With Joe Burrow Gone, Dwayne Haskins Becomes Clear Frontrunner To Become Next Starting Quarterback

By James Grega on May 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm
Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins, come on down.

With Joe Burrow announcing his transfer from Ohio State on Tuesday, Haskins has all but locked up the starting job for the Buckeyes heading into the 2018 season. 

Tate Martell will surely be involved, but it was clear after watching Ohio State's 2018 Spring Game that the redshirt freshman is not nearly as polished as a passer, which gives Haskins the clear advantage. 

This is Haskins' offense now, and there isn't much debate about it. 

After watching the spring game, it was clear that Haskins and Burrow were neck-and-neck for the starting job, but the coaches clearly weren't ready to commit to either one before fall camp. That meant Burrow would either have to bet on himself to win the job outright in fall camp and perhaps waste a year of eligibility, or transfer and guarantee himself two years as a starter elsewhere. The latter option won out. 

Dwayne Haskins
Haskins' performance against Michigan will be more than just a flash in the pan. He is now Ohio State's starting QB.

Moving forward, Ohio State now has its starter, and while they surely would have loved to have Burrow compete for the job in fall camp, the May transfer might end up being a blessing in disguise for the Buckeye coaching staff. 

It is clear that the Buckeyes have at least some kind of plan for Martell to play meaningful reps in 2018. That much was evident with the play calling he received during the spring game, as compared to Haskins and Burrow. They were already developing a package for him. Now, they can focus on how and when to deploy that package and work it in with Haskins as the full-time starter. 

Urban Meyer has had success with a two-QB system (see 2006 Florida Gators) but has also had some struggles (see 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes). The difference here is the skill sets of the quarterbacks involved and luckily for Meyer, the current situation compares more to 2006 than 2015. 

Haskins is a clear pocket passer with the ability to run when needed. Martell is the opposite. This provides the coaching staff with a number of options, and now they have an entire offseason to work through ideas, rather than worry about a competition. They did not have that luxury in 2015 when J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones were battling for the right to start up until the day of the Virginia Tech game. 

It also helps that Meyer has coaches on his staff who have dealt with similar quarterback situations in the past. While at Indiana, Kevin Wilson juggled the likes of Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson in 2013, and the Hoosiers produced the second best offense in the Big Ten, averaging more than 500 yards per game. Both Sudfeld and Roberson appeared in every game, combining to throw for 36 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Roberson, the more athletic of the two, also added 423 yards on the ground that season and an additional five scores. 

Haskins has much more of a gunslinger mentality than any quarterback Meyer has ever had since his Florida days, so interceptions are going to happen. However, with his arm talent, Ohio State will have more opportunities for big plays through the air in 2018, something Buckeye fans have been clamoring for since the 2015 season. 

Add in a powerful one-two punch of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, and Ohio State's offense has the ability to look like it did during its championship run in 2014, if the coaching staff puts the players in the right positions to succeed. 

Regardless of what the offense looks like in 2018, it is clear that the offense now belongs to Haskins and now Ohio State can begin to prepare for its immediate future without many question marks. 

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