Nov. 26, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Questions for J.T.
Q. J.T., what’s going through your mind on that play in double overtime when Curtis gets the ball and seems like all hell breaks loose?
J.T. Barrett: Man, I was trying to block somebody but I ain’t the best blocker. Yeah, I tried to block but I think he went back like three times. So I’m glad he’s really good, because everybody was trying to get a piece of somebody, but he just made everybody miss.
Q. Is that a busted play; what would you guys call that?
J.T. Barrett: No, I think that was just a good job on their part. It was a screen and No. 5 came over the top. He scraped over the top, I guess he had Curtis in man. I thought we had a good look. That’s why we ran the play — or I continued to run the play. Then he did a good job skirting over the top and Curtis did his thing.
Q. J.T., offense was almost non-existent at times, then all of a sudden, fourth quarter you came alive and of course overtime. What came right for you guys what did you all get going? And number two, what’s going through your head right now? You win a double overtime game against Michigan. You’re alive big time in the playoff ranking.
J.T. Barrett: First half we had good things called. We just weren’t executing it, whether it myself, O line, receivers, it was everybody played their part in that.
The second half, defense was doing their job. We’ve gotta do ours. So let’s go out there and do our part. We were doing everything we prepared for. So it was just really going out and executing that. And right now, been a part of some crazy football games here. That one’s number one.
Yeah, I’m just really thankful, honestly. Grateful that God blessed me with all these blessings, and happy for our fan. I think Buckeye Nation, to have that game played at home, just happy that we was able to go out there and win for the season and win for Buckeye Nation.
Q. Two years ago you were not able to finish the game. How much did it mean to you to lead the team to victory. But also on the fourth-down play, can you walk us through, how sure were you that you got that first down?
J.T. Barrett: I guess I didn’t really think about me being injured last time we played at home against the team up north. I think it was one of the things you learn from as part of the game.
And honestly, when I got hit, I wasn’t 100 percent certain, to be honest with you. I looked at it. But when I fell, I fell on top of people. So I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. But I’m glad I got it. The review said it was good.
Q. In the fourth quarter, and in overtime, you guys were in situations where you had fourth and short, and you could have tied it. Coach Meyer decided to go for it in very critical situations. That was basically the game. What’s it like being a quarterback in that situation, getting the confidence from the coach to go for it? And how stressful or maybe even terrifying is it for you guys in those situations?
J.T. Barrett: I don’t like your word choice, terrified, stressful. That’s what we do. I mean, when he says — I mean, honestly, when it’s fourth and short, I feel like we can go for it every time. Like I don’t — I mean I know field position plays a part of it, but we’re on their side of the 50, I’m really jacked about it. Like let’s go do that, because that’s what we do.
We are in those situations countless times before the season starts and spring ball. And then when it comes to the season that’s what we do; we take risks and we have a great offensive line to go out and get those first downs.
Terrified, stress, is not the words I use.
Q. A few weeks ago you were pretty outspoken about this team and the College Football Playoff conversation. Now that you guys have done everything that you can, where do you think this team stands if you guys don’t make it to the Big Ten Championship?
J.T. Barrett: I mean, I meant what I said. But I mean it’s really out of our hands. At this time I think we are one of the top four teams in the country, personally, but I think that, like I said, it’s up to the committee to do their thing. Hopefully everything works out in our favor.
Q. When you got through (indiscernible) and into the locker room with your guys, just talk about what that moment was like, when you guys were able to get together and realize what you just accomplished — five straight, I guess, over Michigan. And for you guys that are here now and just with all the former players that were here today and everything else that was kind of rolled into it?
J.T. Barrett: Right. I don’t know. I didn’t do a lot of thinking, honestly. I just looked around and, man, that just happened. We just played the team up north football in double overtime and we just won.
So, I don’t know, I think that’s why you play the game of football for moments like this because all the training we go through, all the workouts and yelling and screaming, I mean, this is why we play the game for moments like this against your rivals and a great atmosphere for college football and for your teammates. And I think that was just something that we shared right there, that let our seniors go out with a bang. Those guys got five gold pants. Five. Some people don’t even get one. But the fact that they got five, that’s truly a blessing. And I was just very thankful that I could be a part of this.
Q. Give us a sneak peak on the conversation with you and Tyler Durbin, some of the things that maybe you spoke to him to kind of calm him down?
J.T. Barrett: I just told him he’s got this. I mean, when I think about it, there’s times I miss passes and there’s times when he misses field goals. That’s our job, that’s our role. I am supposed to complete passes and he’s supposed to kick field goals and they’re supposed to go in.
That’s very clear. When it doesn’t happen, it’s almost like the end of the world. But it’s okay. Just understand that that’s part of just being in the right now, forget about the past, that’s something that I try to do. In the first half, did I play great? Absolutely not.
But the simple fact is that’s in the past and we’ve got to move on and play forward, and that was something that I was trying to expressing to him, it’s okay. We believe in you. You go right out there and you put it right through the pipes like he always told us. So all good.
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. And incredible gratitude to Buckeye Nation to supply that energy in that stadium. That’s as good as I ever heard. Someone told me 110,000 people. Going to ask Gene to put more seats in there, man.
That was an exciting win. (Cell phone ringing) that’s my wife. I’ll get right back to you. I’m at the press conference. All right. Bye. (Laughter) she said, bring a gallon of milk home on the way home. (Laughter) I’ll take questions.
Q. You guys had chances to tie it in the fourth and in overtime in critical situations and you have fourth-and-one, and you decided to go for. It didn’t even look like you hesitated both times. I know that you guys like to go for it on fourth-and-one. But on two situations like that, did you hesitate, can you take me through your thought process?
