Relationship Counseling Needed for JT, Urban, and Offense

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: J.T. Barrett /

JT Barrett’s successes are undeniable. 27-5 as a starting quarterback and on the doorstep of numerous Big Ten records. Not to mention, his play during the 2014 National Championship season cannot (and should not) be forgotten despite his absence in the post season. Despite all of this, some counseling may be in store, like for any long-term relationship.

JT continues on his unprecedented fourth season of significant work behind center for the Buckeyes. The amount of time JT has spent as the signal caller is almost unheard of these days. Usually, QBs do not get their chance so early enough in their career, or if they do, they have the type of success to bolt early for the NFL.

However, JT defies odds. Due to a confluence of factors, Buckeye coaches and fans welcomed him back to year four leading the Ohio State offense. Unfortunately, with so much time comes wear and concern.

With the length of this relationship between JT and the Buckeyes much is known. The Buckeyes know that JT is passionate. They also know JT is reliable, and finally, the Buckeyes know that JT is a great source of success.

Cracks exist in the relationship’s armor as well. The Buckeyes know that JT can get dinged up. He is no superhuman and can fall prey to character flaws. Most recently (and importantly to this season), he cannot seem to stretch the field.

All of the good and all of the bad create a complicated relationship that will play out for the remainder of the season. How the Buckeyes come to grips with the situation will determine the course of the season.

Meet Halfway

First, JT Barrett is and will be the Ohio State starting quarterback for the remainder of 2017. Some may clamber for Haskins or Burrow, but it is all noise.

That is like thinking of ditching your long-term romantic partner to shoot off a message to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. On some level, it may work, but is it worth the risk?

No, JT will continue to lead the Buckeyes and good things will happen. Changes must still be made though.

The best changes will come in the form of compromise. Urban Meyer preached his desire for a more dynamic passing game all off-season. It spurred changes in the coaching staff and served as the touchstone for desperate fans all winter.

Following the troubles in week one and the catastrophe of week two, this approach must be abandoned. Urban and JT must look to each other and realize that throwing deep is not the best course for the relationship.

The best course involves looking back at their history. Specifically their history on the ground and not in the air.

Over JT Barrett’s four years, the Ohio State offense has been all but unstoppable on the ground. It has been an often boring and bland relationship because of this approach, but, it has also been successful. Success is the most important thing for the next four to five months.

Sexy versus Stable

Urban Meyer seems to have fallen victim to the old baseball adage that “chicks dig the long ball”. Chicks might and fans do, but the Ohio State football pedigree relies on three yards and a cloud of dust.

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Urban and JT must skip out on sexy and look for stability the remainder of this season. That will call for a heavy dosage of spread option and hand-offs to a great combination of running backs (pst… Urban, stop forgetting about Mike Weber as well).

Looking ahead, this change can pay dividends. One team remains on Ohio State’s schedule that can purely outscore them, Penn State. However, the Nittanly Lions rely heavily on the run that Ohio State has proven it can still stop. A month and a half of improvement can make all the difference as well.

The key will be going back to the root of the relationship and playing one week at a time. This worked when JT had another bad week two loss to Virginia Tech in 2014. The Buckeyes found stability in their ground dominance and rode that to win after win.

Trepidation of sticking with the same old stuff is fair. The same old stuff saw the Buckeyes trounced in their last semifinal appearance. You cannot win if you aren’t there though, and a compromise on stability can result in 11 straight wins and a chance in the playoff.

Next: Awaken from the OU Nightmare

JT, Urban, and the Buckeye offense require some relationship counseling, but this relationship is far from over.