Devin Brown Ohio State Buckeyes Quarterback

It’s Okay To Be Patient With Quarterbacks

“Are you gonna transfer? When are you gonna transfer? Why haven’t you transferred yet?”

These are the questions that college quarterbacks face today, whether it’s from the media, the public, or family members.

People are pushing quarterbacks out the door before they’ve even hung up their coats.

And then when a quarterback does enter the portal, those same people weep for the state of the game.

“Nobody has any loyalty or patience anymore.”

But here’s a suggestion: maybe just give quarterbacks some time. Let them hang up their coats. Let them establish a mailing address. Let them try and fail and work and succeed before asking them what the hell they’re still doing here.

Those of us in the sport or who follow it are almost all guilty of it. I was there in the locker room after a postseason game in 2017 talking to Joe Burrow about the possibility of transferring. One year later I was among the scrum of reporters in the days leading up to the Rose Bowl when Tate Martell said he was 100% sure he would be the starter in 2019.

So none of this is new. The quarterback position has always been different.

“Only one guy can play,” as Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has pointed out over the years.

You try to bring in a quarterback in every recruiting class because you know you’re not going to be able to keep them all.

And yet in listening to Buckeye quarterbacks Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz on Monday, the theme sure seemed to be something along the lines of “stop trying to push me out the door.

The main reasons for the constant questions are two-fold. One, it’s just the nature of the position. It is reality. Signing quarterbacks is a lot like marriage — half of them end in divorce and most don’t make it past three years.

And two, the transfer portal is a two-way street.

Ryan Day brought in two quarterbacks via the transfer portal this winter — including Will Howard and his 27 career starts at Kansas State, so the “natural response” from everybody on the outside is about how Brown and Kienholz’s days are numbered.

But here’s some breaking news for you — all of our days are numbered, but nobody is talking about you on social media or asking you directly what you’re going to do in the next few months since you obviously shouldn’t still be where you are.

“Honestly, I think people are cowards,” Brown said of those who keep trying to shove him into the transfer portal. “I think people have this thought in their own heads that I’m gonna leave and I’m a quitter. But that’s never been me. I mean, these people live wherever, in their mom’s basement, saying stuff about me and they don’t know shit. Excuse my language. But they don’t know anything. They don’t know who I am, they don’t know who I’ve been, and that’s always who I’ve been.”

You know how when you’re out to eat and you’re having a good time and the server gives you the bill and tells you to take your time and that you don’t have to leave, but you know they’d really like you to leave so that they can turn the table over and start serving somebody else?

We are the server, except instead of telling the quarterbacks that they don’t have to leave, we hand them their tab at the same time as their meal and once they pay, we’re asking them what the hell they’re still doing here.

Whether it’s on the field or off the field, nobody likes being rushed.

We’ll leave when we’re ready to leave. So will a quarterback. We’re not working for tips here so there’s really no need to turn the table over. It is costing us nothing to allow a quarterback to compete for a job. Because this is still a competition, after all.

Football is a competitive sport and the best man wins. And for those who don’t win, you either keep trying or go try somewhere else.

Kienholz, a redshirt freshman, said it himself on Monday, acknowledging that he’s “pretty young” and that this is just his first spring.

“I think it’s turned into a huge business now and I don’t think a lot of people realize that we’re making decisions for four to five years, when we’re 17, 18 years old,” he said. “So I think that’s something that people have forgotten a little bit.”

Would Kienholz like to be the starting quarterback this year? Of course. But you know what, he also understands what goes into the process. This doesn’t just happen.

“If I come in and I’m the guy, then great,” he said. “But if not, then I have another year to build on that.”

Some of the same people reading that quote will see it as a lack of urgency, when instead it is spoken by the only person trying to turn his dream into a reality, when we’re all trying to do the opposite.

This is the kind of answer fans should want to hear from their quarterback.

I’m gonna fight for the job this year, but if I don’t win it, I’ll fight for it next year.

Just because this seems foreign to us doesn’t mean that we need it to start speaking our language.

It is okay to keep in mind that every quarterback’s clock is different.

And none of them have ever asked any of us for the time.

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