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J.T. Barrett Doesn't Want to Hear About Last Year, He's Living in 2015
By Patrick Murphy
The offense is motoring again, but this is nothing new with J.T. Barrett at the helm
Photo by Jim Davidson
 

COLUMBUS – J.T. Barrett is back!

That was the slogan of Buckeye Nation the last two weeks. After watching the redshirt sophomore quarterback take control of the Ohio State offense for the better part of the last two games, OSU fans are convinced things have returned to the offensive flow of last year.

Even head coach Urban Meyer bought into the narrative.

I think he’s back,” Meyer said of Barrett after his first start of the year against Rutgers last Saturday. “That injury was, I didn’t see it in the spring, I didn’t see the J.T. Barrett that was mobile and could go. In training camp he was getting better and better and better. He’s only a redshirt sophomore. I think he’s in full swing now.”

But the recently outspoken Barrett will tell you a different story.

That’s the thing about it. I don’t feel the same like I did a year ago,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s a different year, it’s a different situation. So I feel better where I’m at.”

Barrett doesn’t want to hear comparisons to last year. The season where he led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 record and broke multiple school and conference records is in the past.

“I don’t want to compare it to last year and be like, ‘Do you wanna go back to that’ because I feel like I’m a better me than I was last year, which I think was a good thing.”

The young quarterback is wiser than his years. This year is nothing like last season.

At this point in 2014, Ohio State had one loss, at home to Virginia Tech, and was outside the College Football Playoff talk a week before the selection committee released its initial rankings. Barrett was the starting quarterback and was attempting to rebuild OSU’s résumé after his early-season growing pains.

J.T. Barrett wants you to stop comparing to 2014
Photo by Dan Harker
 

This season, the Buckeyes remain undefeated and ranked No. 1 in both major polls. With the selection committee’s rankings less than a week away, the Scarlet and Gray are firmly entrenched in the playoff conversation as the defending National Champions.

For Barrett, the season is very different. A year ago, he beat out Cardale Jones for the starting quarterback job in Fall Camp, but this year it’s been a different story. After breaking his ankle against Michigan in late November, Barrett worked his way back, but lost the job to Jones before the season began.

“It’s been different,” Barrett admitted of this year. “I guess it’s not the ideal situation after starting last year. So you think about players that have started a year. Next year you think they’d be the starter, but in my case I wasn’t because I didn’t play well enough.”

Barrett slowly carved out a role in the offense behind Jones, first seeing playing time as a backup before becoming the red zone quarterback. Two weeks ago against Penn State, Barrett took over full time and started his first game since Nov. 29 the following week.

There wasn’t nerves,” Barrett said after the win over the Scarlet Knights. “I feel confident in our game plan and what I’m doing as a quarterback. I was nervous last year the first couple of games, but now there’s no nerves or jitters or anything like that.”

And that’s another major difference. Barrett has a year of experience in this offense and is comfortable with what to do on the field. This is evident in the demeanor and the play of the sophomore captain.

“Just tried to go out there and do my best to help the team win,” he said. “Just coming from a different angle instead of the red zone the last two weeks.”

It has been an interesting year for Barrett coming from backup to red zone to starter. After being a Heisman Trophy candidate last season, this is not how he likely pictured the 2015 season going.

It’s a new year and it’s a new and improved J.T. Barrett.

I try to just focus on myself and what can I do to get better,” he said. “And from there I think I got better as a person first and then as a football player as well.”

Player profiles relevant to story:
16 - Barrett, J.T.
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