, Hey! He had a great day! Lets make him the captain! It

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Parenteau scored early in the third period to help the Avs edge Toronto 2-1 on Tuesday night. Cory Sarich also scored for Colorado (3-0-0), which is off to its best ever start.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The best college football players always make it look easy. But those of us on the outside, willfully desensitized by the glare of the spotlight and the blare of the trumpets, rarely recognize a college players journey to maturation.J.T. Barrett has always made it look easy. Two years ago, as a redshirt freshman at Ohio State, Barrett glided into the starting lineup in the opening week after Braxton Miller reinjured his shoulder and went 11-1 as a starter in the Buckeyes national championship season. This season, Barrett, the old man on a young team, has provided good play and better ballast as No. 2 Ohio State has beaten each of its first five opponents by at least three touchdowns.But Barretts four seasons at Ohio State have been framed by four crises, one more serious than the next. A couple of them played out in public, a couple didnt. But all four, and how Barrett responded to them, transformed a quiet kid from Wichita Falls, Texas, into a forceful leader in Columbus, Ohio.BARRETT SPENT his senior year at Rider High in Wichita Falls as the 11th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation on a team that expected to win the state title. Like most 17-year-olds, Barrett knew little about planetary science. He thought the world revolved around him.I was committed to Ohio State, he said. I feel like I was ballin. Everything was going the right way. But I wasnt right mentally. I wasnt right with God, really. I was really thinking it was all about me. I wasnt disrespectful. I didnt really say things that were arrogant or cocky. But in my head I had this blown-up confidence.And then, early in the season, Barrett tore his ACL. There would be no more senior year. No state title.I was low mentally, Barrett said. I was mad at God, really. God, whats up? Whats happening? Why would you do this?That was just the beginning. Barrett graduated in December and enrolled at Ohio State in January 2013. He had been a fallback for Urban Meyer when Ohio prep stars Mitch Trubisky and Malik Zaire signed with North Carolina and Notre Dame, respectively.He was the first quarterback I ever signed who I didnt physically see throw, Meyer said. He signed Barrett because his quarterback coach, Tom Herman, who was one year removed from Iowa State, loved Barrett. Trent Dilfer, who had seen Barrett throw at the 2012 Elite 11, endorsed him too.When he arrived in Columbus, however, Barrett didnt make much of an impression. For one thing, He came in as kind of a no-name, Meyer said. Nobody knew who he was. Kind of quiet. Somewhat introverted.For another, Barrett didnt look like an Ohio State quarterback.He hadnt been working out because he had surgery, recalled Herman, now the head coach at the University of Houston, who said he talks to Barrett every week or so. He shows up fat and out of shape and hes 6-0?, and Urbans looking at me, going, This is Ohio State, bro. I remember him saying all the time, Tom, the quarterback in this offense at this place needs to be capable of going to New York City.As in the Heisman Trophy ceremony.Barrett did his rehab and returned to physical shape, all of which got him to, oh, square one from which every freshman begins. Meyers August practices are known for their physicality.Barrett awoke every morning at 5:30, tired and sore, thinking, as he remembered, Life cannot be like this. This is crazy. Im exhausted. Im deprived of sleep. My body is telling me it doesnt want to do any of the things that Im asking it to do. But what am I gonna do? Im at camp. What am I going to just stay at the hotel and lock the door? They have a key to the room. What am I gonna say? Im not going?His beginning at Ohio State, Barrett said, can be summed up as Message received.God was talking to me. He said, Hey, this is not about you. I allowed this to happen so you can understand this is about you honoring me and be grateful and have humility. Thats the thing now. Im older, and Im so grateful that it happened. I couldnt tell you where Id be. If that didnt happen, who knows where my head would be?BARRETT BATTLED Cardale Jones in the spring of 2014 for the backup job behind Braxton Miller, who didnt practice as he rehabbed his shoulder. Barrett won the No. 2 spot, which he held only until late August, when Miller reinjured his shoulder. As Miller lay on the ground, crying in anguish, Barrett understood what that meant.It was almost like a tornado came from Tornado Alley and came into your life, Barrett said. It was like, Man, what are we going to do now? Were not going to cancel the games. So how do you want this to go? Do you want to be a guy watching on the sideline or do you want to be in a game making a difference?That wasnt the crisis, of course. Barrett started all 12 regular-season games, in which the Buckeyes went 11-1. But in the fourth quarter against Michigan, Barrett broke his right ankle. He watched from the sideline as Jones took over the offense and led Ohio State to the national championship.When we played that team up north and I broke my ankle, it was one of those things, Barrett said. It was out of my control. I didnt dwell on it. From there I just tried to do my best to help us continue to win because I knew we were at a good place as a team.Besides, Barrett had won the job before. All he had to do was get healthy and win it again. But Jones was the quarterback who won the national championship. Jones was the quarterback who took the snaps in the spring of 2015 as Barrett rehabbed. When it came to preseason camp a year ago, Barrett had too much rust to scrape off. Meyer gave the offense back to Jones.IM ALL ABOUT competition, Barrett said. Im a competitor. Thats