“I’ve said and written before that Hoak -- an Ohio quarterback who attended OSU-Michigan games as a fan, who gets being a Buckeye and therefore may be less likely to bolt if he doesn’t start -- is exactly the kind of quarterback Ohio State should target in its recruiting every three years or so.”
When the quarterback carousel happened after the Rose Bowl, it was a wild time for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Out went Dwayne Haskins, and Justin Fields transferred then. Then Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin headed for the exit—moving to Miami (FL) and TCU, respectively.
With a QB room missing depth, who were the Buckeyes going to get? Especially with Fields in the driver’s seat to be named starter. Whoever came to Columbus was, most likely, going to be the backup.
And then Gunnar Hoak showed up.
A graduate transfer from Kentucky, three seasons for the Wildcats only produced a handful of game appearances and 26 total passes. A four-star talent in high school, the Dublin (OH) native is returning to his home state to for his remaining two years of college eligibility.
As Doug Lesmerises mentions it in his piece, there’s a lot of different gears moving in the Buckeyes’ machine this summer/fall. New coaches. New quarterbacks. And everyone trying to learn what they need to learn before Florida Atlantic rolls into town on the last day of August.
Having someone like Hoak—an Ohio kid playing for a team he grew up watching and having a family connection to the program—is an absolute ace in the back pocket. He knows what the situation was, and still came to OSU anyway.
Doomsday scenarios have happened before at Ohio State. Braxton Miller got hurt, as did J.T. Barrett. In both instances, having sufficient backups was critical. Kenny Guiton pulled off the miracle comeback against Purdue in 2012, and Cardale Jones lifted the Buckeyes through the postseason when both Miller and Barrett went down on the title run.
Like Jones, Hoak is an Ohio guy. And more importantly, he wants to be in the program. Just having that presence on the team will be huge—especially come Michigan Week.
“As the quarterbacks coach makes his way through the first few practices, he seemed to be in no hurry to point out if Fields or Hoak has the upper hand as of Sunday.”
Just because Hoak didn’t arrive to Ohio State as the blockbuster offseason QB transfer, doesn’t mean that he’s resigned to being No. 2 on the depth chart. After spending a few seasons at Kentucky as backup, he’s out to fight for the No. 1 spot for the Buckeyes.
And for Mike Yurcich, in his first season as co-offensive coordinator, he’s not in too big of a hurry to name the order on the depth chart.
Like Ryan Day, Yurcich and the other coaches are in transition mode; Day is in his first full season as being head coach, and the change over from Urban Meyer will take time. Especially with how loaded this OSU roster is, letting practice play out without the fanfare may be the best way to get ready for the season.
The last time a QB battle took over an offseason in Columbus was after the 2015 National Championship Game. From about March to the first snap against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., there was a very cloudy forecast for who would be the starter at quarterback. It seemed like everywhere you looked, there was a prediction on why J.T. Barrett would start over Cardale Jones, and vice-versa.
Have we come close to hitting that same level of fanfare and jitteriness when talking QBs? Not even close. But, the longer this plays out, the more smoke that’ll arise from the staff not naming a leader between Fields and Hoak.
“As it stands, it’s McCoy listed as the starter with Keenum listed behind him as the backup and Haskins bringing up the rear as the third-string quarterback.”
Training camp is well underway across the NFL. The Washington Redskins, who are without last year’s starter Alex Smith, are figuring out how the pecking order will go heading into the preseason.
With Smith on the mend from a leg injury, the likes of Colt McCoy, Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins are duking it out. And right now, McCoy has the lead against the other two. Keenum is in second, while Haskins is in last.
Like McCoy, Keenum came to Washington with NFL experience. The only one amongst the trio who didn’t come into the 2019 camp with professional snaps is Haskins—so it’s not surprising to see him in third.
The first preseason matchup for the Redskins will be on Thursday, Aug. 8 on the road against the Cleveland Browns. After that, Thursday, Aug. 15 will feature the first Washington home game, as they’ll host the Cincinnati Bengals.
In a post from the Redskins’ team site, here’s the approach to the first preseason contest:
“First preseason game is mainly you’re going to call your first two or three install-type plays that you have in, let the players play, play fast, and not so much worry about scheme as you normally would. Still, we want to get them prepared for what they will possibly see so they can adapt and play fast and we can hopefully have some positive plays against Cleveland.”
Haskins will have his chances throughout camp and the four preseason games to move up the chart. Should we expect him to be named starter before Week 1? Not really. But we should see some improvements week after week.
On the bright side: the first couple games Washington plays in the preseason should feature quite a few Buckeyes. The Redskins have Haskins and Terry McLaurin; the Browns have Denzel Ward; and the Bengals have a recently activated Billy Price, as well as Michael Jordan.
Stick to Sports
- Updates from Dayton.
- How to help those affected in El Paso and Dayton.
- North Market mezzanine gets a makeover.
- The Sixth Sense turns 20.
- Here we go again: Another season of Bachelor in Paradise begins tonight
- Back to school tech guide.
- On this day in history: (1957) American Bandstand debuts on ABC.