“I came here to Ohio State because I wanted to compete and be the guy. That's gonna take time, but right now it's the 2017 season and we're just worried about continuing to get better for Indiana.”
-Dwayne Haskins via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
The age-old adage goes that the back-up quarterback is always everyone’s favorite player. Ohio State has certainly had its share of popular No. 2s over the years, including Stanley Jackson, Joe Germaine, (Stanley Jackson again), Steve Bellisari, Kenny Guiton, and even J.T. Barrett.
However, coming into the 2017 season, the intense attention is on Barrett’s back-up not in hopes that he upsets the established starter, but instead for what it could mean for the future of the program.
Now as a redshirt senior, Barrett has cemented himself as the starter barring injury or unforeseen off-field issue, so there is no repeat of the who-will-start suspense of 2015, but fans have become invested in the battle between Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins, after seeing extended glimpses of both during last April’s spring game. What might have been most interesting about the pair is that, though both have tremendous talent, at this point, they appear to be very different quarterbacks.
As Landis says in his article, the biggest difference between the two is that Burrow is firmly entrenched in the way that the OSU offensive coaching staff wants the position played. He understands how Urban Meyer, Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day want decisions made, and, for better or for worse, is very much in the Barrett mold, especially as his arm strength has improved during his three years in Columbus.
Haskins on the other hand, is still a bit raw, despite his incredible physical gifts. Just a redshirt freshman, the QB acknowledges that he has room to improve.
"Everyone knows I can throw the ball, but it's more than that to play quarterback here at Ohio State,” Haskins said, according to Landis.
“I just feel like he bonded with Coach (Urban) Meyer. Blue wants to be a wide receiver. He sees himself as a wide receiver, so nobody should recruit him as a tight end.”
- Bill Greene, via Ben Roberts, Kentucky.com
Despite the fact that Ohio State currently has the top-ranked 2018 recruiting class according to 247 Sports, one thing that is conspicuously missing from the 16 current commits is a wide-receiver. However, the Buckeyes are in the mix for at least a half dozen four-star or better receivers, including five-star WRs Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jalen Hall, and four-star guys Kamryn Babb and L’Christian “Blue” Smith.
The fact that OSU is pursuing Smith as a WR might be what ultimately cements a commitment later this month. According to Scout.com’s Bill Greene, the fact that Meyer apparently has clarified his positional intentions for the 6-foot-6, 205-pound athlete might have given him the edge.
The OSU coach told Smith that he believes that the position he would play for the Buckeyes would depend upon what his body does over the next few years. If he stays at or around his current size, then wide receiver makes the most sense. However, if he continues to grow and add bulk, a move to tight end might be necessary.
Smith plans to announce his commitment at his high school during the weekend of Aug. 25. He is currently considered a heavy OSU lean, with his home-state UK Wildcats also in the mix.
“First-year OSU quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day explained that the Buckeyes also need to stretch the field horizontally with wide receiver screens, swing passes and other quick throws.”
- Dave Biddle, BuckNuts
Depending on how you viewed Ohio State’s offense last season, the above statement might not be exactly what you wanted to hear as the Buckeyes prepare to open their season two weeks from tomorrow.
In 2016, one of the most consistent complaints about the OSU offense was that Barrett didn’t throw the ball deep often enough, and when he did, it was off-target more often than not. As the 2017 season quickly approaches, much of the talk about Barrett’s performance during camp is that he has dramatically improved his deep passing game, which is a relief to many.
However, Day has said that he and fellow new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson have been spending as much time on the short passing game as the deep.
Day said that they want to use their offensive skill guys in these quick passing situations as an extension of the running game. Day did clarify that this was in an effort to keep defenses on their heels, and prevent them from loading the box, which became a problem last season.
“I just know that with our offensive line and our running back and our tight end and obviously our quarterback, they want to gang up on us,” Day said according to Biddle. “So, in order to operate at a high level we want to make sure we stretch the field both vertically and horizonally (sic).”
STICK TO SPORTS
- ESPN’s Apple TV app lets you watch four games at once.
- Next week’s total eclipse just might change your life.
- Hackers release this Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” early.
- The Falcons’ new stadium has a Chick-fil-A, and it still won’t be open on Sunday.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda says he’s up for writing a “Game of Thrones” musical.