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What to Make of Burrow's Transfer and What Now?

What to Make of Burrow’s Transfer and What Now?

When Urban Meyer accepted Joe Burrow’s commitment in the spring of 2014, I had little doubt that Burrow had the skills to play quarterback at Ohio St.  Not because I know anything about evaluating high school talent, but because Urban knows a thing or two about selecting the best of the best. 

4 years later, I still have little doubt that Joe Burrow can play QB at Ohio St. And I’m sure the coaches concur. So, did the coaches make the right move here or should they have done everything in their power to keep Joe Burrow on this roster? That’s the million-dollar question.

After signing Burrow in 2014, Ohio St signed another good QB in the following recruiting class. Strange how Ohio St does that, huh? And like Burrow, Dwayne Haskins didn’t come to Columbus to ride pine. Following JT Barrett’s departure after the ‘17 season, something had to give in the spring of ‘18.  

In mid August of last year, I really thought Joe Burrow would be that guy to replace JT in ‘18. But his hand injury changed things. I still thought Burrow would eventually assert himself as the heir to OSU’s QB throne, but the Michigan game made me think otherwise. Haskins had steel nerves and made plays on the biggest stage there is the very first time that he had ever stepped onto that stage.

But Joe Burrow wasn’t going out without a fight, and I responded to Colin’s pre-Spring game questions telling him not to write-off Joe Burrow just yet. Then Burrow probably outplayed Haskins in the spring game. Still, there were other signs that seemed to point to this being Dwayne Haskins’ team.

Burrow looked great throwing the ball…he always does. But more often than not, Burrow was by himself on the bench when the camera zeroed in on him. Maybe I’m overanalyzing, but the opposite was the case with Haskins, who was involved with seemingly everybody on the sidelines. 

After the scrimmage, Burrow did get props from Nick Bosa after his long TD throw to end the game. But still, when the players sang Carmen Ohio afterward, it was Haskins next to Urban in the front row, while Burrow was in the third row of players. 

In the post-game interview, it was not the Dwayne Haskins that was often grinning from ear to ear in 2017; he was all business. I thought the kid displayed a bit of cockiness….the kind of cockiness you want in your quarterback.

Again, maybe the “this being Dwayne’s team” feeling was reading way too much into this, and the 29 additional practices in August that have yet to occur would have ultimately decided this QB thing. But I don’t think so. 

Joe Burrow is pretty damn good, but I think Haskins’ is probably better and has a higher ceiling. With Haskins’ cannon for an arm, his game in Ann Arbor last November, and him appearing to fill a leadership void, I think Haskins had to get the first shot in ’18 ahead of Burrow.

It would surely be nice to have Joe Burrow stepping in this season if Haskins went down or didn’t cut the mustard after all. But despite being arguably the best coach in college football, these QB controversies appear to be Urban’s kryptonite.  

The situation with having the 3 high-profile QBs in 2015 was not handled well, to say the least. Fast-forward to the 2018 spring game – Burrow and Haskins rotate at  QB….on the same drives…on every drive. After the game, Haskins tolds reporters that this wasn’t just a spring game deal….that this rotation on the same drive was the way it was done throughout spring practice. I mean….really? That doesn’t sound like 2015 all over again….it sounds worse….it sounds ridiculous. 

Again, it’s pretty clear Joe Burrow can play quarterback at Ohio State…that’s never been the question. But there’s a good chance that Burrow’s transfer may translate into a better things for Joe, Dwayne, Urban and this 2018 Ohio State team.

If Burrow becomes a star at his next school, that wouldn’t shock me at all. I hope it happens. But this won’t be the last Buckeye QB to transfer knowing he will be appreciated more elsewhere. It is what it is in big time college football today, and having depth at QB will continue get less and less common.

--Brent Baver