They don’t get much in the way of attention, but backup quarterbacks are among the most important players on any football team.
Just ask Cardale Jones, coach Urban Meyer and his 2015 national champion Ohio State Buckeyes.
For a less extreme example, consider former quarterback Kenny Guiton and his heroics against Purdue in 2012. In one of the more memorable Buckeye contests of the Meyer era, Guiton stepped in for an injured Braxton Miller and led a game-tying drive, later defeating the Boilermakers in overtime to preserve a perfect season.
The backup job at OSU has become even more valuable given the oft-injured signal-callers of previous seasons. It’s a position that is still up in the air in Columbus.
With J.T. Barrett solidified as the starter, the battle for the No. 2 spot will be fought for by Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins.
A pro-style quarterback, Burrow served as the Buckeyes primary backup for the past year and returns as the man to beat. While he didn’t have the same notoriety that Haskins did coming out of high school, the Ohio native has played well when his number’s been called, albeit in garbage time. Burrow passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns in 2016, tacking on an additional 58 yards and a TD on the ground.
Then there’s the fan favorite in Haskins, who has the potential to start for OSU in 2018 when Barrett is no longer with the program. He redshirted last season and has grown exponentially since. Haskins possesses a cannon for an arm and has the wheels needed to really thrive in Meyer’s offense.
Do ya thing playa, Get that money.. pic.twitter.com/Yj0zoeOFsP— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) April 18, 2017
And although you’d think the annual spring game would’ve provided some clarity, it didn’t. In fact, the exact opposite happened.
Haskins – as seen above – was about as good as it gets, finishing with 293 passing yards and three touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Burrow threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns – all in the first half.
Afterwards, Meyer had no answer as to who will be Barrett’s backup.
“We haven't had that [conversation] yet. I know it is very close. But I'm not prepared to say who is No. 2, who is No. 3, et cetera, yet.”
-Urban Meyer, via Austin ward of ESPN
When all’s said and done, it’s clear that both quarterbacks are fully capable of leading the Buckeyes revamped offense.
Haskins ability to move and escape the pocket may end up being the tiebreaker come Week 1, but it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see Burrow remain as the No. 2 guy, for now.
This is familiar territory for Meyer and the Buckeyes, as it always seems like they’re burdened with the problem of having too much of a good thing.
What a shame.