COACH MEYER: I don’t remember the first one. I lost my brain cells there.
Q. On the drive where Durbin missed for a chip shot at the end of it but it was earlier on.
COACH MEYER: Yeah. The last one, it was not very far, and my AD at Florida actually used to always tell me, said: If you can’t get that far you’re not a championship team.
We used to talk about that all the time, and I agree with him. So that actually crossed my mind — if you can’t get that we’re not a championship team anyway.
And I know it’s a very good defense, a rugged defense, but I’ve got players like our J.T. Barrett.
Q. The other question I have is: There are the games that you are able to play or might play, have been played now; and we’ve asked you about the playoff and this team’s positioning now, having won this game today, if you guys don’t go to the Big Ten Championship, is this a playoff team and do you have anything to say about it?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think we’re one of the top teams in the country. Once again, I don’t really know that. I go week to week, and I love my players.
Q. Before that fourth down, when Curtis Samuel is getting strung out, going to the right there, do you guys call that a busted play? What would you call it? What was happening there?
COACH MEYER: To be honest with you, I don’t remember. I think he came back — I can’t remember what the play was — just a T swing, if I remember right. But I don’t — it was not designed for a great athlete to run around that way. That’s called recruiting.
Q. Just remember the whirling dervish after that. Do you have any memory what was going through your mind as that play actually unfolded when it did?
COACH MEYER: I was worried we were going to be knocked out of field goal range and lose the game. But things happen. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever been around, and it’s good to see the ball in his hands near the end of a game.
Q. What does it mean to you to be at the part of this game, this kind of classic, and when it was 17-7 and your offense was very stagnant, what did you think your chances were?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. We won the game, Bill, thanks.
Q. To be part of this game.
COACH MEYER: It’s awesome. I’ve said that many, many times. I’m very humbled to be a part of it. And you can’t ask for better efforts. They have great players; we have great players. They’re a very well-coached team and so are we. And it’s good for the country to see the Big Ten in action like that.
Q. What did come alive with the offense there at the end? Was it just guys making plays more than anything else?
COACH MEYER: J.T. didn’t start out very good. We had some misfires. We weren’t playing very well. The first drive was great. I think we hit a field goal or something. We had some protection issues. And the pass game is a constant. It’s either protection issues or a misfiring, and I thought the receivers played decent. I know Parris had a drop. They just keep swinging. It’s a very, very good defense we faced.
Q. Did you talk to Durbin after the second miss? Did you have any words with him at all?
COACH MEYER: I just hit him on the rear end and said — I didn’t really say much to him.
Q. Did you call the fake punt or was that —
COACH MEYER: I called it.
Q. What was your thinking during that?
COACH MEYER: On the last play, we ran a stretch to the left. It’s a 20-man lead is the call, and Curtis scored.
Any more questions about the fake punt? It was – we motioned the tight end across, two backs in the backfield; we expected them to bring their defense and pressure and the left tackle, Jamarco, did a nice job sealing it. Tailback led Mike Weber and Curtis scored, and we won.
Q. You looked more animated than normal. How is your health? You were bent over. You (indiscernible) — is that just part of this game, or how are you feeling?
COACH MEYER: Curtis. (Laughter).
Q. 29 lead has been good to you all this year?
COACH MEYER: 29 leads averaging. Is my pregnant daughter here? Curtis scored and Curtis went to the left and scored.
Q. It’s been good to you all this year, right?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, for the most part. He scored.
Q. On the double overtime, J.T. sneak, did your heart stop as you waited for that ball to be spotted?
COACH MEYER: It wasn’t a sneak. That stopped the heart for a second. When the official said they’re buzzing me for the spot. And I thought, oh, my goodness.
Q. In real time, did you think he had it when you first saw it?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, I was standing right there. I thought he had it.
Q. Right after the game, I believe you were down on the turf. Somebody helped you up; and then did somebody carry you off? Did you walk off? What happened?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. Curtis scored going to the left.
Q. Do you remember anything from after the game?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, Curtis scored. (Laughter). I remember that Neil Diamond song. That was great. Weird life, man.
Q. This legitimately is one of the great games in the history of this rivalry, 113 years. People do want to hear about sort of how it transpired during the game: The things you did, did you feel like, hey, maybe they’re playing a little better than us; we need a spark; we need to push it? What was that feeling like as you’re trying to get your team going?
COACH MEYER: That’s why you run a fake punt. That’s why we were trying to get the ball downfield and we just weren’t hitting them.
And, yeah, we were trying — we needed sparks, you’re right. But then our defense kept hanging in there, hanging in there, and they provided sparks. And the offense kind of took over in the fourth quarter and overtime.
So it’s a game — and I’m not being disrespectful. That is one of the classic games of this rivalry that will forever be, because I know this rivalry as well as anybody.
That game is right in there. I’m not saying it’s the greatest, because that’s disrespectful for the other players that have played in it. But that’s an instant classic between two great teams. We knew going in it was going to be that way. That’s one of the best defenses we’ve ever gone against.
Q. You guys play a lot of games where you’re clearly the best team. That just happens with your team. In a game like this, it felt like for a while that Michigan was going to win this game. When you’re in a spot like that with your guys and you find a way, what does that tell you about this team and players?
COACH MEYER: Kind of happened at Wisconsin. Down by 10 and we came back. I just love these players. It’s young. That’s an old team we play. 17 senior starters or something. We have one.
And I was concerned about that going into it: How are the guys going to handle those — bunch of first-year players out there. But they’re veterans now and they did something that — Pat Elflein just got his fifth pair of gold pants. Special time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.