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QB decision looms this spring for Ohio State, Burrow

  • UMFB26-15

    Dwayne Haskins helped Ohio State beat Michigan last season, but coach Urban Meyer hasn't awarded Haskins the full-time job just yet.

    BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH

  • s7burrow-jpg-1

    Joe Burrow could transfer without penalty this summer if he will not be Ohio State's starting quarterback.

    AP

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COLUMBUS — In Ohio State’s perfect world, coach Urban Meyer will look around during training camp and see two veteran quarterbacks who are capable of starting for the Buckeyes.

The spring reality in Columbus is that the Buckeyes have a decision to make between redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins and redshirt junior Joe Burrow.

The Buckeyes began spring practice Tuesday in Columbus as the quarterback question will loom between now and the April 14 spring game.

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Joe Burrow could transfer without penalty this summer if he will not be Ohio State's starting quarterback.

AP Enlarge

Conventional wisdom says Haskins — who rescued Ohio State in a victory at Michigan last season — will be the starter when OSU opens the season, though Meyer said Tuesday he intends for the Buckeyes to have a competition to succeed graduated starter J.T. Barrett.

While Ohio State has a choice to make, so does Burrow. He will graduate after the current semester, and if Haskins indeed holds onto the job this spring, Burrow could opt to transfer and become a popular commodity because he has experience, two years of eligibility remaining, and he can play immediately.

Asked if he owes Burrow an answer by the end of spring practice, Meyer said the program already has broached the topic.

“Without getting too deep, we've had conversations with his family,” Meyer said. “We try to be as transparent with [the media] 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.”

Under different circumstances, the Buckeyes had a quarterback battle before the 2015 season. The aforementioned Barrett led OSU to an 11-1 regular season before falling injured in 2014, after which backup Cardale Jones oversaw the Buckeyes’ run to a national championship. Jones eschewed the NFL to return, and OSU split time between Barrett and Jones during the season.

Though the battle between Haskins and Burrow might not last until the opening of training camp, Meyer said competition is useful for a team, and that hopes the race could continue through the summer.

“Sure, I'd love to have them both in the fall and let them keep battling it out. I'd like that,” Meyer said. “We've had that before, and I think it keeps people on pins and needles, and performance, it's science, the performance is better when you have someone [competing].”

More concerning to Meyer than quarterback is the position battle at center, where three players are vying for the starting job to replace the departed Billy Price.

Meyer said when a position has many capable players “there’s no stress at all,” and added “I think we’ll be fine at quarterback.”

Haskins and Burrow were in competition to be Barrett’s backup last season until Burrow suffered a hand injury that moved Haskins firmly into the second spot.

In terms of volume, the pair has played roughly the same amount, but Haskins’ experience is more significant. He went 6-for-7 passing and anchored the game-winning touchdown drive against Michigan, by far the biggest game situation either player has seen at Ohio State.

Though Haskins certainly appears to have the inside track to be OSU’s next starter at quarter, Meyer said the Buckeyes will use the spring to make the most informed decision possible.

“I think we all know Dwayne kind of finished the season and finished it strong against the team up north,” Meyer said. “Joe before his injury was neck and neck, so this is going to be [us] trying to do the best we can to make sure that we have equal opportunity to compete.”

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at npiotrowicz@theblade.com, 419-724-6110 or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz

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