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Steven M. Sipple: If Frost is eyeing transfer QB market, watch Buckeyes' situation closely
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HUSKER FOOTBALL

Steven M. Sipple: If Frost is eyeing transfer QB market, watch Buckeyes' situation closely

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Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow is in a battle with Dwayne Haskins to be Ohio State's starting quarterback this season.

Things I know, and things I think I know:

If you're putting together a list of the most intriguing Big Ten football storylines of the spring, high in the pecking order would be the battle for starting quarterback at Ohio State.

Wonder if Scott Frost is paying attention to the competition?

You wonder in part because of the ESPN report Friday night that Nebraska has had contact with Arizona graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins. According to ESPN, Dawkins also has interest in UCLA, Indiana and Florida Atlantic.

It's conceivable that Frost, the first-year Husker head coach, may consider a grad transfer QB. He has said his ideal quarterback room has five scholarship players. He currently has three scholarship QBs eligible to play in 2018: sophomore Patrick O'Brien, redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and true freshman Adrian Martinez.

Meanwhile, Ohio State's spring competition pits sophomore Dwayne Haskins, junior Joe Burrow and redshirt freshman Tate Martell.

Haskins and Burrow are the favorites, having entered spring on even terms, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer has said.

Burrow, of course, gets the attention of Nebraska fans. He grew up in Athens, Ohio, where his father, ex-Nebraska player and graduate assistant Jimmy Burrow, is defensive coordinator for Ohio University. Jimmy has two sons, Jamie and Dan, who played for Nebraska.

Joe Burrow was the state of Ohio's Mr. Football in 2014. He's known in his family as "Super Burrow" because at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds he's blessed with a strong work ethic, not to mention the sort of elite athleticism that the rest of the family lacked — which is saying a mouthful considering Jamie made a team-leading 84 tackles for Nebraska's 2001 team that played for the national championship.

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So, let's cut to the chase, so to speak. Joe Burrow is on pace to graduate in May. If it came down to him knowing he's not going to be Ohio State's quarterback in 2018, he could transfer somewhere else and be eligible immediately with two years to play. He would fit well in many spread systems.

The situation obviously is a hot topic in Buckeye land. Haskins captured the imagination of fans last season against Michigan, when he relieved injured J.T. Barrett and completed 6 of 7 passes for 94 yards in a 31-20 win. But he was No. 2 in part because Burrow broke his throwing hand last August.

In 10 career appearances as a Buckeye, Burrow is 29-for-39 passing (74.4 percent) for 287 yards and two touchdowns, with zero interceptions. He's rushed 15 times for 53 yards and another score.

Ohio State's spring game is set for April 14, a week before Nebraska's. Even if Frost were uninterested in the grad transfer market at quarterback — we'll ask him about it this week when his team resumes spring drills — the Buckeyes' situation at the position has relevance. After all, the Huskers face a Nov. 3 test in the Horseshoe.

Meyer was asked last week if he owes Burrow an answer at the end of spring drills.

"Without getting too deep, we've had conversations with his family," Meyer said, according to cleveland.com. "We try to be as transparent with (media) without getting too nose deep into our meetings but the answer is probably yes. My first obligation is Ohio State, but not far below that is the player and the family — and so, yeah."

We'll be watching.

* Meyer, on why he ultimately prefers spirited competition for the quarterback job lasts into August: "I think it keeps people on pins and needles," he told reporters. "Performance, it's science, performance is better when you have the discomfort of competition. That's when you're on point. If it's you by yourself, sometimes you have a tendency to be complacent."

* Frost also will be asked this week about Chris Walker's apparent move from offensive line to defensive line. The Lincoln East graduate spent last season practicing on offense. But the 6-8, 275-pound Walker made clear in our interview in January of 2017 that defense is much more appealing to him.

Why is that the case?

"You mean other than smacking people?" he said.

What's more, he prides himself on being physically fit.

"Look at a typical offensive lineman, then look at a defensive lineman," he said. "There's often quite a difference. If I have the choice, I'm going with the D-line."

* I'm betting that if Tim Miles is Nebraska's basketball coach next season, he'll be operating with a two-year contract extension that would carry him through the 2021-22 season. I would make the deal heavy on incentives — i.e., extra dough for winning in the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, win in the Dance. Look at the parity this year. It's not too much to ask. It's time. It's past time.

Miles and Bill Moos, the new Husker athletic director, have met twice since season's end (that we know of). Moos doesn't seem like the type to let things linger. Stay tuned.

* As an older journalist (I'm 51 going on 75), it's important to keep up with the times. That's why I listened intently Friday to Dan Patrick's radio interview with Los Angeles Lakers rookie Josh Hart on Hart's affinity for the popular video game Fortnite.

Patrick, an excellent interviewer, asked Hart to compare how he felt the first time he won on Fortnite to how he felt upon winning the national championship in 2016 at Villanova. Which was more exciting?

Hart had to think about it.

“It’s tough because we won the national championship in dramatic fashion, so I have to give that the nod,” he said.

If Villanova had beaten North Carolina by 15 points, “Then definitely it would be Fortnite,” Hart said.

I clearly have a lot to learn about life.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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