Indiana head coach Tom Allen and his staff have decided on a starting quarterback. They have also decided not to announce who that starter is publicly.
Meanwhile, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day could be on the verge of announcing the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, but because the competition went so far into camp, the Hoosiers have long been studying and preparing for two different quarterbacks.
In a game where only one quarterback can play at a time, both defenses come into Saturday’s game between the Buckeyes and Hoosiers with questions. But those questions may pale in comparison to the questions the offenses have about their respective quarterbacks.
Allen watched a competition between redshirt freshmen Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby, who have combined to throw 10 career passes. They zeroed in on their guy, and now the Ohio State defense awaits.
The Hoosiers will simultaneously need a quarterback who doesn’t feel overwhelmed with the pressure of a first start coming against a Top Five team, and yet somebody who also recognizes and eagerly accepts the challenge ahead of him.
“Preparation creates that confidence,” Allen said on Monday. “There’s nothing you can do. You’ve got to play the game. There’s no other way around it. I think experience has taught me that. I think it’s somewhat obvious in a lot of ways. In that position for sure, you’ve got to be in the fire and be able to have those opportunities.
“So I think it’s just you prepare and you leave no stone unturned, the confidence that you have in your position and your skill set and what you’re doing and running the offense. I just want them to be confident and play with decisive decision-making.”
The Hoosiers’ game plan will involve helping the quarterback schematically in any way they can. That has been the charge of the offensive staff the last couple of weeks of fall practice. The task of the defensive staff has gone back a little further, given the complete unknowns of what they’ll be getting from the Ohio State quarterbacks.
One thing that Allen does know, however, is that whoever takes snaps for Ohio State is going to be dangerous.
“We’ve been through this before where they have a new quarterback and it’s – whoever it’s going to be is going to be a very, very talented player,” he said. “They’re going to have new guys at other positions, but they’re going to be very talented new guys even though we haven’t seen them play a lot for Ohio State.”
As with the Indiana quarterback situation, the Buckeye quarterbacks haven’t been overpopulating the box scores. The competition has been between junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown. Brown only saw action a couple of times last year and never threw a pass. McCord has played in 12 games in his career, including a start as a true freshman in 2021. He only threw 20 passes last season, however.
So how do the Hoosiers prepare for two guys who don’t have much film to study?
“You have to go back to high school film for a lot of these guys, for both of these guys,” he said. “So I think that makes it unique. They’re also different quarterbacks as well. They have different skill sets. Both can throw the ball extremely well, and one’s more athletic than the other one is. From a running perspective, both can elude things.”
Brown has been deemed the better runner of the two options, while McCord the more consistent and accurate passer. Both can run the Ohio State offense, but they may do it a bit differently. And with no quarterback named yet by Ryan Day, the Hoosiers have to prepare for both.
“That creates challenges without question, but we’re playing for that. We’re preparing for that,” Allen said. “We’re preparing for both. They have a standard of how they play, and you’ve got a consistency in what they’re doing offensively.
“But from a position perspective, that’s going to have to be in-game adjustments. We’ll see how it unfolds, who they’re using and how they’re using them, and how they use it to modify what they do. Their system is what it is, and they do a really good job. At the end of the day, you’ve got to stop it.”