ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Urban Meyer’s press conference after Ohio State’s 31-20 win over Michigan on Saturday was unique, to say the least.
It definitely wasn’t what was expected. Certainly not after Ohio State won for the sixth time against its biggest rival in Meyer’s six seasons as OSU’s football coach.
He was angry when he walked into the interview room and stayed upset during much it. His anger stemmed from an injury to quarterback J.T. Barrett that forced him out of the game. But it wasn’t clear exactly who he was angry with.
At one point, Meyer said he was angry with himself. Then later he said he wanted a “full-scale investigation” of who had bumped Barrett as he warmed up on the sideline, which aggravated a knee condition and eventually kept him out of the final 21 minutes of the game.
Meyer and Barrett had contrasting demeanors after the game. Meyer was hot, Barrett was cool.
What both of them said was that someone, possibly a photographer, had bumped into Barrett around the time of the opening kickoff.
Barrett described it this way: “It was a tight spot. I was throwing, warming up and I went to throw and somebody tried to squeeze through and not get close to our bench and he hit me and my knee kind of shifted in, it kind of twisted up on me. I didn’t really see a camera. He was wearing gray and continued to walk. I’m sure he got a little nervous.”
Meyer said, “Some guy with a camera hit him in the knee. I’m going to find out who. I’m so angry I let that happen. Right before the opening kickoff they told me and I look and he’s on the ground.
“It was like right after kickoff or something. We were worried he wasn’t going to be able to play. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around. He got it to unlock before the game and then it locked up on him again at the end.”
Barrett said he didn’t get a good look at the person who ran into him and that he has battled a knee issue all season.
“I don’t know who it was. Michigan had a lot of people on our sideline, whether it be fans or photo people, I don’t know.”
“It has happened before, I think the last time it happened was our first drive when we played Indiana. I’ve played with it all year. This time it didn’t unlock for me,” he said.
Barrett played the first 2 ½ quarters but left the game with 6:07 left in the third quarter after being tackled on a running play and did not return.
Redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins delivered under pressure on what was supposed to be a big send-off for Barrett as the first Ohio State quarterback to beat Michigan four times in a row.
Now the question is if Barrett will be ready to play this Saturday against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship.
That was another area where Meyer and Barrett said different things.
Meyer said he wasn’t sure of Barrett’s status for that game. Barrett said he will be in the lineup. “Yeah, I’ll play next week,” he said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.
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