For the first 6 weeks of the 2015 season, the Ohio State offense has had the consistency of a middle schooler. After sprinting out of the blocks in Blacksburg, VA, in front a national audience, hopes were running high across Buckeye Nation. Cardale looked terrific, Braxton Miller was back to making his signature highlight plays and JT Barrett was able to throw a touchdown pass in mop up duty.
Everything was right in Buckeye Nation as the 2015 Buckeyes looked as if they were simply a continuation of the inaugural College Football Playoff National Champions.
It was Cardale Jones’s job to lose… and for 6 weeks he managed to hang on to it. And for those 6 weeks many of the Buckeye faithful watched intently, hoping that he would be able to return to the form that helped him guide the offense for the final three games of 2014. The problem became that he failed to develop the consistency the team needed for another national title run.
So Cardale didn’t play as well as everyone had hoped. So what? OSU still had JT Barrett, who had proven himself the year before.
Solution is simple. Play JT. He had been getting game reps and should be ready to go. Right? However during his tenure as the backup, he was limited to only about 20% of the practice reps (a number that is fairly consistent for most back up quarterbacks). This led to his inconsistencies during his limited game time in relief of Cardale.
Then Penn. St. happened.
It was the turning point for JT Barrett in 2014 and it could potentially prove to be the same for him this season. Starting as just the Red Zone option, Urban Meyer slowly migrated his starting field position past midfield. It was JT’s poise, leadership, and decision making that began to shine through.
Against Maryland, “The Distributer” validated Urban Meyer’s decision on Saturday night. After some early game miscues, he moved the offense up and down the field with relative ease. JT’s legs, which were the reason for his promotion, did not disappoint, but it was his arm that was incredibly impressive. Not only did OSU’s leading receiver Michael Thomas benefit, but Miller, Marshall and the forgotten man, Curtis Samuel did as well. It was Samuel’s touchdown reception that really blew the game open and put JT’s soft touch and accuracy on display.
With games against Michigan State and Michigan on the horizon, offensive continuity needed to be established. “The Distributor” has done it. He is the quite voice that steadies the Buckeye ship through the rough waters. And while JT may not have the cannon arm that Cardale Jones possesses or the elite agility and speed that lies in the legs of Braxton Miller; he combines a unique combination of skills and self awareness that allows him to ‘wow’ a defense.
The decision to start JT was made in week eight, but it was Just In Time for this Buckeye football team looking to repeat as National Champions.