both are proven, productive players who deserve to play.

Throughout the first half of the season, Jones maintained an edge thanks to his arm strength, results on the practice field and better performance in games. He remains unbeaten as a starter, dating back to his perfect run through the postseason on the way to the College Football Playoff championship.

For perhaps the first time since returning from a broken ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan last year, however, Barrett looked like the fifth-place finisher in the Heisman Trophy race that he was as a redshirt freshman, when his duties were expanded outside the red zone.

And by rushing for 102 yards and two scores and completing all four of his passes for 30 yards and two more touchdowns, Barrett made his strongest case yet that he could supplant Jones atop the depth chart.

"Ultimately, it's Coach Meyer's call, but, at the end of the day, I'm just trying to help the team win," Barrett said. "Whether that means going in for the red zone or if I'm the starting quarterback, at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters. When I'm in there, I'm just trying to do the best I can to help the team win.

"I don't know what the credentials for stats on the field in order to start at Ohio State are. ... I'm just trying to keep on getting better in practice, and the results come out on Saturday."

The Buckeyes will review those results Sunday.

After that, Meyer said he'll address them Monday.

But Saturday night, at least, was too soon for a definitive verdict.

"We'll let this game settle overnight, sleep on it and then we'll make some assessments," offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "I don't anticipate any changes, but we'll see how it goes.

"It's too early to make any decisions right now, and that's the head coach's decision, first of all," Warinner continued. "Second of all, we'll have a consult about it, but there's a reason we had Cardale starting. We'll just have to assess where we're at right now."

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