Even the slightest, um, slight can end up being bulletin board material leading up to a big game.
Clemson safety Jadar Johnson provided that Tuesday during Fiesta Bowl news conferences when he gave a less-than-glowing review of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. The third-ranked Tigers face Barrett and the No. 2 Buckeyes on Saturday in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
"He’s pretty good," Johnson said. "We’ve definitely faced better quarterbacks than him. I feel like if we can limit him on the ground, with his running, we’ll be pretty good. I don’t think he’s a very accurate passer. I’m not taking anything away from him. I think he’s a real good player but I feel like his strong point is just on his legs."
It should be noted that Clemson faced Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson this season. And Barrett hasn't been a great down-field passer this season. He ranks 42nd in the nation in passer effficiency rating (140.79) and his 7.0 yards per attempt is tied for 72nd in the nation.
Barrett has been a vital piece of the Buckeyes' rushing attack, with 847 yards and nine touchdowns.
Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware stuck to the script and compared Barrett favorably to his teammate, Deshaun Watson, along with Jackson and Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans.