Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer spent 30 minutes talking to reporters at a press conference Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. At least half the questions he answered had to do with his injured quarterback, J.T. Barrett.
Once again, Meyer confirmed Barrett will play Saturday in the Big Ten Championship against No. 4 Wisconsin. Barrett suffered a knee injury last week at Michigan. He was hit by a camera on the sideline before the game and then left the game in the third quarter after a tackle. After the game, he said he had been dealing with the issue for a while.
Barrett returned to practice for the No. 8 Buckeyes on Wednesday, Meyer said, but was limited to throwing.
“He practiced full (Thursday),” Meyer said. “He’s cleared to play.”
Awkward trophy small talk. pic.twitter.com/6H4XWdrBsH— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) December 1, 2017
Almost halfway through press conference before Urban Meyer mentions “laser focus.” pic.twitter.com/7ploUt6AUp— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) December 1, 2017
Barrett had a surgical procedure on the knee Sunday, Meyer said, but he didn’t want to get into detail about that because he said it was Barrett’s business.
Asked if it was something that could prevent Barrett from playing, Meyer said, “Certain people it probably could. J.T.’s a little different. He’s just one of the toughest human beings I’ve come across in my career. He’s a guy that’s all in. He’s just a very unique individual.”
Meyer said Barrett told him he’ll be fine Saturday. Every day this week, Meyer watched Barrett rehab. He estimates Barrett rehabbed the knee 15 hours per day. He said Barrett’s not normal.
“Every time I walked by the training room when I got in at 6 a.m. he's there,” Meyer said, “and when I go home at 6 at night he's there.”
Ohio State will monitor Barrett’s health on Saturday, and Meyer said, “Some game-time decisions will be made.”
If Barrett has a setback Saturday and Ohio State has to rely on backup Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes are confident in him. Meyer said Haskins has made a tremendous amount of progress. He relieved Barrett in the third quarter at Michigan and led the Buckeyes from a 20-14 deficit to a 31-20 victory.
“I think throughout the year he’s grown up,” Meyer said. “He’s matured. I think the Illinois game if you look back, the weather was terrible, but after the fumble, he came back and played with energy and emotion, which we expect from our quarterback, and it carried over. He practiced well all week. When his number was called, he played at a high level. There’s a lot of confidence in him right now among our players and staff.”