J.T. Barrett is back again. The record setting Ohio State quarterback is going through spring football for a fifth time and is also the first three-time Buckeye Football captain.
"I read something the other day that was hilarious," Barrett said. "It said 'J.T. Barrett's been at Ohio State longer than Bill Snyder's been a head coach.'"
That's not exactly true. Snyder--the 77-year old head coach at Kansas State--has coached the Wildcats for 25 years. Barrett, on the other hand, will go into 2017 as the starting quarterback again. He has either been the full-time--or in the case of 2015--part time starter for four years and figures to rewrite Ohio State's quarterback record book. Despite his success, Barrett felt the backlash of Buckeye Nation at times last season. Most notably, after Ohio State's 31-0 shut-out loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. With his degree already in hand, Barrett considered leaving OSU and turning pro after last season, but those thoughts never got too serious.
"It was really hard for me to leave Ohio State because that was like the worst game I've ever been a part of. We didn't score any points...I've never been shutout," Barrett said of the Fiesta Bowl. "That was part of (my decision to return) and also with the NFL, the impression of me wasn't where I wanted it."
After he announced his return, Barrett saw some of the fan backlash, with a segment of Buckeye Faithful, disappointed that he was coming back. It was a group hoping to see a new quarterback, like back-ups Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins or even freshman Tate Martell.
"We live in an era where everybody wants something new and something fresh. When the new i-phone 7 comes out everybody has to get that because it's the new latest thing," Barrett said. "I'm not the new latest thing anymore...I've been here for a minute. At the same time, I'm still trying to enhance and get myself better in order for us to be what we can be and that's all I can do."
Barrett will be working with a revamped offensive staff. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterback coach Ryan Day are the third OC and/or quarterback coach he's had in five years. Barrett says he sees the changes as positives and looks forward to seeing what new ideas Wilson and Day might bring.
"A lot hasn't changed...we're not creating new plays," Barrett said of the first days of spring ball with Wilson and Day. "The emphasis is on our tempo because I think that got away from us last year. We want to play fast. The other thing too is effort."
As the veteran in the quarterback room, Barrett has served as both a mentor for the up and coming Buckeye QB's and as the big brother--teasing the younger back-ups. The victim lately has been incoming freshman Tate Martell, whose stature is small--5'11--but his arm and reputation are big.
"He's shorter than I am and there's certain plays that you have to get tall in order to make the throw and I was like 'you didn't have a Jalyn Holmes or a Sam Hubbard running at you (in high school)," Barrett said. "But he's getting better. He's starting to adjust to it."