Despite not playing a game on Saturday, No. 1 Ohio State consumed much of the headlines in the college football universe after news broke that redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett had been suspended for the Buckeyes’ upcoming game against Minnesota after being cited for operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
On Monday, OSU coach Urban Meyer spoke to the media for his weekly press conference in which he discussed the Barrett situation and looked ahead to the game against Minnesota.
Here are three notes from his presser.
As expected, the majority of Meyer’s time at the podium was spent discussing the situation surrounding Barrett.
Probably the most interesting wrinkle that came to light is that Barrett will have his summer aid revoked, Meyer announced.
Initially, the thought was that the Wichita Falls, Texas, native was having to pay for his fall or spring semester — which would have been a hefty payment since Barrett is from out of state.
An OSU spokesman later clarified that it is Barrett’s summer aid that is being rescinded.
This precedent was set in 2012 when former offensive lineman Jack Mewhort was involved in an alcohol incident. The same punishment was handed out to now-redshirt sophomore tight end Marcus Baugh in 2013.
One thing that Barrett has not lost, at least yet, is his role of being a team captain. Meyer said the possibility of removing the hypothetical ‘C’ from the redshirt sophomore’s uniform has been tossed around among the team, but as of now, it will remain.
“I visited with some older players about that,” Meyer said. “My initial reaction was that he might but we just talked to some guys but it was very strong with the leadership on the team to (not take it away). I’m still in my own mind going through that. But as of now, no.”
For many fans on Saturday, the news of Barrett’s citation greeted them when they awoke from their Friday night slumber. The same was true for OSU’s coach.
“(I found out through) a text message at 6 a.m.,” Meyer said. “ I called the person who texted me and said, ‘is this right?’”
After getting the message, Meyer said he went about dealing with it, considering all the facts and consulting with athletic director Gene Smith before settling on the one-game suspension.
Later in the day, the coach said, Barrett came over to his house “blown away, devastated” by his actions. Meyer stressed that the redshirt sophomore was distraught over the possible harm his mistake would place on the team.
Meyer said he is “disappointed it happened” but the team is set to turn the page on the issue.
“We did what we did and we’re moving forward,” he said.
Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones will reassume the role of starting quarterback, which he occupied for the season’s first seven games. This Saturday, however, Barrett will no longer be backing him up.
So who slides into that spot in case something, like an injury, were to happen to Jones during the game?
Is it redshirt freshman Stephen Collier who has seen the field in garbage time once already this year? Or is it a certain former two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?
“As of right now, it would be Braxton (Miller),” Meyer said of the backup role. “There is no question he is our No. 2 quarterback.”
Even if the situation where another quarterback would have to come in for Jones in case of injury fails to materialize, there is a chance that Miller still may be used in some capacity as quarterback, specifically in the red zone.
In the first seven games with Jones at the helm, red zone efficiency was an area of concern for OSU. To strengthen that weakness, Meyer capitalized on Barrett’s added dimension of running the football inside the red zone for two games before promoting him to full-time starter.
Now, potentially, Miller might assume Barrett’s old role.
“We’re not there yet, it’s still early in the week so we’re having those conversations right now,” Meyer said.
Wide receiver depth
Continuing with the discussion of the offensive side of the ball, Meyer talked about the hobbled state of the wide receiver position for the Buckeyes.
The coach said that junior H-back Dontre Wilson, who was been in and out of the rotation this season, is questionable for the Minnesota game after having a procedure on his foot.
Redshirt freshman Parris Campbell has seen the field sparingly in 2015 because an array of minor injuries, which continue to affect him into this week. Meyer said that the Akron native is also listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest.
Johnnie Dixon, a redshirt freshman, was a player that appeared to be poised to fill at wide receiver in the beginning of the season. But like Campbell, injuries have plagued the Palm Beach, Florida, native, limiting him to just one catch for 29 yards in the season opener against Virginia Tech.
Meyer said that Dixon has a microfracture right below his patella in his knee that will keep him out a couple of weeks.
All of this means that redshirt senior Jeff Greene and redshirt sophomore James Clark will most likely spend meaningful time on the turf against the Golden Gophers.
Both the said players saw most of their action this season on special teams, but in OSU’s game against Rutgers on Oct. 24, Greene and Clark both were in at wide receiver before garbage time arrived.
The duo received champion grades from Meyer mainly for their effort in perimeter blocking, although Greene did have one catch for 10 yards.
With the availability of Wilson and Campbell up in the air, Greene and Clark should be split out wide at some point on Saturday, as OSU and Minnesota are set to kickoff at 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.