Just because Ohio State isn't playing this weekend doesn't mean there is nothing to talk about. The Buckeyes enter their open week a perfect 8-0, but many questions still face the team. We'll be tackling a different topic each day this week, some serious and some light-hearted, but all with eye towards the Buckeyes four remaining regular season games against Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan State and Michigan.
Who will be Ohio State's next starting quarterback and when will they step in for J.T. Barrett?
Ryan Ginn: For the sake of not putting bad vibes out into the world, I won’t include a hypothetical in which someone wins the job because of a Barrett injury. That leaves poor play, the NFL or graduation as the reasons Barrett ultimately loses the job. I don’t think he’ll lose the job to Cardale Jones for the rest of the season, so Jones is out in my book. I would expect Barrett to play at least one more season in Columbus, probably two, which makes it a tossup among the current or committed quarterbacks – none of whom have a single pass or rushing yard to their name at the college level.
If push comes to shove, I’ll go with current true freshman Joey Burrow as the heir apparent to Barrett’s reign. He’s a great runner who can do a lot of the same things Barrett can, and he’s more than capable of running Meyer’s offense. He will have been in Columbus for either two or three seasons by the time Barrett departs, making this by no means an emergency situation.
James Grega: If I had to guess, I would say that J.T. Barrett is a guy that will stay through his eligibility and finish school while maybe even starting grad school.
However, we have seen that Barrett has already been through two major injuries in his football career (a torn ACL in high school and last season's fractured ankle) and with the amount he runs the football in this offense, the likeliness of injury is heightened.
If Barrett stays healthy, I do not think Ohio State will have another starter at quarterback until 2018, as Barrett is only currently a redshirt sophomore.
If that's the case, it comes down to either Joey Burrow, Torrance Gibson and current commit Tristen Wallace. This is no disrespect to Stephen Collier, but I just don't think he stacks up in that group.
My guess is that it will be Burrow for a couple of reasons.
First, I think Gibson's best shot at becoming an NFL player is at wide receiver and his leadership qualities have come into question in the last few weeks as his academics have slipped. I fully expect him to stay on the Braxton Miller route at Ohio State.
Burrow will be a redshirt junior by 2018 and I feel as though his qualities on and off the field will help him become the next Buckeye signal caller.
Tim Moody: In a perfect world, Ohio State probably wouldn’t want to find out who its next starting quarterback will be until after the 2017 season. That would involve J.T. Barrett not only remaining with the Buckeyes until his eligibility is up, but also staying healthy for the next two plus years.
While I do think Barrett will be the starter for the next two seasons, odds are he’ll miss a game or two somewhere in there. Nothing against Barrett or his toughness, but it’s simply difficult to stay healthy when you’re that gifted of a runner — just look at Braxton Miller.
For the purpose of this question I expect someone not named J.T. to start a game at quarterback for Ohio State sometime next season. That would leave soon-to-be redshirt freshmen Joey Burrow and Torrance Gibson, as well as will-be sophomore Stephen Collier as the options (a year later I would add Tristen Wallace to the mix, but as a true freshman he won’t be high enough in the pecking order next year).
Based off of Gibson’s inability to find the field just yet, I’ll scratch him from the conversation right away as I think he’ll still be developing as a receiver come next fall. That leaves Burrow and Collier, and I’ll go with the The Plains (Ohio) Athens product here.
While Collier will have two full seasons and three springs under his belt, he won’t really have a big leg up on actual playing time — none outside of a cameo against Hawaii — and Burrow simply has more talent. With a year of working with Urban Meyer and Tim Beck under his belt, I’d say Burrow will have shown enough to earn the second string spot sometime next fall and then be slotted into the lineup if or when Barrett misses a game.
Blake Williams: Legitimate arguments can be made for current Buckeyes Cardale Jones, Stephen Collier, Joey Burrow and Torrance Gibson, as well as for current commit Tristen Wallace as answers for this question. Kudos to Tim Moody for coming up with this nice thought exercise.
J.T. Barrett has clearly won the job away from Jones, and while I do think he will continue to play this season I don't think he starts over Barrett in 2015. Both Jones and Barrett could both be back next season, but I think Jones opts for the NFL following this season so I'll remove him from my list of options.
Barrett will be back next season and more than likely exhaust his eligibility by starting the 2017 season. As my colleagues have pointed out above, odds are he will not start every game over that time. Injuries are just too real a part of the game. For that reason I will go with the player I expect to be second on the depth chart in 2016. While Burrow may have more talent and Gibson is a freak athlete, I think Collier's experience in the offense will make him a dependable second-team player next year and he'll start at least one game in place of an injured Barrett.
Gibson, I think, remains a wide receiver in his college career. While Burrow may have more talent, collier will have enough time in the system to be the safer bet for the second team next season.
Open Week Questions:
Tuesday: Which freshmen will play?
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