CHICAGO — Despite all of the focus on what is happening with former Ohio State wide receiver coach Zach Smith, Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer also addressed his quarterbacks at the Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday.
After a spring defined by competition at the quarterback position, Meyer previously announced this summer that redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins would be the new starting quarterback at Ohio State. He reiterated his stance this week as well.
However, that doesn’t mean things at quarterback are set in stone heading into fall camp. There is still work to be done for Haskins and the rest of the quarterbacks, and changes are still possible.
“I made it clear that Dwayne would be the quarterback, but 30 days from now, a lot happens in 30 days,” Meyer said.
Any new Buckeye quarterback will bring a multitude of changes to the offense and the team as a whole, but Meyer said the expectations at that position will remain the same, no matter who is behind center.
“Dwayne Haskins, the position will never change,” Meyer said. “The expectation is to be the best quarterback in the Big Ten, which is very hard because we have some excellent quarterbacks.”
And as far as the other Buckeye quarterbacks, Meyer said that redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell has done a great job of earning the respect and trust of his teammates.
Also, after recovering from a tough knee injury as a high school senior, freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin has put on about 20 good pounds and is throwing well.
“Matt Baldwin is our third team quarterback, he’s up to 209 pounds right now, he’s gained 20-some pounds,” Meyer said. “He had a tough injury, but I watched him work, watched him throw.”
Meyer said he wishes he had one more quarterback in order to have four on the roster, but he expressed how happy he was with Haskins’ ability to throw the ball.
“That’s one-third of what a quarterback has to do,” Meyer said. “And lead and toughness are the other two.”
Leadership was something that Haskins said he was working on throughout the spring, and in order to win the starting job he had to build the connections with each of his teammates.
But Haskins has big shoes to fill. Following J.T. Barrett is not an easy task. Meyer has praised Barrett for his leadership abilities throughout his time at Ohio State.
“What he did for our team inside, not many people were aware of, I’ll forever be indebted to J.T. Barrett, that’s how good a person, leader he was,” Meyer said.
Although it will be a challenge for Haskins to match the leadership efforts of Barrett, he has done well to put himself in the position to emerge as a leader of team.
“The big word is respect, and earned trust. It’s the job of a leader. Earn trust. That’s the most — all due respect to other sports, this is the most unique position of all of sport,” Meyer said.
“You have to understand the entire defense, have to understand all other 10 players, what they’re doing on offense. He has to make decisions in split seconds. And, by the way, he’s got people like [Nick] Bosa trying to tear his throat out.”