With the Cotton Bowl against Southern California just two weeks away, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was much more concerned Friday with the Trojans’ defense than he was the status of his right knee.
He thought he answered the question about his knee when, on Dec. 2, he led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship game win over Wisconsin, six days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery.
“It’s good; doing well,” Barrett said Friday.
He had just finished practice. He hasn’t missed one, in fact, since being cleared to return to the field four days after the surgery.
“No setbacks, no restrictions, nothing like that,” Barrett said. “It’s doing well.”
Nevertheless, he still underwent surgery. The two spot scars on either side of his kneecap and short scar below that are proof of the cuts that had to be made to get to the floating piece of meniscus that caused the joint to lock up late in the third quarter at Michigan.
“If anything, I have some scar tissue in there they’ve got to break down a little bit,” Barrett said. “But that’s about it.”
Barrett said he was not surprised by the way things progressed, from the moment he agreed to the surgery the Sunday after the Michigan game to now.
“Going into it, I just prayed about it, and then after praying about it I was just letting God kind of handle it,” Barrett said. “I didn’t really worry about it too much and just put in the work in order to try to put myself in position to play.”
Now he’s immersed in the preparations to face the USC defense.
“You see a lot of speed out there in their defense,” Barrett said. “They’ve also got some stout guys in the middle … so it’s not like they lack that physical impact as well. But you definitely see a lot of speed across the field in their 'D' line, linebackers and secondary.
“They play kind of a, I guess you would say, risky defense. They play a lot of man and have not a lot of help in the back end. … They depend on the speed that they have at the 'D' line to get to the quarterback and also make the quarterback make bad decisions in the throw game. … It’s one of those high-risk, high-reward defenses.”
His mind is on that, and Barrett added he is letting his mother deal with handling the plethora of ticket requests from friends and family for what will be his final college game. It will be played 130 miles from where he grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas.
“It’s fair to say there’s going to be a lot of Barretts in the house,” he said.
Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Football podcast: