“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.” ~ William McKinley
I have to give some props to President McKinley. Born in Niles, Ohio, McKinley was the last American President to have served in the military in The Civil War, so McKinley certainly knew what he was talking about when it came to defeats and victory.
To say that the 2016 Ohio State football season ended with a thud is an understatement. While I certainly believed Clemson was capable of defeating Ohio State in The 2016 Fiesta Bowl, I never thought Ohio State would be so thoroughly outplayed, and, let’s be honest Ohio State fans, outcoached.
As badly as I felt about that loss on New Year’s Eve, the Ohio State coaches and players felt the sting of that loss much more so. Dramatic overhauls along the coaching staff, combined with early departures of players for the 2017 NFL Draft, have Ohio State with questions to answer as spring football begins in Columbus on March 7th.
For the next several weeks, I will be writing position group previews, leading up to the Ohio State Spring Football Game in Ohio Stadium on April 15th, 2017. These position groups will be ranked, from least to most concern, as I perceive them. It is entirely possible that my concerns, as well as the coaching staff’s concerns, will be reevaluated after the spring game.
9th ~ Quarterback
Players Lost: Stephen Collier. Collier missed the entire 2016 season due to injury, then announced at the beginning of 2017 that he was retiring as a player. If you have not read Collier’s letter to Ohio State fans, you are truly missing out. It is entirely possible that a transfer may take place after spring practice concludes on April 15th, but it would be surprising.
Returning Players/Incoming Players: J.T. Barrett (5th Year Senior), Joe Burrow (Redshirt Sophomore), Dwayne Haskins (Redshirt Freshman), Tate Martell (Freshman).
A few things to keep in mind for this position group…
- In the words of Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer regarding J.T. Barrett…, “He’s our quarterback.”. Barrett has already set so many Ohio State passing records, but with a big year in 2017, it will be difficult for other quarterbacks to break them. With new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson on staff, look for Barrett to make a big leap forward as a passer, back to the form Barrett displayed in 2014 as a redshirt freshman.
- The big battle to watch will be at the backup quarterback position. Joe Burrow played well in limited spot duty in 2016, and recently addressed transfer rumors. Dwayne Haskins redshirted in 2016, but earned rave reviews throughout the bowl practices from his teammates. As for true freshman Tate Martell, all Martell has accomplished in his high school career is go undefeated and was named the Gatorade National Player Of The Year.
- How do I think it will all shake out? I have not the foggiest idea. I do know that watching the quarterbacks battle will be one of the highlights for fans during the upcoming spring game on April 15th in Ohio Stadium. With so much talent, and such tremendous coaching on hand to guide and nurture this talent, this is why I ranked the quarterback position ninth in overall concerns heading into the 2017 season.
The 2016 Ohio State football season did not end on a positive note. Spring practices in 2017 can show the Ohio State coaches, players, and fans that the 2017 season will not end in a similar fashion.