11W Spring Football Mailbag: Discussing the Quarterback Battle, Offensive Line Questions And More

By James Grega on April 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Ohio State Spring Game

Ohio State's Spring Game is on, and with it brings plenty of questions. 

The Buckeyes still have plenty of position battles that are ongoing including the quarterback battle, which could very well carry on into fall camp. In addition, Ohio State is looking to replace back-to-back Rimington Award winners at center and replace veteran safety Damon Webb on defense. Not to mention replacing all three linebacker spots as Tuf Borland is sidelined with an Achilles injury. 

With all of these questions surrounding the Spring Game, we open up the Eleven Warriors Football Mailbag for a spring football edition and answer your questions concerning the upcoming scrimmage. 

Who's your horse at QB?Hovenaut

Since I saw him throw in his first spring practice, I have maintained that Dwayne Haskins would be the guy to replace J.T. Barrett and I am sticking with that prediction. 

I think Haskins' ability to stretch a defense with his big arm is a commodity that Ohio State hasn't had since Cardale Jones, and while Jones ended up losing his starting spot to Barrett in 2015, he was undefeated as a starter and you can't overlook that stat. 

Ryan Day is a former NFL assistant and I think that also carries some weight here. Haskins is the most pro-style quarterback of the three signal callers competing for the job and I think that very much plays into his favor. I don't think Ohio State can go wrong with any of the three, but for my money, Haskins gives the Buckeyes the best chance to succeed. 

Which player will leave the fans wanting to see more of him in the fall that we may not be expecting?SoulPatrol32

Because there are so many returning skill players on the offensive side of the ball, this is a tough one to answer, so I am going to go on the defensive side of things. 

I think linebacker Keandre Jones has a tremendous upside and is a third-year player not many of us outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center have seen play any significant reps. He came in very highly touted and in a game that features a spread out, pass-heavy game, his athleticism should be on full display. 

Who's your pick for Offensive and Defensive game MVP's?NHBuckeye

I will stick to my guns and go with Haskins as the offensive MVP and on defense, I will go with Jones or cornerback Marcus Williamson. 

With Jeffrey Okudah sidelined and Kendall Sheffield likely to be held out for most of the scrimmage as a veteran with plenty of game reps, I think Williamson is the next corner in line to prove himself. He is an early candidate to earn reps at nickel once the season starts and with a pass-heavy attack in the Spring Game he will be tested a lot. 

I think at least one corner comes up with an interception on Saturday because of the poor weather, and I will go with Williamson as the guy who gets it. 

Give us your best guess at the starting center.Seattle Linga

I truly believe it will be Brady Taylor by the time the season starts, but whether he can retain that spot remains to be seen. 

Josh Myers probably has the highest ceiling of any of the players competing for the center job and I would not be surprised in the slightest if he eventually took over the job, but I believe Taylor will open the season at center. Matthew Burrell is still competing, but I think his time has come and gone. 

Will Malcolm Pridgeon lock down the right guard spot?Sanantonefan

I have always thought Pridgeon would play the minute he stepped on campus, but it hasn't turned out that way at all. An injury in fall camp of 2016 sidelined him all of that season and he failed to earn significant playing time last season, despite an opening at guard. 

With Branden Bowen still working back from his leg injury, I think the door is open for Pridgeon to make a run at the starting guard spot, but he is going to have to string a number of good practices together in the fall to get by Bowen. A good showing in the Spring Game could go a long way as well. 

I will go on record as saying I think Pridgeon will start at least one game at guard this season, perhaps more if he steps his game up in fall camp. 

Will Tate Martell get to throw the ball a lot in the spring game or will it be more of the running game when he is in the game? - Keze

Assuming he gets the no-contact jersey like Haskins and Burrow, expect Martell to get the chance to sling the ball around a little in the Spring Game. 

Yes, running the ball plays into Martell's skill set, but the Spring Game is a glorified 7-on-7 drill and you can't run the ball in a 7-on-7. He is going to get his chance to throw the ball and show that he can sling it just as well as Haskins or Burrow. 

There will surely be some zone-read plays on Saturday, but expect his pass attempts to be significantly higher than his carries. 

Who gains the most yards rushing?Txsbuckeye

I expect Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins to get a few carries each before being pulled, so expect Antonio Williams and Master Teague to get the bulk of the carries on Saturday. 

Like I have mentioned above, there are going to be numerous pass attempts and not many rush attempts in this game, as is tradition. However, with the forecast bringing rain, we could see a few more carries than usual. Those will go to Williams, Dobbins and perhaps even Demario McCall from the H-back position. 

Does the two-running back system get implemented for the spring game, or do we have to wait until the season opener?John-A-Tron

You will have to wait until at least the season opener to see any kind of two-back set. Considering they didn't break it out until the Cotton Bowl last year, I highly doubt the Spring Game will feature both on the field at the same time, especially since the top two backs usually get split up onto different teams. 

Personally, I think Ohio State would be foolish not to utilize some kind of two-back set in 2018 once the season starts, but I am skeptical they will do it in 2018 because it was used on just one play all of last season. 

With Thayer Munford being named the starting RT, do you see Urban openly naming a winner at any other position coming out of spring practice?Niblick

I think Malik Harrison is very close to being named one of the starting outside linebackers. He earned plenty of reps there last year and played well in the time he earned. A solid Spring Game performance I believe could lock him into one of the outside linebacker spots.

On offense, I think center and quarterback will both be open when fall camp opens as will most of the openings on defense. I expect another rotation at corner with Okudah, Damon Arnette and Sheffield and the safety spot opposite Jordan Fuller is one I expect to be open until the season opener. 

Will OSU continue their coffin corner kickoffs? - AwlinBrutus

Absolutely. There is no reason to think otherwise until the NCAA passes its proposed rule to allow fair catches to advance the ball to the 25-yard line. If that happens, Ohio State might change its philosophy. Until then, expect it to remain the same. 

Who wins? Scarlet, gray or the weather?Iowabuckeyes

Mother nature is undefeated in these situations. Even if the weather doesn't delay, or ultimately cancel the game, it could very well bother throws on offense and throw a wrench into what the coaches have planned. 

The good news for Ohio State is, at least the weather can't cost them the game (see Nov. 21, 2015). 

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