What Can Ohio State Fans Expect from Dwayne Haskins?

Dwayne Haskins Ohio State Football

Ohio State fans got a good, long look at redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins in April’s spring game. Playing for both teams, Haskins completed 26-of-37 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns.

Following Wednesday’s news that fellow backup Joe Burrow broke a bone in his throwing hand, fans should expect to see some more of Haskins moving forward.

What will they see? Haskins is the tallest of Ohio State’s quarterbacks, standing 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, but probably the least-likely to be called upon to carry the ball 20 times in a tight game. He can do that — just like Cardale Jones could do it — but they are both more comfortable doing their damage in the pocket.

Being comfortable doesn’t really matter, however, because the Buckeyes will still have an offense to run.

“He’s gotten where he’s stronger and he’s more mobile,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. “When he’s in right now we run our offense, so it doesn’t change. If there’s a quarterback-oriented run he’s going to run because quite honestly the second-team offensive line, tight ends and receivers have to run those plays, so it’s not like it’s different. He’s gotten a lot of reps just doing what we do, whether it be a quarterback design run or quarterback read or quarterback movement play. He moves well and he’s getting better. He’s strong.”

The similarities with Jones don’t necessarily end with their desire to work near the pocket, either. As with Jones, the No. 1 trait that is talked about with Haskins is his arm. And like Jones, the lack of experience will be an issue until he proves that it isn’t.

“Dwayne is a young guy with a lot of arm-talent,” Wilson said. “He’s a young guy who is learning the offense and getting more comfortable. Coach Day is doing a great job with him, a great job with all those guys. He needs to play as all those guys who haven’t played, but in practice going against a great defense every day it’s very, very competitive, very, very challenging. He’s held his own, but when we get out there for real with the bullets flying, we’ll see when that opportunity presents itself how he plays.”

When Haskins does finally get that opportunity to play in his first game as a Buckeye, don’t expect him to be overwhelmed, because he has just about all of the confidence you could want in a quarterback.

“I’m just really confident with where I put the ball,” Haskins said. “I know that I can make any throw on the field. So when I go play and someone’s open, I throw it to them. If he’s covered a little bit, I feel like I can get it in the window and throw it. Just having that gunslinger mentality.”

Ohio State rode that mentality — and Ezekiel Elliott — to a national title in 2014, so there is certainly precedence for that type of belief system. It didn’t work so well in 2015, however.

“We’re all our own each individuals,” J.T. Barrett said when asked to compare Haskins to Jones. “I say that because with Cardale at times he would throw the ball and I would be like ‘I don’t know if I would have thrown that one.’ That’s sometimes how [Dwayne] is.”

There are plenty of differences between Haskins and Jones, however. Perhaps the No. 1 difference being that Jones never prepared like a starter until he had to be a starter. Haskins, on the other hand, already practices like he’s the guy.

“Whether I’m going in with the ones, the twos, or the young guys, I’m going in there I’m thinking I’m the guy,” he said. “I feel like I’m playing with the ones every day. It’s just having that mentality that one day I will be the guy, but I’m going to play like it in practice.”

The reason that Ohio State can build that mentality in their quarterbacks is because there is proof of it in action. The coaches point to the 2014 season as the prime example, and for good reason, but the 2013 and 2015 seasons also needed more than one quarterback to be ready.

Haskins is now one snap away from being the man, and every snap he has has taken in the spring and summer has been done with that singular thought in mind.

“They always preach about 2014 and just how everybody was ready to play, whether it was Braxton or J.T. or Cardale,” Haskins said prior to Burrow’s injury. “All three of us are competing really hard and if one of us goes in, we’re going to root for each other. But the ultimate goal is to be a starter one day, so that’s what we’re all competing to be.”

9 Responses

  1. The bottom line is Haskins will be in the NFl. Haskins have a quick release and can make all the throws. OSU will not win the big ten or the National Championship with JT and I want to see Joe burrows throw into tight windows not to wide open receiver. Trust me Haskins can run and by the way did they say Cardale Jones couldn’t run. I couldn’t tell watching the playoff games he played in.

  2. We were undefeated in 2015 and Cardale was benched. That was wrong. Maybe it was not working great, but, it was getting better and it was’nt Cardale’s fault. Watching him run over that Alabama linebacker made up for all his faults.

  3. Burrow is a better passer, smarter and mature and he’ll be back soon.

  4. Joe Burrow is 6’3″ and a very accurate thrower. Very smart too. He’ll be back

  5. Boy did this article come at a good time. The “Where has JT Barrett improved” article was already turned in THIS direction.

    Something Coach Wilson said made my point in the JT article. Square peg, round hole. There just doesn’t appear to be any contingency to take advantage of Haskins’ unique passing skills in the event JT were to go down (hopefully that doesn’t happen). Mop up duty without a contingency plan is fine, but it doesn’t address the unfortunate possibility that the mop up duty suddenly becomes a more permanent requirement. If he’s not fluid operating the scheme as a read option QB, what then? Haskins is a terrific passer. Accurate with good release timing. BUT if the “extra man” quarterback option isn’t as good, and its not, as JT Barrett or Joey Burrow, it’ll only take opposition DC’s a short time to rewind to what the Buckeyes did differently when Jones took over to identify and adapt to what can be expected and counter it. Dwayne is an outstanding passer, but he’s not a JT level distributor and he doesn’t have the same physical prowess of Jones. Jones could win head to head with 290 – 300 pound DT’s and strike fear into linebackers and safeties when he brought the ball down and ran. Dwayne doesn’t have that in his toolbox.

    Maybe they should start getting Tate Martell more prepared because he IS a terrific RO quarterback if they’re going to force a square peg into a round hole. EVERY coach talks about molding the scheme around the talent. What Wilson said and what has proven true from season to season is that hasn’t been the case. Currently the statements suggest that there are no adjustments for a contingency in a worst case scenario to exploit Dwayne Haskins outstanding passing skills and very average RO skills.

    It’s going to be a fun and interesting year IMO.

    1. Excellent points, James Mills. Studying Tate Martell’s clips will tell anyone that he can run Meyer’s option offense as fluidly as JT does. And unless we see great improvement this year, I trust Tate’s confidence to throw on the run more than JT’s.

      1. I really like Dwayne’s passing skills and decision making at each level of the route tree. If he had the same magicians ball handling skills as JT, Joey or Tate, he would be the most dangerous quarterback in the land.

        JT is the best ball handler in RO that I’ve ever seen. 99.9% of the time he makes the correct read and then he’s as tough and elusive as most runningbacks when he keeps and runs. It’s THOSE skills that have earned him silver trophies, and they’re deserved.

        Dwayne is a really good passer, just not as proficient as JT in read option. Just like with JT’s passing skills, Dwaynes RO skills are at best, average.

        Joey can sling the ball almost as good as Dwayne, but he runs the RO better than Dwayne. Now Joey is out for awhile. That sucks because if something unfortunate happened and JT couldn’t go either, half the offense is lost. Half the offense lost would be the rushing game behind slick ball handling. The only other option is Tate Martell. We know that he can pass pretty well (probably better than JT) and he’s also slick in RO. Once he masters the mesh points and his reads he could be as lethal as JT Barrett, or better.

        The staff has options available if they can get Martell up to speed, in the event JT can’t go and they can’t create a passing attack to emphasis Dwaynes skills.

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