It will become a question if the Buckeyes' offense continues their historically bad struggles.
Barrett was 19-for-35 for 183 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception in their 31-16 home loss to Oklahoma. He led just one touchdown drive, a seven-play, 44-yard sequence that ended with a J.K. Dobbins' six-yard touchdown run. As discovered by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, it was their only sustained touchdown drive in their last three games against marquee opponents (Michigan, Clemson and Oklahoma). Of their 34 full offensive possessions, Thamel notes the Buckeyes have punted 17 times, committed eight turnovers (including downs) and attempted eight field goals (converted four and missed four).
That is staggering for any team, let alone one with elite talent and national championship aspirations.
Meyer hired former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as his new coordinator over the offseason, and while Wilson deserves more than two games for proof of concept, clearly something isn't working — and making another coordinator change seems remote, especially during the season.
Is the Barrett the cause? No, says Meyer, and he has no plans to bench him.
“Any decision about any personnel is strictly about who gives us the best opportunity to win . . . right now it’s not even a question,” he said in his postgame press conference. "This is not the first time we’ve had a tough loss. We’re not blaming anybody. There’s some guys who didn’t play particularly well, but I don’t bring that up too often.”
If Barrett, a three-year captain with 9,460 total career yards, continues to struggle, who's next up?
Redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins and true freshman Tate Martell occupy the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the depth chart, respectively. Both are former highly rated recruits and some current Buckeye commits were even suggesting Haskins should play.
Haskins hails from Potomac, Md., where he was the nation's seventh-ranked pro-style passer in the 2016 class and No. 93 overall player. He was 26-for-37 for 293 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game (below).
"He’s big time,” Meyer said of Haskins during spring practice, but admitted Haskins stumbled the latter of last season. ”I was disappointed with him. He accepted his role for about two months, September, October — which happens — but the last month? He’s been on fire. I can see a great future in Dwayne. He’s got it.”
He occasionally played the role of Deshaun Watson last December when the Buckeyes were preparing for their Fiesta Bowl matchup against Clemson. Linebacker Jerome Baker said Haskins was "throwing like a maniac" and defensive end Sam Hubbard lauded his arm, saying he "made some big deep throws."
Haskins — nor Martell, though the former Bishop Gorman star appears to be well behind Haskins, thus an extremely unlikely candidate to get snaps over a healthy Barrett — have never taken a college snap, so it's fair to wonder if Meyer, who like all coaches despise uncertainty, would ever make the switch.
"Right now" may fizzle out if Barrett can't move the offense against inferior opponents over the next month or against Penn State on Oct. 28.