The departure of both Ed Warriner and Tim Beck did not come as a surprise to most Ohio State football fans, after two lackadaisical seasons in a row and the goose egg laid by the Buckeyes against eventual national champion Clemson. The addition of Kevin Wilson as the new mastermind behind the offense for the Scarlet and Gray has been received warmly by most fans, but it has the players even more excited.
On Sunday, members of the OSU football team were honored at the first media timeout of the Buckeyes men’s basketball game for their achievements in 2016. J.T. Barrett was honored for being named the best Big Ten player by the Chicago Tribune with the Silver Football Award.
Last season Barrett, who will be returning for his redshirt senior season after choosing not to enter the NFL Draft, had a roller coaster type season. From starting the year as a potential Heisman trophy candidate, to finishing it with a raw quarterback rating of 36.1 against Michigan and 12.7 against Clemson, Barrett has had better years.
Now, with Kevin Wilson at the helm, Barrett could very well return to the form he was in during his redshirt freshman season when he produced 45 total touchdowns. Wilson, known for a up-tempo offense and an air-it-out approach to the passing game, has been viewed as a welcome change in the eyes of Barrett.
“Just something new,” Barrett said. “I think sometimes we get set in our ways, but change is also a good thing. Change is not always bad. I think it was needed.”
Wilson has coached some notable quarterbacks who have finished their college careers with trophy cases full of accreditation. Sam Bradford and Landry Jones are the most notable, but all of his signal callers have a tendency to rack up plenty of yards.
Bradford threw for 50 touchdowns during his only season under Wilson’s direction, and the chance to see Barrett under a quarterback’s mastermind has many OSU fans itching to see what the new-look offense will do during the Spring Game. Although his return to Columbus for his final season seemed a lock immediately following the Fiesta Bowl, Barrett said the hiring of Wilson was a big factor in his decision.
“Just trying to make sure, that if I was going to come back that, it was something I was going to do that was best for me in order for me to help and grow as a quarterback,” Barrett said. “That was part of it.”
Wilson had high praise for Barrett after the Buckeyes defeated Indiana 38-17.
“In my opinion, from afar, I think that’s the best quarterback in college football,” Wilson said after the game. “Some of these guys have some stats, I’m not saying it because he’s in our league — I’m not a homer. When you watch that kid play, that kid and his unselfishness … he went through a lot. He was a premier player in the country two years ago when he got injured.”
Billy Price, who is following in the footsteps of Pat Elflein and returning for his redshirt senior season and moving to center, will now be under his third offensive coaching staff since arriving on campus. Although, as a whole, OSU’s offensive line performed well, there were more than a few times where the unit looked confused, or like they were blocking the wrong schemes.
Price admitted after the Fiesta Bowl loss he and the rest of the team understood what went wrong, but did not delve deeper into the subject. He, like Barrett, is welcoming the change Wilson is bringing.
“The offensive philosophy is going to be different,” he said. “There’s things that are going to be a lot different than they were, and it’s a positive change. We’re just looking forward to once spring ball comes and we get to see those changes, and see what we’re actually going to be working with.”
OSU kicks off the 2017 season with the Spring Game on April 15 at Ohio Stadium.