part of my characteristics as a person. I wasnt mad at competing. If anything, I was more angry at myself because I wasnt playing at the level I knew I could play at. So I haad myself to blame.ddddddddddddWhen Cardale was starting, I wasnt mad at Cardale or mad at Coach Meyer. That wasnt the case. ... I want [Meyer] to watch film and say, This is our guy. I didnt allow that to happen the way I played.Its a vicious circle. Barrett didnt play well enough to start, so he didnt get the reps he needed to understand the game plan, so when he got into the game, sometimes a play was called that he barely knew.A couple of times, Meyer said, he came to see me and said, Can we sit down and talk? Very respectful. He said, What do I have to do? Not complaining. He just wasnt raised that way. Tell me what I have to do to get my job back. He performed OK in training camp last year. He was not the same quarterback that had that great freshman year.Barrett kept working, and kept his head up, and by midseason he overtook Jones. In his first start, the Buckeyes cruised past Rutgers 49-7. Ohio State had the next week off. On Saturday night, Barrett drank some whiskey and got behind the wheel of his car.THE NEXT morning, Meyer stared at his phone in disbelief. He got a text informing him that Barrett had been arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence.I remember, I just sat there, Meyer said. I got up and I had to go sit down. I said [to his wife Shelley], You wont believe this one.Barrett calls it a life lesson but he doesnt say it in a flippant, thats-what-Im-supposed-to-say way. He described his actions as selfish, because his team suffered by his absence.Meyer suspended Barrett for one game. He returned to the squad the following week and started, but something had shifted. Ohio State scored only 28 points that week against Illinois, and the following week, in a cold, blustery rain at home against Michigan State, the offense failed to move the ball. The Buckeyes gained only 132 yards and, more important, scored only 14 points. They lost by a field goal as time expired.There went the Big Ten East title. Ohio State finished the regular season 11-1 and perhaps the best team ever to be ranked No. 7. Consolation came in the form of a 44-28 defeat of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.The disappointment that Barrett shouldered because of what he may have cost the team paled in importance beside him coming to terms with what it meant to drive drunk.I was like, Man, you could have hurt somebody, Barrett said. You could have hurt yourself, which would have affected your family, how much they care about you. And also your teammates and all these different things. This is way bigger than you, brother. Lets be honest about it. Its bigger than you. You could have hurt somebody else. You could have hurt somebodys mother, father, son, daughter, auntie, uncle, brother, sister, all these different things that you dont even think about when you do that.A year later, Barrett said, hes thankful that he got pulled over.Im glad that it happened, he said, because if it didnt happen, I probably still would have been drinking and driving. ... Who knows? I could have killed somebody. I could be in jail. All these different things that could have happened. Fortunately, they didnt.Meyer watched Barrett endure the public humiliation, watched him regain his role as a team leader. Days after the team returned from the Fiesta Bowl, he named Barrett one of three co-captains.Flipped him the keys, Meyer called it.He was very humble, apologized and handled it about as good as I could ever imagine a player handling it, Meyer said. And then he went full J.T. on me. That means, Now I need to help others.Barrett came to Meyer and convinced him to have the entire team hear the seminar he attended as part of his penalty. He wanted his teammates to learn the lessons he learned. He wanted them to understand that he had learned it. And, like him, every player on the team has opened an Uber account.He had to regain the trust of the coaches and the team, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. He did. Trust comes from repeated behavior over a period of time, not just, Hey! He had a great day! Lets make him the captain! Its great to know every day you go to practice and every day you jog out there to play a game that that guy is going to lead your football team.Behind Barrett, the Buckeyes have won their first five games with ease, including the 45-24 victory at No. 19 Oklahoma. As Ohio State prepares to play at No. 8 Wisconsin, Barrett has played his way into the Heisman race.On the plane to Oklahoma last month, fifth-year center and co-captain Pat Elflein sat with Barrett. Elflein asked Barrett how he handled last season, from losing his job to getting it back, to getting suspended and coming back again.He said, Man, I was hurtin, Elflein said. I told him, I never would have even guessed that because of the way you still led the team and kept your composure and still worked hard every day. I dont think anybody would have known how much that hurt him.ELFLEIN IS a year ahead of Barrett, yet he said Barretts presence has been felt since he arrived on campus.I feel like hes been a natural leader his whole life, Elflein said. He still leads me. I still try to learn from him every time theres a leadership moment. Im taking notes, too. Im listening and trying to take mental notes and trying to learn from him. Hes the leader I want to be one day.The young quarterback who won the job and got hurt and lost it; the healthy quarterback who won the job back and lost it again; they are all part of the quarterback who has driven Ohio State to No. 2 in the rankings. And Barrett has a good chance of going to New York City.The teenager who arrived from Texas fat and out of shape has rounded into shape.Hes an impressive dude, isnt he? Herman said. Grown-ass man. ' ' '

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