Ohio State Football Mailbag: Talking Quarterbacks, All-Americans, More

Ohio State Football Buckeyes Dwayne Haskins

The Ohio State spring game was nearly a month ago, but there is still no shortage of Buckeye-related items to talk about. And Joe Burrow completely blew the thought of summer doldrums out of the water.

Given everything going on, I thought now would be a good time for an Ohio State football mailbag. If you want to contribute to the next one, you can reply in the comments here or send me an email or hit me up on the forum or on Twitter. I’m easy to find.

Q – Tony, up until the spring game Urban said none of the QB’s separated themselves. Burrow looked like the better QB in the spring game. My question is, did the staff actually decide Haskins was #1 going in to fall camp or did Burrow just decide he didn’t want to take the chance of sticking around for fall camp just to waste one of his 2 years of eligibility? – AllinBrutus

A – We may never know exactly how the conversation went between Urban Meyer, Ryan Day, and Joe Burrow, but it would appear that nothing they could have told him — short of lying to him and saying the job was his — was going to keep him at Ohio State.

This is what Ryan Day said after spring ball was over: “Regardless of how the evaluations come out, the guys will have to go into preseason and compete anyways. There is a month’s worth of practice coming up here. Regardless of how that plays out and who is ahead of who, they will have to go into the preseason and compete anyways. If you go into the preseason and you don’t do well, you will be impacted by that. It is a process.”

The coaches could have told him he was ahead and right now the job was his, but he was still going to have to compete for the job again in the fall. If that was the case, would that have been enough? I don’t know. He is looking for more of a sure thing. Any other thing they could have told him would have only convinced him to leave even quicker.

In terms of who looked better in the spring game, keep in mind that this was one of 15 practices, and even Joe Burrow said it didn’t mean much in the overall quarterback competition. I think his performance helped, but maybe Dwayne Haskins was that much further ahead. The only people who can tell you who played better this spring are the coaches. The spring game was only the tip of the football iceberg and we’re not allowed to see what’s going on below the surface.

Declaring Joe Burrow the winner of the quarterback competition based off of the spring game is like declaring somebody the best player on the team because they hit a solo shot in the ninth inning of an exhibition game. You’ve ignored what was going on in the other eight innings and in the dugout and in the hours leading up to the game. These are all factors in choosing a starter.

And maybe things were too close to decide, as the coaches said they were all throughout spring camp. We’ve seen quarterback battles last into game three of a season, so it’s not unrealistic to think that nothing was settled this spring.

Q – Tony…every QB has a weakness. When it comes to Haskins, what is it that Wilson and Day are fine tuning this summer. — @christo49599802

A – J.T. Barrett addressed this last year a bit. He compared Dwayne Haskins to Cardale Jones in that he is so confident in his arm that he will take some chances with his throws. He thinks he can fit a football into every window. Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson are going to put this skill set to good use, but they’ll work on getting him to make sure he window shops in only the best neighborhoods.

There are also the myriad fundamentals that will always be managed and manipulated, but I think they’ll want to make sure he continues to be smart with the football. Just because he can fit it into small windows doesn’t mean he should. Especially if there are other windows even more open.

I expect Dwayne Haskins to throw more interceptions than J.T. Barrett normally did, but that’s only because he’s going to be taking more chances with the football. That’s not a bad thing, because the OSU offense needs it. Just be prepared for it.

Q – Your early prediction on the call for OSU’s first offensive snap of the season. Under Tressel, it used to be easy: false start! @BrianCromulent

A – I’m going to go ahead and guarantee this one. It will be a screen pass to Parris Campbell out wide with Austin Mack blocking for him. It may end up going about 70 yards on the Buckeyes’ first play from scrimmage. In the box score, it will look like the downfield passing game that Dwayne Haskins’ arm has promised everyone.

Q – What system is in place to help graduate transfers find schools and schools find graduate transfers. How is this done? – Gary F.

A – The system is called “Google.” Actually, if another school is interested in talking to Joe Burrow, they would need to contact Ohio State for permission. OSU can then either grant permission or deny it. There are conflicting rules at the NCAA’s site (go figure) about a student-athlete’s ability to freely contact other schools. This articles states that players are free to contact other schools without seeking permission from their original school, but for those prospective schools to go any further with a dialogue, they need permission. And if Ohio State were to deny a school permission to speak with Burrow, they have effectively denied his ability to receive a scholarship from that school. He could still transfer there, but would not be eligible to play in his first year, even as a walk-on. If Ohio State denies him at any point, they have to make him aware of his ability to appeal their ruling.

