Ohio State will have a new starting quarterback this coming season. With CJ Stroud off to the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buckeyes will need a new signal caller. As such, OSU quarterbacks Kyle McCord and Devin Brown are about to be taking part in one of the bigger position battles in the nation.
Spring football is just two weeks away, and so is the next step in head coach Ryan Day finding the Buckeyes’ next starting quarterback.
When it comes to experience, McCord has the edge over Brown. McCord is entering his third year with the Buckeyes and has played in 12 games, which includes a start against Akron as a true freshman in 2021. Brown, meanwhile, redshirted last year as a true freshman and played in just two games. His next pass will be the first of his collegiate career.
And yet, even though McCord has more experience than Brown, it isn’t the kind of experience that would automatically guarantee somebody a starting job. McCord has been the Buckeyes’ backup the past two seasons, but only threw more than four passes once this past season.
Not An Easy Job
Game reps for the backup quarterbacks have been difficult to find over the past few years. CJ Stroud himself never threw a pass in a game until his first as a starter in 2021. That’s the same situation Devin Brown finds himself as well.
“The good news for both of them was in the bowl practice, there was a few days – I think C.J. was down for a day, then he went to the Heisman for a couple of days – so those guys were able to step up. And we had some really competitive practices in there,” Day said earlier this month. “We were actually able to see those guys compete, and it was good to see. And I think at the end of the day, both of them do things a little bit different in their skill sets. But the guy who’s the leader, there’s a lot of different ways to do it, and is competitively tough, is gonna ultimately win the job.”
While Day has said that he wouldn’t mind having somebody step forward as a starter this spring, the expectation is that this competition will go well into fall camp. Even in past competitions such as Justin Fields vs. Gunnar Hoak and Chris Chugunov, Day waited until 12 days before the Buckeyes’ first game before naming a starter.
Wins and losses won’t necessarily be a measure during practice, but just about everything else will be charted.
“They’re both gonna get a ton of reps,” Day said. “They’re gonna get a bunch of reps and compete and you try to do the best you can to look at their statistics, like the completion percentage and there’s a lot that goes with that, drops and things like that. But at the end of the day, it’s gonna be the guy that our team believes in and the coaching staff believes in that can lead our team to a championship. That’s not always clear. It sometimes can be a little gray, but you do the best you can.”
We’re Talking About Practice
This is going to be a big spring for the Buckeyes, because not only are they looking for a new quarterback, but they’ll have a new guy calling plays on offense. Newly appointed offensive coordinator Brian Hartline will be handling a good portion of the play-calling duties this spring, and Day plans to kill a couple of birds with one stone.
In order to know how a play caller is going to perform during a game, you have to create game-like situations. Scrimmaging, situational drills, etc. The same goes for the quarterback competition. Practice is great, but there is nothing as valuable as game reps. So anything Day can do to simulate game-like situations, he’s going to do this spring.
“I think you have to put them in game situations,” he explained. “To be in a seven-on-seven, three-and-a-hitch and throw it, that’s good. They have to learn how to do that. But we also have to let them compete and go play in the game because, again, the more you watch the high level, like I think when you watch C.J. play in that Georgia game, man, he made some plays with his feet, he extended, he competed his tail off. And that’s winning football. And so we have to create those environments for them this spring and then in the preseason.”