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Spring Notes: QB Pecking Order; Deep Ball Accuracy Best It's Been Since Urban Meyer's Arrival
By Tony Gerdeman
Buckeye QBs hit deep balls at a 90% clip last week.
Photo by Dan Harker

One of the most-anticipated competitions for the Buckeyes this spring was the quarterback position. To this point it seems to be living up to the expectations.

While fifth-year senior J.T. Barrett continues to lead by a considerable distance, the battle to back him up wages every day. On Tuesday, Urban Meyer gave an update as to the current quarterback pecking order behind Barrett.

"I’d say that Joe (Burrow) is ahead of (Dwayne Haskins), but they’re both getting reps," he said. "Tate (Martell) had his best day too the other day in the scrimmage. So it’s a good competition there and that brings out the best in people."

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Martell would have his best performance in a "live" situation, given his penchant for improvisational quarterbacking. The fact that he had some good moments is a positive that isn't always achieved by true freshman quarterbacks under Urban Meyer.

The level of play is fairly high right now at the position, and as history has shown, the Buckeyes can never have enough talented quarterbacks on hand.

"We all know what happened here a couple of years ago when all of a sudden someone taps you on the shoulder and says you’re the starter, go beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, and they did it," Meyer said. "That position is a key guy and everybody appreciates that."

Deep Thoughts by Urban Meyer

The Buckeyes went into this spring with a renewed focus on improving their downfield passing. On Tuesday, Meyer gave a glowing update as to how things stand in that area.

"Our deep ball percentage was the best that it’s been since we’ve been here last week," he said. "We were charting everything. J.T. and the boys did a really good job. We didn’t catch all of them, but as far as accuracy it was almost 90% and that’s what we’re looking for."

If the Buckeyes can once again make the deep ball part of their game, then Meyer and his offensive staff can achieve the balance that they want. If they can't, then it becomes more difficult to get the chunks of yards that great offenses can create.

The renewed emphasis on the deep ball isn't just about making the passing game better, it's about making the Buckeyes better.

"Certainly, every year it is, but we are emphasizing it just as much as anybody else," said quarterbacks coach Ryan Day. "Obviously when you complete the deep ball, it changes everything. It is just not the quarterback or the receivers, it is everybody involved in it. When you can be explosive in the passing game, that makes a huge difference."

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