Would love to get your thoughts on this mental gumbo of mine

  1. Urban said Haskins was most advanced passer he ever recruited
  2. Urban’s offense ran JT a lot
  3. Ryan day gets 3-year extension (presumably he didn’t agree to stay that long to call QB run on third down)
  4. JT doesn’t get drafted
  5. Haskins appears to be qb1
  6. QB recruiting seems to have shifted to passers who can escape rather than runners who can throw.
  7. Should we expect to see a modified version of the OSU offense this season?
  8. does the success of Georgia and Bama freshman QB’s passing not running and Deshaun Watson/Cardale Jones passing not running have an influence on an OSU offensive evolution now that JT has moved on. – @erikmilesRE

I’ll try to answer this in order. Ryan Day and Urban Meyer have said they haven’t changed the type of quarterbacks they recruit. They do seem to have gone more in a pass-first direction, but they will say it’s just a product of who is out there. Similarly, the offense is going to be a product of the quarterback who is playing. Dwayne Haskins is different than J.T. Barrett, so the offense will reflect the different skill set. As Day said this spring, they have a large playbook and they can steer it in the direction of any kind of quarterback. I don’t think Georgia or Alabama’s situation at quarterback affects Ohio State’s thought process. And let’s not forget — Tua Tagovailoa ran the ball 10 times in the second half of the national title game.

Q – Who do you see being named first team All-American this year? Does Dwayne Haskins have a chance? – Thomas R.

A – I think any Ohio State quarterback has a chance, even though it has only happened three times in the last 70+ years. Troy Smith was the last one in 2006. Dwayne Haskins will have the hype, he’ll just need the production down the stretch. Nick Bosa is the obvious answer here. He was an All-American last year as a sophomore and is already at the top of draft boards. I could see Jordan Fuller there as well. If I’m ranking the five likeliest All-Americans, I’m going with 1) Nick Bosa; 2) Jordan Fuller; 3) Michael Jordan; 4) Dre’Mont Jones; 5) Parris Campbell.

Q – Buckeyes are facing a fourth down with one yard to go at the opposing 40-yard line. J.T. Barrett is gone. What does Urban Meyer do? – Rich L.

A – He uses variety. Yes, J.T. Barrett was automatic, but there are other ways to get a single yard. And there are also the same ways — Dwayne Haskins knows he’s going to have his number called in these situations. The running backs are confident they can get it. The offensive line wants to be relied upon to get that yard. But they can also get that yard in the passing game. And J.K. Dobbins told me this winter that he’d love to be in the wildcat this season. They’ll find what works best in practice and have a short list of go-to plays that they like.


8 Responses

  1. I agree with Bo. I’m not impressed with Haskins. He’s not elusive and nor a good runner. Meyer’s weakness is QBs

  2. I would expectant if Burrow does well somewhere else it will become a selling point for other coaches. “Look what happened to Joe Burrow, look what happened to Cardale Jones. If Meyer finds himself a running back who can throw a little bit, you won’t play.”

  3. Interesting enough, Urban is courting a 2020 qb with some of the same characteristics of JTB. (but with different bloodline)

  4. Two things about your first answer:
    1. I do not believe that Joe Burrow was told he was ahead but still competing. He has been there going on 4 years and competing is all he has done.
    2. I also call bull on the fact that Haskins might have been ahead and then Joe had an over the top performance. Haskins looked stiff, Burrow was in total control. You don’t just come up with that in one game. He nailed the spring and was told there was no clear winner. He deserves to play, he’s got talent, experience and when it is 4th and 1 he can punch it.
    Just my observation but I have been watching this team my entire life, and especially since FUM got here. He was high on Haskins before the kid got out of high school.
    My question is this: How many times are we going to punt before Martell comes in on 3rd and 4th down?

    1. Interesting thought about the third-down struggles. It took a few weeks before they decided to make J.T. a red-zone guy in 2015 iirc. Something for me to dig up.

    1. I wouldn’t say we have no depth. I’d say we have no experience – from top to bottom.

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