With Joe Burrow’s announcement that he will transfer out of Ohio State, Tate Martell just moved up the quarterback depth chart.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get more playing time this fall.
Martell said that OSU coaches told him this spring that he would see the field in certain situations this season.
“That’s already been confirmed. There will be packages if I don’t win the starting job,” he said.
Dwayne Haskins is now the presumed starter for the fall, but he is not nearly as much of a weapon in the running game as J.T. Barrett, Burrow, or Martell would be.
Urban Meyer’s offense has relied heavily on the quarterback run in the past. With a less mobile starter like Haskins, it seems logical that Martell might now get even more chances to play in goal line or short-yardage situations.
A combination of Haskins and Martell would closely mirror another quarterback duo that worked out well for Meyer in the past – Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.
The issue is that OSU is now down to three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Haskins, Martell, and true freshman Matthew Baldwin. Baldwin is still recovering from a knee injury, leaving walk-on Kory Curtis as the next option at the moment.
With Martell as the only other healthy scholarship signal-caller on the roster, Meyer could be reluctant to put him in harm’s way. That could end up meaning less playing time for Martell, not more.
On the other hand, with Martell now one injury away from the starting job, Meyer might also want to ensure his young quarterback has enough experience to take the starting reigns at a moment’s notice.
Last year, it was Haskins who had to step in following a knee injury to Barrett and engineer a comeback win over Michigan in Ann Arbor. But Haskins had seen action in seven games earlier that season, giving him a sense of what to expect.
The Buckeyes could solve the issue created by Burrow’s graduate transfer by taking on a grad transfer of their own.
Another healthy and experienced scholarship quarterback would alleviate pretty much all of these concerns.
However, the window to add one is fairly tight. Many players such as former Michigan QB Wilton Speight, former Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady, and former East Carolina QB Gardner Minshew have already announced where they will transfer this fall.
If Meyer wants to go that route, he will have to move quickly. Otherwise, he’ll be playing with a shallow bench at football’s most important position this fall.