For six straight games, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has played at a high-enough level that he earned his way back into the Heisman Trophy discussion, with his performance Saturday in a win over Penn State serving as a booster shot.
He’s aware of the talk, but he’s also aware of what critics were saying about him seven games ago after a loss to Oklahoma. That’s why he is keeping it in perspective as the Buckeyes, who are sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings, prepare for a game Saturday at Iowa.
“The world we live in, it’s kind of a microwave-type of world,” Barrett said after practice Wednesday. “Like not too long ago, I was at a spot where people were saying that I shouldn’t start. I am aware of that. I’m over with that.”
Now that the scenario has flipped, he said he is adhering to advice offered by quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
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“‘Don’t bite the apple,’” Barrett said. “I guess it’s a more of an Adam-and-Eve-type of reference. Don’t bite the apple, because once you think you have it, you don’t.
“With that, I’m just trying to do my best with the people around me: coach Day, coach (Kevin) Wilson, coach (Urban) Meyer, and my family members and mentors. They’re doing a great job, my friends. And then just staying off of social media in order not to see that because, like I said, it wasn’t too long ago where I wasn’t good enough.”
Meyer said hybrid back and kickoff returner Parris Campbell is questionable for the Iowa game after leaving last week’s game because of a head bump. But when asked if that means Campbell won’t play, Meyer said: “I didn’t say that.”
After Campbell left Saturday's game, K.J. Hill took most of the snaps at hybrid back and returned kickoffs and punts. Wilson, the offensive coordinator, said that Demario McCall is practicing as the backup hybrid back.
Linebackers on call
Chris Worley said that he and fellow starting linebackers Jerome Baker and Dante Booker are willing to step onto the maligned kickoff-coverage team if needed. Worley said this week that Meyer “made it clear there’s going to have to be some guys that play a lot of football around here on offense and defense that may have to go into the games on special teams.”
“We’ll see what happens,” Worley said. “We have great young players (on the coverage team). They have to play great. And we’ll see how that unfolds.”