The Ohio State Buckeyes entered this year’s spring game, always grand anticipation, looking to have some answers for this coming season – especially who would be behind center, replacing JT Barrett.
Redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins, redshirt junior Joe Burrow and redshirt freshman Tate Martell each were granted an opportunity to display their wares as to why they should start for the Buckeyes. But, it just wasn’t so simple. Each of the signal-callers made strong cases as to why they should be given the lead as the Buckeyes starting QB going into summer practices – basically theirs’ to lose in this period, if it is to be lost. Saturday’s Spring Game at Ohio Stadium with Team Gray’s convincing win over Team Scarlet; 37-14 only showed that each of these young men are hungry to be the starting Quarterback.
“We’re going to have to make some decisions, those decisions have not been made,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “We’re going to have some very good meetings, productive meetings, I want to see all of the statistical data that we have charted, everything, and go from there.”
Haskins’ arm looked good – finishing the game 9 for 19 with 120 yards with two touchdowns. Burrow showed a consistency that coaches love, hitting 15 for 22 for 238 years, also with two touchdowns. And Martell put on display his dual-threat capabilities, rushing for 69 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown. He also completed 5 of 16 for 28 yards, along with an interception
“Data is second, it’s just something that helps you, it’s also factual,” Meyer said. “Intangibles are, obviously that’s going to be very involved in the decision.”
Haskins found sophomore wide-receiver Jaylen Harris in the corner of the end-zone in the first half for a 25-yard touchdown with razor precision that appeared to be a bullet – indeed impressive.
Burrow completed the longest pass of the day, a 49-yard touchdown to junior H-back Demario McCall in the fourth quarter to put Gray up 31-14.
McCall would end the afternoon 163 total yards and two touchdowns, both on throws from Burrow.
“Demario got way better, transitioning from running back to receiving, he had the whole Spring to work at it,” junior wide receiver Binjimen Victor said. “I feel like he’s getting there and he’s going to help us contribute in the Fall.”
Freshman running back Master Teague scored the first touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter on a 1-yard run. Immediately following the Teague touchdown, redshirt junior running back Mike Weber broke off a run for 63 yards, and Martell scored on a two-yard run to put Gray up 10-7.
Junior running back Antonio Williams scored from three yards out with only 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give Gray a 17-14 lead going into halftime.
Burrow, Haskins and Martell were just three players at one position among several others that had one last impression to make before summer workouts and fall camp for the starting spots for the 2018 football season.
“At tight end, you noticed I pulled out Luke Farrell, and as if we finished spring practice, he’ll be the starting tight end,” Meyer said. “The field safety is probably our number one concern on our team, right now we’re just not quite sure who that is.”
The Buckeyes have more than four months to make the tough decisions that need to be made before returning to Ohio Stadium for its season opener on Sept. 1 against Oregon State.
We can trust that whoever lines up behind center they would have earned it. One thing about Urban Meyer is he does not play favorites. He plays to win. As a Buckeye-die-hard I love that about him. And whoever lines up behind center, if they falter, or God-forbid, get injured there are still two-very-capable studs prepared to show they belong in a Scarlet and Gray uniform.