Through most of the Urban Meyer Era, Ohio State has not had to worry about the lack of depth at the quarterback position. Over the last five seasons, there have been elite quarterbacks that have set the standard of what it means to run the Buckeye offense. When the quarterback competition is as good as it is at OSU, you always have to bring your best to every single practice, taking no days off.
For Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow, they are fighting for the backup quarterback position and a chance to earn playing time. While embracing the friendly competition, they understand they have to excel every day — from the beginning of summer ball to the final practice before the Buckeyes take the field in Indiana for their season opener
Haskins, a redshirt freshman from Potomac, Maryland, was asked if competition with Burrow makes it tough on their relationship.
“No. J.T. does a great job of keeping it light-hearted in the room,” he said. “Even though me and Joe are going back and forth we don’t ever feel any animosity toward us. We’re still friendly on and off the field, so even after the game we said good job, so I feel like you’ve always got to congratulate a teammate even if it’s for a day.”
Urban Meyer is no stranger to intense quarterback competitions. In 2015, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones battled back and forth from the beginning of summer ball (Barrett missed most of spring practice due to injury) through much of the season, trying to earn the starting job. For them, it was friendly competition, and they have remained very close to this day. But when you are competing for a starting job as quarterback at The Ohio State University, things could turn sour, leading to a toxic team chemistry. Haskins understands that healthy competition between teammates is a great recipe for a successful team, and Meyer knows that formula better than anybody.
“I feel like Coach Meyer and Coach Day made it real easy for us to get each other out with so much competition between us,” Haskins said during the spring. “As far as the competition goes, we’re just going back and forth rotating with the twos, ones, doing everything we need to do to get each other better. As far as Joe being the backup, no I’m not really worried about that.”
Named Ohio’s Mr. Football in 2014, there has been much excitement around Burrow’s name ever since he announced his commitment to OSU. With considerable hype surrounding him, it could’ve been very easy for him to lose sight of the “team” aspect of football and only focus on himself. But Burrow understands that everything at Ohio State is focused on the team and having a great relationship with your teammates.
“Everything we focus on at Ohio State is the power of the unit,” he said. “Wide receivers, quarterbacks, offensive line, defensive line, all on an individual level, so we focus on having a great relationship within the unit.”
Overseeing the Buckeye quarterbacks this year is quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, Ryan Day. Day, who is still fairly new to the program, was hired in January to help take over the offense. He has been around football for a while (13 seasons in college and two years in the NFL) and knows what it takes for one player to win a job over another.
“It’s not just one thing,” Day said. “At the end of the day, it comes down to whether you are moving the team down the field and scoring touchdowns. If you’re a leader, then you’re doing your job. Every quarterback has their own way of doing it. It isn’t just one thing. It is a combination of things.”
Come August 31, we’ll find who will be the man behind Barrett. The hard work of Haskins and Burrow won’t go unnoticed, even though only one of them will be rewarded for how their summer goes.
No matter who is named the second in command, having this much talent is always a positive in case the man in front of you falls.