When J.T. Barrett was cited for operating a vehicle while impaired early Saturday morning, he lost his starting quarterback job for at least a week. Now the question for Barrett and the Ohio State Buckeyes is: What else was lost?
When J.T. Barrett was cited for operating a vehicle while impaired early Saturday morning, he lost his starting quarterback job for at least a week.
Now the question for Barrett and the Ohio State Buckeyes is: What else was lost?
The Buckeyes were on a roll, routing Penn State and Rutgers by a combined score of 87-17. Do they lose that momentum with Barrett suspended for this week's game against visiting Minnesota?
Will Barrett lose his starting job beyond the one week? What about his captaincy?
>> 1 P.M. THURSDAY:Dispatchbeat writer Bill Rabinowitz answers your Buckeyes football questions, dispatch.com/osuchat
More important, what must he do to rebuild trust and respect among his coaches and teammates that was at the essence of what made him special?
At his weekly news conference, coach Urban Meyer did not sugarcoat the seriousness of the task ahead for Barrett.
"I love J.T.," Meyer said. "I'm not ashamed to say that. He's like (my) child. He's one of my favorite guys I've ever gotten to coach. But J.T. is going to have to deal with something that he's never had to deal with."
It's one thing, Meyer said, for Barrett to be questioned for lacking prototype skills as a quarterback. Hard work can compensate for physical limitations.
"Now there's some question as to who you are," Meyer said. "I'm going to try to help him. We all are going to try to help him, because that's going to be the toughest thing that he'll have to deal with as far as protecting his name."
Barrett was involved in a domestic incident last December involving his ex-girlfriend, but no charges were filed. Asked if that, along with Saturday's citation, adds to his questions about Barrett, Meyer replied, "Yes, it does. I had chats with him about that last year and then this year, and those chats will not discontinue."
Meyer added some detail about Saturday's incident. He said that Barrett was driving to pick up a friend when he was stopped near a campus checkpoint.
"He said, 'Coach, it didn't even cross my mind (about intoxication) because I didn't have that much and I was fine,' " Meyer said.
Meyer said he found out about Barrett's citation at 6 a.m. Saturday. He said that Barrett came to his house over the weekend.
"Blown away, devastated," Meyer said of Barrett's demeanor. "All his concern was about the team, as you can imagine. Ever since I've known J.T., all of it is about the team. He feels like he let the team down."
As for whether Barrett can regain his starting job for next week's game at Illinois, Meyer was noncommittal.
"If he's good enough and if he earns that right," Meyer said. "(But) I haven't even gone that far yet."
Cardale Jones, who started the first seven games this season, will start Saturday, with Braxton Miller the backup.
Meyer said that Barrett's punishment includes not being eligible for financial aid next summer. He said he considered removing his status as one of Ohio State's six captains as voted by players, but "as of now" had decided not to strip him of that honor.
Offensive tackle Taylor Decker said that Barrett had already begun trying to make amends. He said that Barrett apologized at a team meeting Monday. In fact, he called certain team leaders, including Decker and Pat Elflein, on Sunday.
"I think for him to step up man to man and call one of his teammates is big," Decker said. "Not a lot of guys would have done that. When I spoke to him, he said, 'I'm going to be fine.' He was more worried about us than himself. That's J.T. - selfless. He'll learn from it and grow from it. I'm just glad he's healthy and nobody got hurt."
Now the Buckeyes must get ready for a Minnesota team that could have beaten Michigan last week if not for botched time management at the end of the game. It's not going back to square one with Jones back at quarterback. He was at the helm for Ohio State's magical postseason run last season and is 10-0 as a starter.
But the Buckeyes must show they can continue rolling without Barrett.
"I think it does affect the momentum," Decker said. "We were getting J.T. in there more and more and improving week to week. But I don't think it was just J.T. getting in there that was affecting our momentum. I think everybody was playing better and better. We obviously know we have played really well with Cardale at times. We are confident."