COLUMBUS — The Ohio State quarterback battle that everybody wanted to see continue playing out in Saturday’s spring game will be put on hold for a bit as redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Brown will miss the game with a hand injury.
Buckeye head coach Ryan Day announced the news on Wednesday.
“Devin actually had a procedure done today on his throwing hand on his finger,” Day said. “So he’s not going to be available to play on Saturday. He will be throwing again real soon, but he won’t be able to actually play in the game on Saturday.”
Without Brown, the Buckeyes will still have Kyle McCord and Tristan Gebbia available, as well as walk-ons Chad Ray and Mason Maggs.
Ray lost his black stripe following Wednesday’s practice.
While the timing of Brown’s injury is different, it’s not the first time a Buckeye quarterback has injured his hand while competing for a job.
In 2017, Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins were battling for the backup job behind JT Barrett. The job was Burrow’s the year before, and most believe it remained that way until Burrow injured his hand in practice during fall camp.
Haskins then took over the backup job by default, and when he was later called upon to save the day against Michigan, he did just that. He performed so well in that contest that it was always going to be unlikely for Burrow to pass Haskins in the spring.
Burrow eventually transferred following spring ball in 2018 when head coach Urban Meyer couldn’t guarantee him a starting spot.
While Day sees the similarities between that situation and the current situation with Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, it’s the differences that are most glaring to him.
“I hear what you’re saying,” Day said. “I think that situation, that happened during the fall, and so that really set Joe back that entire fall and then allowed Dwayne to play in the rivalry game, and playing that game and helping us win that game, and then it kind of turned into a battle in the spring. This was different. Devin’s been practicing the majority of the spring. He’ll miss a couple practices here and be right back at it. So it’s more of a setback than anything else.”
While the injury isn’t ideal, the fact that it has been labeled as nothing serious is good news for the Buckeyes. Day does not expect Brown to miss much work this summer either.
Brown will certainly have some catching up to do, but 25 or so practices in fall camp should be enough to allow him to put his best foot forward. Whether or not that foot is good enough to overtake Kyle McCord remains to be seen, but the battle is still very young.