Eight days before they leave for Texas and 14 days before they play in the Cotton Bowl, the Ohio State Buckeyes bid farewell to one part of the season. They met with members of the local media Friday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the last time in Columbus before their final game.
Among the players to speak after practice was J.T. Barrett, a veteran of these interviews. He sat at a circular table surrounded by reporters and TV cameras just as he’s done dozens of times in the last four seasons.
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Near the end of a session, a TV reporter asked Barrett, “Will you miss us?”
Barrett said, “No, I won’t.”
Here are other highlights from Barrett’s interview:
Looking back: Barrett will miss playing at Ohio State. There’s little doubt about that. He led the Buckeyes to a 27-21 victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 2, six days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He shed a little more light on his thinking about that surgery Friday.
“Going into it, I just prayed about it,” Barrett said. “After praying about it, I let God handle it. I didn’t really worry about it. I just put in the work to put myself into position to play.”
Good to go: A day after the Big Ten Championship, Barrett said he would play against Southern California on Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and he confirmed Friday he hasn’t had any problems with the knee in practice.
“No setbacks, no restrictions, nothing like that,” Barrett said.
Homecoming: Barrett will play his final game in his home state. He’s from Wichita Falls, Texas. He said his mom is handling ticket requests so he can focus on the game.
“It’s fair to say there’s going to be a lot of Barretts in the house,” Barrett said.
Long career: The fifth-year senior Barrett will start his 44th game and appear in his 50th game. He’s already the all-time winningest quarterback in school history, and he owns numerous other records. He’s 37-6 as a starter.
“I’ve been here a while, guys,” Barrett said. “People joke around and say I’ve been playing college football for seven years. I think that’s a little extreme. When I look back, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be at a place like Ohio State.”
The doubters: Despite his record-breaking career, Barrett has had to deal with critics throughout his career. That continued this season with the losses to Oklahoma and Iowa.
“A lot of people don’t like me, and they don’t like that it’s me playing the position,” Barrett said. “They want somebody else doing it. There’s a lot of negativity coming along with the production I’ve had. You can let that weigh on you as a person, or you can embrace it and learn to like people hating you.”
Looking ahead: Barrett wants to play in the NFL next year and got some feedback on his prospects last year. He said he has no interest in coaching when his football career ends but didn’t give many details about what he wants to do with his life beyond football.
“I want to be living a non-stressful life,” Barrett said. “I want to not have to set an alarm clock.”