J.T. Barrett’s one-game suspension shouldn’t have too great an effect on the Buckeyes’ chances against Minnesota on Saturday. Cardale Jones will start at quarterback, just like he did in Ohio State’s first seven games this season, all of which ended in Buckeye wins.
But what Barrett’s suspension could have an effect on moving forward is Barrett.
Head coach Urban Meyer met with the media Monday, two days after news of Barrett’s citation for operating a vehicle while intoxicated earned him a one-game suspension. Meyer relayed some of the things he and Barrett talked about in wake of the incident, and among them were how Barrett will have to deal with the perception people have of him in the wake of this.
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“I love J.T., I'm not ashamed to say that. He's like a child. He's like one of my favorite guys I've ever got to coach," Meyer said. "J.T.'s going to have to deal with something that he's never had to deal with. When they say, 'You're too short, you don't run fast enough, your arm strength isn't good enough, you're just an average quarterback,' you can deal with that. You just outwork it. It's a little bit like when a coach (is told), 'You're not a good coach,' OK we're not a good coach.
"When they start attacking who you are, especially people who don't know who you are, and I told him, that's the toughest thing he'll ever have to deal with is that now there's some question as to who you are. And I imagine he's never had to deal with that. Because J.T.'s always been J.T.
"And, yes, he may be a little too short, his arm strength maybe not that — he can deal with that. How do you deal with that? You work a little harder. How do you deal with, what is he 20 years of doing right and 30 seconds of doing wrong — or three minutes, whatever it was. That's real though. And that's something he's going to have to deal with.
"I'm going to try to help him. We all are going to try to help him. Because that's the toughest thing that he'll have to deal with as far as protecting his name."
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Meyer also said that Barrett will forfeit part of his scholarship as punishment for the transgression. Ohio State specified that this means Barrett will forfeit summer aid, which is discretionary.
As for the on-field stuff, the Buckeyes will be without a guy who’s accounted for 12 of their touchdowns over the past three games. Barrett earned the starting quarterback job for the first time this season ahead of Ohio State’s win over Penn State, and he was responsible for five total touchdowns in that win.
Meyer said Monday that Jones will be the starter at quarterback and that Braxton Miller, who switched positions from quarterback to wide receiver ahead of this season, will be the backup if he is needed. Likely that would only occur in the event of an injury to Jones.
“As of right now it would be Braxton," Meyer said. "We're right in the middle of those conversations. But there's no question that he's our No. 2 quarterback."
Miller made the switch to receiver partially because he wasn't able to throw the way he did before a pair of shoulder injuries wiped out his 2014 season. He's thrown one pass this season, a three-yard completion.