“I know it is very close. But I'm not prepared to say who is No. 2, who is No. 3, et cetera, yet.”
Saturday’s spring game drew over 80,000 fans to The ‘Shoe...for a practice. It might not be a real game, but the implications for the players deep in the depth chart are very real.
Ohio State’s quarterback for the 2017 season is absolutely J.T. Barrett, but with Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins waiting in the wings, there is a bit of competition for the No. 2 spot. Both passers have stepped up as they prepare in Barrett’s shadow, but where each player ends up on the depth chart to start the season is very much still up in the air.
The backup role has become an increasingly important position given the oft-injured quarterbacks the past few seasons. The Buckeyes are in a good position with both Burrow and Haskins on the sideline, but the coaching staff is still hoping one creates a little bit of separation from the other as they get closer to the season opener.
“That's life as an incumbent starting quarterback in a spring game: Take a few snaps, make a few throws and get out of the game before something bad potentially happens to you.”
With Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins seeing the majority of snaps during the spring game, there wasn’t much to analyze from starting quarterback J.T. Barrett’s performance. The veteran saw less playing time than he normally does, but wasn’t about to try and get in for another series before handing over the reigns to the two young Bucks.
"When those young guys get in, especially the defensive line, they're jacked up. Mom and grandmom are in town, they gotta make plays, and I don't want them to take it out on me," Barrett said after the game.
While on the surface, Burrow and Haskins appeared to both have a better day than Barrett, that’s how it’s supposed to be. These types of experiences are meant to get the No. 2 and 3 guys ready to suit up in front of 100,000 screaming fans and be able to replace Barrett seamlessly. Another factor is play-calling. Urban Meyer and the coaching staff ran rather mundane plays with Barrett under center, and saved the complicated trick plays for the next generation of passers.
And despite Barrett’s brief appearance, from a broader perspective he threw quick, accurate passes that should hopefully foreshadow good things this fall.
“In the midst of being beaten down time and time again by injury, doubt occasionally crept in and won out. There were days where he’d miss a post-practice rehab. After all, even going all the time hadn’t always worked.”
Buckeye wide receiver Johnnie Dixon has been on a roller coaster ride ever since joining the football team at Ohio State in 2014. Amid bouts of injury and rehab, he was faced with a tough decision at the end of the 2016 season — walk away from football or give it one more try.
After speaking with his coaches, Dixon decided he wanted one more shot. With a renewed dedication to his training and rehab, the wideout spent the offseason taking care of his knee and working toward a smart comeback.
And come back he did.
During Saturday’s spring game, Dixon -- the team’s most veteran receiver -- put up 108 yards and two touchdowns off just six receptions. Along with 11 rushing yards, Dixon’s 119 total yards of offense surpassed his entire career production at Ohio State.