Ohio State quarterbacks still waiting to find out who won job

Coaches looking for competitiveness, leadership, toughness in a QB

The news Wednesday at Ohio State regarding the quarterback situation was simple: There was none.

Will the Buckeyes turn to Dwayne Haskins, last year’s backup, as their starter in 2018? Could it be Joe Burrow, who has the option of transferring and playing right away if he doesn’t get the job? What will they do with Tate Martell?

The spring season ended Saturday with the spring game at Ohio Stadium, and the wait continues for the answer. The coaches held their first meeting since the spring game Wednesday and planned to get on the recruiting trail Thursday.

“We’re all evaluating right now,” said quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day, one of the assistant coaches who met with the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “We said we weren’t going to focus on anything except getting better, and at the end, we were going to take all the film, all the grades, compile it all and go from there.”

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Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson would prefer to have all three quarterbacks on the roster when preseason practices begin this summer.

“You need more than one typically in this day and age to win,” Wilson said. “You better have more than one at most positions. You’re looking at two-plus tight ends, seven or eight receivers, three tailbacks. Everyone wants to say, ‘Who’s the starter?’ But, in reality, in offensive football with tempo and multiple settings and personnel groupings, you’re playing a lot of guys. You go back to the national championship year. How many quarterbacks played?”

The Buckeyes needed three quarterbacks in 2014. They lost Braxton Miller to an injury before the season. J.T. Barrett started every game in the regular season. Barrett’s injury in the regular-season finale against Michigan opened the door for Cardale Jones, who led them to three postseason victories, one in the national championship game against Oregon.

In 2015, Jones beat out Barrett for the starting job but later lost the job to Barrett, who remained the starter in 2016 and 2017. Even last season, the Buckeyes needed a quality second quarterback. When Barrett went down in the regular-season finale at Michigan, Haskins was ready and led Ohio State to a comeback victory.

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That one performance is a big reason why Haskins remains the favorite to win the job. However, the coaches focused on making sure Haskins, Burrow and Martell received equal reps in practice in the spring, Day said, so everyone would have a fair shot.

“The good news is we have good players,” Day said. “We have a good room, good quarterbacks. Guys are getting better. There are some places that don’t have quarterbacks in a room that can play at a level our guys can. That’s a positive.”

While coach Urban Meyer said the coaches will lean on all the data they collected about the quarterbacks in the spring, the decision goes deeper than numbers.

“I think with a quarterback a lot of it leadership and some of the effect they can have on the team,” Day said. “It isn’t just taking a ball and throwing it. There’s a lot that comes with it. We talk all the time about competitiveness, leadership, toughness, football IQ and decision making. All of those things go into it. All of those things go into the culture of your offense, the culture of your team.”

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