Leaving spring camp, Urban Meyer said the backup quarterback race between Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins was too close to call.
In the next couple of days, however, that call is finally going to have to be made.
Meyer was let off the hook when Burrow broke his hand in fall camp, which allowed Haskins to proceed as J.T. Barrett’s backup.
Burrow actually threw the ball in pregame warmups against Oklahoma. Meyer said at the time that Burrow was “on call”, though nobody wanted to consider the kind of situation that would force them to turn to a quarterback that may not have been ready to return.
Those days are over, however, because Burrow is back.
“Joe has been cleared and he’s practicing,” Meyer said on Tuesday. “He started practicing last week, but we weren’t comfortable with him.”
That comfort has apparently now returned, which means a decision has to be made this week about the backup spot.
The Buckeyes are favored by 40 points, so the backup quarterback is almost certainly going to get into the game.
First, however, Ohio State actually has to know who their backup quarterback is.
“We’ll make that decision as this week progresses,” Meyer said. “It’s still very close and I think both quarterbacks can give us an opportunity to move the ball.”
Burrow has not played this season, while Haskins received his first collegiate action last week against Army. He completed all four of his pass attempts, throwing for 46 yards on the day. Meyer wouldn’t have minded seeing more, but they didn’t want to do anything to embarrass Army.
“I thought he played very well,” Meyer said on Monday. “I wanted to let him keep going but that was my call — I don’t want to score at the end there in that game. Joe was about ready to come back. So we’ve got to make some decisions who is the first one in there.”
According to Meyer, game action — even in the fourth quarter of a blowout — is much more important than practice reps. And with more game action assumed to be coming this week, they can’t go into Saturday’s contest against UNLV without knowing who their No. 2 quarterback is.
“Last year was very important to get Joe in the game and he did pretty well when he was in there as well,” he said. “So, that is so important for backup quarterback spot.”