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Football: Backup quarterback battle too close to call for Meyer after air-raid spring game

OSU redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow (10) catches a snap during the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 15, 2017. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Social Media Editor

After the 2016 spring game, then-redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Burrow said he wasn’t ready to assume the role of backup quarterback. Now-redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins wasn’t in the mix for the job yet, having not arrived at Ohio State.

On Saturday in the 2017 spring game, the two threw a combined 59 passes, completing 40 of them. Haskins was 21 for 32 with the Gray team and 5 for 5 with Scarlet. Burrow was 14 of 22 for Scarlet.

Now exiting spring camp heading toward summer workouts and fall camp, whoever wins the backup quarterback job feels confident enough to be the next man up behind redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Haskins had the most opportunities in the passing game, playing for nearly the entire game on the Gray squad after Barrett played just the first quarter. Haskins completed five passes for more than 20 yards, throwing for 283 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Burrow connected on three such passes, accumulating 262 passing yards and three touchdowns on the day.

Burrow said that the game has slowed down for him quite a bit from a season ago.

“I see just about everything that’s going on on defense, know the offense way better — the ins and outs, what’s going on up front,” he said.

Burrow and Haskins each stood in the pocket and sprayed the ball all over the field, not being afraid to throw it deep and let the receiver make a play in the air. The effect of a Ryan Day-Kevin Wilson offense was on full display for the first time for the Buckeyes and the passing game reflected that change the most.

Burrow came into the spring game as the clubhouse leader for the backup quarterback job, but after a strong performance from both the Athens, Ohio, native and Haskins, OSU coach Urban Meyer will have a decision to make come fall.

“I know it is very close. But I’m not prepared to say who is (No.) 2, who is (No.) 3, et cetera, yet,” Meyer said.

Meyer continued saying that all four quarterbacks — Barrett, Burrow, Haskins and freshman Tate Martell — have been exceptional during spring camp. He added Haskins and Burrow played well Saturday.

In his first time playing in a game scenario, Haskins confirmed beliefs about his arm. He overthrew receivers at time, but dropped in a few long passes on target to redshirt junior wide receivers Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin for his three touchdowns.

When asked whether or not he thought Burrow and Haskins are ready to be the quarterback on deck, Dixon emphatically said he’s confident Burrow and Haskins each can be the leader of the offense, if need be.

Haskins said that he did what he sought out to do this spring and did enough to win the backup job. But until fall camp, he and Burrow will have to wait to prove they’re the right choice to be the next up after Barrett.

“As far as the competition goes, we’re just going back and forth rotating twos, ones,” Haskins said. “Doing everything we need to do to get each other better.”

One comment

  1. So great! Thank you sharing

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