Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘You’ve got to trust your gut’

Ohio State Football Notebook Buckeyes Buckeye Football

A Productive Spring

Urban Meyer and his offensive coordinators have said on a number of occasions that one major positive of a competitive quarterback battle is that everybody comes through it having improved significantly.

With no returning starter at the position for the Buckeyes, improvement would be ideal.

So where did those improvements occur in Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins?

“In the second half of the spring, he did a nice job of throwing the ball and making decisions,” offensive coordinator Ryan Day said of Burrow. “He did a nice job throwing the deep ball and with his leadership as well.”

And Haskins?

“The more reps, the better for everybody,” he said. “He has worked on command of the offense, getting the ball out on time and accuracy in the passing game.”

Who Makes the Call?

Quarterback wasn’t the only position left unsettled at the end of spring ball. The linebackers are still a question mark, though not necessarily a question mark followed by an exclamation point.

Linebackers coach Bill Davis doesn’t know who his three starters will be, but he is comfortable with his options. Even with the loss of Tuf Borland, there was enough talent and depth on hand to keep moving in a productive direction.

Eventually, however, a call is going to have to be made on who the starting Buckeye linebackers are going to be.

Who makes that call?

“It’s collective,” Davis said. “We all have so much experience. We talk deeply about everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and how they fit in making us the best defense we can be on that particular week. At the end of the day, I don’t think you can take one person to make the final decision. As a group, we all believe in the decision we make.”

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

There is some school of thought when it comes to the quarterback situation that it would be unwise to make a decision that could hamper the roster in 2018.

For instance, if Dwayne Haskins won the job in the spring, but just barely, would it be better to go with Joe Burrow so that you are assured of Burrow sticking around? The Buckeyes may not want to go into 2018 with just two healthy quarterbacks in Haskins and Tate Martell, so it would be better to hand the keys to Burrow so that you have more options once the season starts.

According to offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, however, that’s not how the Buckeye coaches think.

“You don’t call a play sometimes saying, ‘Okay, if this or this or this happens’ and have the negative side effect,” he said. “I think you’ve got to trust your gut, you trust your instincts, you gather information, and you make your decision and move forward accordingly. To sit here and say, ‘Hey, I can only do this because something can happen,’ I don’t think that’s the way our kids are. Even though kids have options, I think all these kids do too.”

Tennessee Tony Alford

Ohio State has dipped into Tennessee recently to land coveted players like running back Master Teague and offensive tackle Max Wray. They also received a commitment not too long ago from Max’s brother Jake, who is a top 2020 offensive line prospect.

The assistant coach assigned to Tennessee is running backs coach Tony Alford, but he isn’t interested in taking the credit for the Buckeyes’ success in the Volunteer State.

“Everyone wants to talk about, ‘Well, this coach can recruit and that coach can recruit.’ Here, it’s a staff deal,” Alford said. “We’re all intertwined. You look at Coach Stud, he recruited Max Wray. I just have Tennessee on my title, that I recruit Tennessee. Stud did that, and the relationship that he built with that family.”

As you would expect, position coaches also recruit the position that they coach, but it is all hands on deck whenever needed.

“It comes from top to bottom as far as how we go about recruiting and the involvement of our entire staff,” Alford said. “I really attribute it to that.”


9 Responses

  1. Be smart, we need to keep both Burrow & Haskins in the fold for 2018 since Martell as the backup QB isn’t yet a great alternative. Announce JB as the starter and, if he keeps the job through the Fall, so much the better. But at least he stays in the program.

  2. None of this matters. Neither Burrow or Haskins can run Urban’s offense the way Martell could… And trust me when I say this… I am not looking forward to another 3 or 4 years of JT Barrett type play calling again… but that’s who moves the ball in Urban’s offense… Running QBs. Martell got significant yards per carry in the spring game while playing one hand touch football. That stat should not be ignored, and if anything, it should be a clear reason why Martell is probably going to be the starter by the end of the year. I hope both Burrow and Haskins do well, I really do… and if one of them starts and excels I will be ecstatic… But if not, I’m sure Martell will lead us to victory too.

  3. Burrow is better. If Haskins goes, he goes. Haskins hasn’t been in the program for almost four years working his ass off and getting markedly better. And at this point he is, to run Meyer’s RPO offense.

  4. I came out of Spring believing that Joe Burrow had separated himself in a “fan” visible way. He virtually doubled up on his nearest competitor, Dwayne. Maybe other practices and scrimmages showed something else. Who knows for sure? When the final gun sounded on the Spring game I don’t see how there could be a question. I add that to all of the other virtual garbage time appearances from Joe a couple years ago and I see a guy who should be leading the Buckeye offense.

    I also don’t think it’s about giving Joe anything. He earned the start with sweat, blood and a lot of hard work. Not that the other guys didn’t work hard, but the test of playing in front of the public showed Joe pretty far ahead.

  5. in my opinion Burrows should be the starter–he is the better passer , more reliable and can run better..Haskins is very good and not far behind but from the little we’ve got to see Burrows deserves to start at this point.

  6. How can Haskins be slightly ahead when Burrow has better accuracy and decision making! Personally at this point it would be good for Burrow to leave the program once he graduates on Sunday. I would hate to see him being stung along. If he leaves this would place Kory Curtis as the third QB…Kory is a walk on but this young man can play. Burrow is playing this year for an NFL contract next year or in two years he can’t afford to wait on the coaches.

  7. That logic is best for the team and the fans but not necessarily for the player who is trying get quality playing time for NFL exposure. I can’t fault either one for leaving to make most of their opportunities. Best case is Burrow as one year starter and Haskins with 3 years of eligibility left – talked into staying to get his shot next year or this year if Burrow struggles

  8. Your logic of keeping three good QBs is correct. A coach trusting his gut or feelings is a losing plan. Coach use your head not your gut. As I also recently wrote giving Mr. Burrow the keys to keep him on board even though Mr. Haskins may be slightly better is the best way to insure that we have a good QB if one gets injured.

    1. Way to slight Tate Martell. If Haskins is the starter, they have to let Burrow know asap. Otherwise the stink will come back to haunt the recruiting process at some point down the road. Personally, I hope Joe gets his deserved shot.

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