Now that the Ohio State football team needs a new starting quarterback, how does that influence what they will do with Tate Martell?
With Joe Burrow transferring from Ohio State, the next man up behind sophomore Dwayne Haskins is redshirt freshman Tate Martell. If you haven’t seen him play, he is the QB behind the Bishop Gorman (NV) machine that was 45-0 behind his leadership, which included two mythical high school national championships, the 2016 USA Today offensive player of the year, and 2017 Gatorade high school player of the year.
That said, should he be the successor to J.T. Barrett? If not, where does he fit in the plans of this year’s Buckeyes?
Martell is a dual-threat QB. Stature-wise he is smaller than Barrett (5’11) but plays the same way. Martell never quits on plays and is a force when he takes off as well. However, although Martell is not the runner Barrett was, he is a stronger armed QB, and more accurate.
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The issue with Martell taking the reins this year is that Haskins has a year more under his belt. In the past, dating to Chris Leak with Tim Tebow, and Barrett with Haskins, even if the younger QB may have more talent, Meyer wants his QBs seasoned so he can entrust them in big moments.
For all of the misgivings about Barrett’s arm strength, no one ever doubted his leadership. If Haskins falters here, Martell may become QB1 sooner than we think. Haskins though has shown skills, and a flare for the dramatic as evidenced by his drive to put Ohio State ahead of Michigan when Barrett left with an injury, so where does leave Martell?
For this year, it leaves Martell as the next man up. That said, Meyer has stated numerous times, including most recently via cleveland.com’s Bill Landis that Martell’s competitive spirit reminded him of Barrett (lofty praise), Alex Smith, and Tim Tebow. However, as we’ve seen with QBs, especially in Columbus, the backup does play.
In the case of Barrett (Braxton Miller), Cardale Jones (Barrett), and Haskins (Barrett), the backup will be in a huge key. Due to the big games the Buckeyes play, I believe like Tebow, Martell will be put in different sets to showcase his talents and throw a curve ball at opposing defenses. Furthermore, should Haskins struggle in a game, Meyer will have no issue inserting him to energize the offense.
If it’s not Meyer, and it’s Ryan Day, look for the same wrinkles. Day came from the Oregon offense, so expect spread formation leading to a power running attack, and the pass based off of that; pretty much what we see with the Buckeyes anyway. As far as next year, it’s a year away.