Graduate transfer quarterback Gunnar Hoak didn’t get to take part in Ohio State’s spring practice this year because he was still at Kentucky finishing up his degree.
His arrival this season is key, of course, because he is now one of just three scholarship quarterbacks on the OSU roster.
With the early departures of Dwayne Haskins to the NFL, Tate Martell to Miami, and Matthew Baldwin to TCU, the quarterback position at Ohio State was decimated.
When Urban Meyer signed Dwayne Haskins, he didn’t expect to get just three years out of him. It wasn’t too long into the 2018 season, however, when it was apparent that Haskins was too good to return in 2019.
The arrival of Justin Fields convinced Martell and Baldwin that it was time to move on as well.
The need for quarterbacks became more paramount than ever, and part of that need was answered when Gunnar Hoak decided to transfer to Ohio State.
He has been told he will have an opportunity to win the starting quarterback job in Fall camp, but more important than that for OSU is that Hoak adds some much needed depth. If he can win the job as well, then all the better.
At this point, just having him on the roster is a relief for the coaches. But now they need him to be ready, and they can’t do much to get him there at the moment.
Gunnar Hoak won’t hit the practice field for the Buckeyes until they open fall camp in early August.
However, he is going to need to be as up to speed as possible when camp starts, which means he is going to have to take the initiative and do much of it on his own.
“You only have a certain amount of meeting times, so you hope the individual has that internal drive to be a guy who can work on his own and really be a football junkie on his own,” said OSU quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich. “There’s only so much time you can meet with him this time of year. You try your best to be organized and maximize your meeting times. It’s important to do that. A lot of that has to be on their own.”
It can be stressful for a coach when they need players to improve but can’t be too involved in making that happen. That’s where recruiting comes into play and you have a coaching staff that tries as hard as possible to bring in the right kind of people.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of young men who are conscientious and put the team first,” Yurcich said. “Those are the kinds of things you do when you’re a team guy.”
Players have three-and-a-half months between the end of spring ball and the start of fall camp, and Hoak has even less time.
Head coach Ryan Day brought Hoak in for a number of reasons, and his ability to pick things up in short order is definitely an asset.
“He’s got to learn in short order,” Day said. “He’s a little bit behind in terms of the couple months that we had in the spring, he wasn’t here. But he’s also really, really sharp, I think he’ll pick it up quick, and then let the competition begin in August.”