If I was in Joe Burrow’s shoes, I’d have no idea what to do.
The Ohio State redshirt junior-to-be showed during Saturday’s spring game why he’s ready for an opportunity to be a starting quarterback.
Then again, so did Dwayne Haskins. The redshirt sophomore-to-be is considered “the quarterback of the future,” which was confirmed by what he showed in relief vs. Michigan last year and what we saw again on Saturday.
Both Burrow and Haskins looked plenty capable of leading an offense in 2018. The issue is that the former can all but kiss that opportunity goodbye at OSU if he doesn’t win the job during fall camp.
Here’s where it gets interesting. As many know, Burrow will graduate from OSU this may. That means he could transfer as a graduate student, play immediately and have two years of eligibility remaining at another school. There would certainly be a market for Burrow if he chose that. That decision needs to come sooner rather than later.
In Urban Meyer’s perfect world, Burrow would compete through August to try and win his dream job.
“I’d love to have them both in the fall and let them keep battling it out,” Meyer said recently of Burrow and Haskins via 247sports. “I’d like that. We’ve had that before, and I think it keeps people on pins and needles.”
Of course Meyer would like that. But even he knows that a dilemma with Burrow lies ahead.
Conventional wisdom says that Meyer will tell Burrow that the job is still wide open. Meyer said publicly throughout spring camp that he wished guys would start to separate themselves. In my opinion, Saturday looked like a 2-man battle with Burrow and Haskins.
But one has to think that Burrow is going to walk into Meyer’s office in the near future and all but beg him to give him some clarity. Surely it would make Burrow’s life easier. If he’s going to transfer, it’s obviously much better to know where he stands now compared to three months from now.
Let’s not forget that it was Haskins who was the backup last year. It was Haskins who Meyer called “the best quarterback prospect he’d ever seen.” There are a whole lot of people in Columbus who wanted the Haskins era to start before the J.T. Barrett era ended.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of transparency we see from Meyer and Burrow with those things in mind.
“Without getting too deep, we’ve had conversations with his family,” Meyer said of Burrow a couple weeks ago. “But we try to be as transparent with you guys without getting too nose deep into our meetings, but the answer is probably yes. My first obligation is Ohio State. But not far below that is the player and the family.”
Even if Meyer convinces Burrow that he’s got a 50-50 chance to win the job, there’s always the chance that Burrow transfers late in August if he doesn’t beat out Haskins in fall camp. Meyer would like to avoid that, too.
This is tricky for Meyer. He wants quarterback depth. Even though we saw the athleticism that made Tate Martell the Gatorade High School Player of the Year a couple years ago, we saw on Saturday that Ohio State would be a pretty one-dimensional offense with him as the backup.
Speaking of that, keep in mind that Martell said after the Cotton Bowl that he’d consider a position switch if he didn’t win the starting job as a redshirt freshman.
How will Meyer factor that into all of this? What if Burrow transfers and it’s just Haskins vs. Martell heading into the fall? Would Martell really switch positions if he was just an injury away from being the starter?
All of that remains to be seen. There’s so much left to be decided with this quarterback battle. Even if Haskins is the guy — my guess is that he will be — there are more moving parts for Meyer to juggle than he’s had in recent memory (yes, even 2015). At the center of all of that will be his dilemma with Burrow.
How fitting it was that Burrow ended his solid day with this 50-yard bomb to Demario McCall (via Eleven Warriors):
The calendars were wrong. 2018 is the year of the 🐐 pic.twitter.com/xICNJ4QKoV
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) April 14, 2018
Will that be the last touchdown pass that we ever see from Burrow in an Ohio State uniform? It could be. Either way, it was the perfect way for Burrow to make one final statement.
A couple of weeks ago, Burrow told reporters that he wouldn’t necessarily transfer if he didn’t earn the starting job out of spring camp. But he did add that he would have to evaluate things after spring ball concluded.
The time has come for Burrow to evaluate where he stands. Some of that will involve reading Meyer’s comments publicly, and some of that will involve reading Meyer’s comments privately. It’ll be the biggest decision that Burrow has had to make since he signed his letter of intent to come to his home-state school.
Should he stay or should he go?
I’m glad it’s not my dilemma.