I know that Kyle McCord did exactly what Ryan Day was hoping somebody would do. Last week, Day said one of the tiebreakers would be the guy who responds when his back is against the wall. That’s what McCord did these past two weeks when he either had to respond or lose the job to a younger player. He knew that if he lost the job, he’d probably never get it back. The future of his Ohio State career came down to the last two weeks. Everything he has worked for since he committed to the Buckeyes four years and four months earlier was in the balance. The vision that he had for his life was on the verge of taking an unknown turn. And rather than let that tear him down, he operated within those confines and played his best ball. That’s pressure.
I think you can only do so much with game-like situations in practice, but what McCord went through is as close as it gets to replicating the pressure of clear and impending failure. He turned into the skid and ended up perfectly parallel parked. It doesn’t even matter what kind of pressure is being responded to, the coaches just want to see a guy who doesn’t blink and just keeps moving forward. Not only did McCord keep moving forward, but he picked up speed. He saw his Ohio State future beginning to twist in the wind, and he responded.
I wonder how this will translate to on-field play. He is still going to have to go out there and execute. That has never changed. Coaches won’t know how McCord will perform when the Buckeyes are trailing in the fourth quarter, but they’ll know that it won’t be the first time the pressure of the entire OSU world was on his shoulders.
I know that I am looking forward to seeing both quarterbacks play. The best thing about college football is the constant changeover of the rosters. The new possibilities. The new stars creating new memories. Watching stuff we’ve never seen before – both the amazing and the terrible.
I think how well Devin Brown performs in practice these next two days will dictate how early he sees the field on Saturday. There’s no point in saying this competition is still somewhat open if Brown doesn’t see the field when the game is still in doubt. If he doesn’t play until the fourth quarter, then this thing is over.
I wonder if Ryan Day will insert Brown at a difficult time. Obviously, you’d prefer that there are no difficult situations in which to take your first real snaps, but say he’s scheduled to be out there on the fourth possession, and IU downs a punt at the 2-yard line. Do you still put Brown in the game? Generally you don’t, but what better way to know he can operate under pressure? If this is still a race, you’re gonna need to see the real rather than the ideal.
To read the rest of this edition of What I Know, What I Think, What I Wonder, you can click here, but you must be a premium member of Buckeye Huddle. Additional topics include the importance of Mike Hall, wide receiver rotation, the deceptive tactics of Indiana head coach Tom Allen, some impact freshmen, and more.