Here’s a twist: Who is Ohio State’s No. 2 quarterback coming out of spring drills?
Ryan Day smiled at the effort made by a media member Wednesday to put a new spin on what has been the No. 1 question he and the other coaches have been asked since last season ended: Who is the No.1 quarterback — Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins Jr. or Tate Martell — now that a month and half of spring drills are in the books?
“We’re right in the middle of meetings right now,” said Day, the quarterbacks coach and one of two offensive coordinators. “We’re still evaluating film from the spring and all that right now.”
>>Video: Ohio State QBs still being evaluated
Most folks figured going into the spring that the pecking order in the competition to replace four-year starter J.T. Barrett was sophomore Haskins, junior Burrow and redshirt-freshman Martell.
But Day, Urban Meyer and fellow offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson never made such a statement. When they do, Day said Wednesday, he doesn’t expect the competition to be over.
“There’s months’ worth of practice coming up here,” Day said. “So regardless of how that plays out, and who’s ahead of who, they’re going to have to go into the preseason and compete anyways, because if you go into preseason and don’t do as well, then obviously you’re going to get affected by that as well.
“It’s a process, and we’ll probably have a better idea here pretty soon.”
While most tend to see it as a Burrow-Haskins race for No. 1, Day was not ready to make that statement when asked whether the mercurial Martell might see playing time.
“We’re looking at all scenarios,” Day said. “Everything under the sun we’re looking at right now. … The guys have different skill sets, so we’re looking at everything,”
Day did offer a quick evaluation of how each improved:
• Burrow, “the second half of the spring, did a nice job throwing the ball, making decisions, did a nice job on the deep ball, and leadership as well.”
• Haskins showed better “command of the offense, getting the ball out on time, accuracy in the passing game.”
• Martell, whose running ability is unquestioned, “did improve as a passer from last fall, to the first practice of spring, to the end of spring. He did show a lot improvement in terms of his technique, getting his front foot down and throwing the ball.”
There is no hard deadline to declare an order, and Day indicated he is taking his time to go through the data, evaluating not just cold numbers, but, for instance in the passing game, whether incompletions through the spring were the result of throwing to lower-level receivers, operating behind lower-level linemen, or just inaccuracy.
“Once we get through it we’ll have a better idea,” Day said.
He was reminded that Burrow, a fourth-year player, will have his degree at the end of the current semester and will have the option to transfer and play immediately if he so desires.
“You trust the fact that guys chose Ohio State for a reason, that they want to be a part of this,” Day said. “That the brotherhood and being ‘nine strong,’ and being there for your teammates is a part of it. That’s one of the things we talk about all the time — how strong is your unit? How strong is your offense? And the brotherhood of trust is important for us.
“That’s why we preach it all the time because in the end, it’s not about yourself. It’s more about the team. Joe has said it, he wants to be a Buckeye, and he is a Buckeye, and he’s showed loyalty here, so that isn’t really changing anything. But we are in the middle of these meetings, go through it all, and kind of figure out where everybody is.”