There has been a lot of talk about the quarterback situation at Ohio State recently. Urban Meyer has as talented a group of players in the QB room as any other team in the nation. But after spring ball, some of the questions concerning the position may be answered, and the quarterback room could thin out a little.
There won’t be a battle at starting quarterback as J.T. Barrett has that locked up. I know there are some Buckeye fans that don’t like to hear that but it’s the truth. Barrett would not have come back for a fifth season at Ohio State if that wasn’t the case.
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The real battle to watch will be for the backup QB position between Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins. It will be one of the most interesting competitions at any position during the spring. If there is a clear-cut winner for the backup spot, is it possible the other QB will transfer to another school?
To some this would appear to be just like Cardale Jones vs J.T. Barrett in 2014, and they carried the battle into fall camp. But this year the situation is much different. First let’s take a look at the current backup Joe Burrow.
Burrow will be a redshirt sophomore like Jones was in 2014, but with a much better resume after his freshman season. Burrow was 22-28 passing (78.6 percent) last year for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rushed for 58 yards in 12 carries.
In his freshman season, Jones was 1-2 passing (50 percent) for 3 yards, and rushed for 128 yards on 17 carries.
If Burrow sees that he has moved down in the depth chart after spring ball, and wants to seek playing time elsewhere, he will have more suitors than Jones would have had. I’m sure he would be welcomed back to Athens to play for his hometown Ohio University Bobcats where his father is an assistant coach. After sitting out a season he would still have two years of eligibility left.
Dwayne Haskins impressed everyone with his play during the bowl practices leading up to the Clemson game. That’s when talk of the backup quarterback battle really heated up.
Haskins threw for 5,300 yards and 54 touchdowns in high school and was one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the 2016 recruiting class. But sometimes a pro-style quarterback doesn’t perform well in a spread offense.
What if Burrow is more efficient running the spread and remains the backup after the spring practices? With two other highly ranked dual threat quarterbacks Tate Martell and Emory Jones coming up behind him, Haskins may decide to move on. He may think it’s wise to find a school with an offense more suited to his skill set, and who could blame him?
There is an absolute ton of talent at the quarterback position at Ohio State with another star QB on the way. But because of the uniqueness of the position, it will be nearly impossible to keep all of the quarterbacks on campus.
Unlike other positions where a player can get significant reps for a couple of years while developing into a starter, the starting QB usually gets nearly all of the reps during games. The backup comes in for mop up duty at the end, or when the starter gets injured, and the third string quarterback is usually left out.
And with the way Urban Meyer reloads, you always have star recruits coming up behind you. At quarterback, if you aren’t at least No. 2 on the depth chart after a year or two, you probably will never see much playing time at Ohio State.
I know, in 2014 it was different when third string Cardale Jones led Ohio State to a national championship. Name any other time that has ever happened.
It’s a great thing to have as much talent in the quarterback room as there is at Ohio State and Urban Meyer wouldn’t want it any other way. I just think the room is getting a little too crowded and someone will decide to step out for some fresh air. And it could happen before the beginning of next season.