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Meyer: Fallout from Saturday Incident to Test J.T. Barrett

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer stressed that J.T. Barrett will face a new challenge in dealing with the aftermath of his drunk driving arrest on Saturday.

Saturday’s news out of Columbus that Ohio State starting quarterback J.T. Barrett had been arrested for drunk driving and subsequently suspended for the Buckeyes next game against Minnesota certainly added another plot twist to a quarterback situation that has seen its share of drama over the past two seasons. This latest development, however, is much more serious not because of the ramifications on the field but rather off of it.

Whatever acronym a state decides to use for it (in Ohio it’s OVI, operating a motor vehicle while impaired), the fact remains that drunk driving continues to be a major issue in our society. Thousands of lives are lost each year because people choose to get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve had too much to drink. It’s one reason police agencies from state highway patrols to local law enforcement are increasingly strict in punishing people who do so. Barrett’s arrest, however publicized it may be due to his level of fame as a big-time college football quarterback, is just another example.

Meyer: Fallout from Saturday Drunk Driving Arrest to Test J.T. Barrett

OSU head coach Urban Meyer discussed what’s next for the 20-year-old redshirt sophomore signal caller in the wake of this incident in his weekly press conference with the media. It certainly wasn’t surprising that he was going to field many a question relating to what transpired early Saturday morning.

In particular, he emphasized that discussions will now take place that aren’t centered upon Barrett’s physical characteristics as a passer but rather of his character, particularly as it relates to his standing at the next level.

“When they say, you’re too short, you don’t run fast enough, your arm strength isn’t good enough, you’re just an average quarterback, you can deal with that,” Meyer told Doug Lesmerises of “When they start attacking who you are, especially people who don’t know who you are, and I told him, that’s the toughest thing he’ll ever have to deal with is that now there’s some question as to who you are.”

There seemed to be quite a bit of confusion over the level of discipline Barrett would be subject to. Per university policy, since this was the first offense of this kind on his part, Meyer had the option of not suspending him at all. The decision on the single game ban was at his discretion and was made in consultation with other figures within the athletic department, including athletic director Gene Smith, taking into account the seriousness of the matter.

“When it’s a core value issue, then it’s really a tough situation,” Meyer told Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. “When it’s a horrible mistake or a mistake, then you try to put a, you know, some discipline, so that mistake’s not made again.”

There can be no doubt that Barrett committed a major lapse in judgment by deciding to drive while intoxicated and will undoubtedly pay for it in the near future. Nevertheless and unfortunately, he’s not the first nor will he be the last high profile athlete at a major university to fall victim to such a poor decision. He will certainly need to cope with the coming adversity associated with having to put this decision behind him.

Based on the clear remorse and sense of devastation Barrett showed Meyer and the coaching staff afterwards, there’s certainly an outlet of help he can expect from them moving forward.

“I’m going to try to help him. We all are going to try to help him,” Meyer said. “Because that’s going to be a — that’s the toughest thing that he’ll have to deal with as far as protecting his name.”

Per a report from, Barrett is set to appear in court this coming Friday to be arraigned on both the OVI charge and a “backing without safety” offense that relates to his attempt to elude an OVI checkpoint set up by Columbus police.

(Update, November 4th, 9 PM ET: Barrett’s arraignment has been rescheduled from this coming Friday to next Tuesday.)

Cardale Jones, who had started the first seven games of the season before being replaced by Barrett in the Buckeyes last outing at Rutgers, is expected to reassume the starting quarterback job this coming weekend against Minnesota. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 PM ET at Ohio Stadium with the game being televised on ABC.

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