COLUMBUS, Ohio — There aren’t exactly a lot of somewhat undersized, strong-armed, mobile, cocky quarterbacks just laying around for opponents to use to mimic Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield on the practice field.
Ohio State has one from that mold, though, and it’s unleashing Tate Martell on its defense all week to make sure it’s prepared for the Sooners on Saturday night.
It might be a bit much for a freshman quarterback to perfectly duplicate the unique athleticism and production of a senior who has been a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. But the similarities in style are good enough for the Buckeyes right now.
“He’s like Tate Martell on steroids,” defensive end Nick Bosa said. “[Mayfield] is definitely a really good player, and he’s been doing it for a while. It’s pretty clear that he’s one of the best.”
The Buckeyes already have first-hand experience dealing with Mayfield after the two powerhouse programs met in Oklahoma last season. They held the eventual third-place finisher in the Heisman voting to 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, intercepting him twice as Ohio State cruised to a blowout victory on the road.
That prior exposure to Mayfield should be a benefit for a unit that has returning veterans at all three levels of the defense. On top of that, now the Buckeyes have been getting exposed to Martell’s dual-threat ability throughout training camp and into scout-team work on the practice field this week.
“He’s giving us a great look,” safety Damon Webb said. “He’s been doing a great job. That’s kind of his style anyway, so we’ve seen that all fall camp and been working against that all fall camp. So, we’re used to it.
“I mean, there’s a lot of similarities, they’re both running quarterbacks, they both can get out of the pocket and cause havoc to a defense. They both have big arms, so I think there’s a lot of similarities between those two. And that definitely helps us prepare.”
The real thing is looming at the Horseshoe on Saturday.
But in the meantime, Martell is doing his part both to get the Buckeyes ready and continuing to build up the hype for whenever he gets a shot to go to work in Ohio Stadium.
“Baker, what I love about the kid, the young man, he’s a competitive guy,” coach Urban Meyer said. “Yeah, that’s an interesting comparison. I haven’t thought much about it, but I can see that in Tate, as well.”
The similarities don’t end there. And the Buckeyes are taking full advantage of their younger, smaller version of a quarterback in the Mayfield mold.
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