Now that spring football is over, it’s time to look back at exactly what we just saw. We’ll go over each position group over the next two weeks with what was learned and what still needs to happen. Up first will be the Ohio State quarterbacks.
Quick Position Overview
The Buckeyes entered spring camp with three quarterbacks competing for the job. Redshirt freshmen CJ Stroud and Jack Miller are the “experienced pair,” even though neither has ever thrown a pass in a game, while true freshman Kyle McCord is the young upstart in a room that is as unproven as Ohio State has ever seen. The talent, however, is not a question.
Expectations Going In
The plan was for all three quarterbacks to get a shot to show what they can do. Reps would be split up relatively evenly and whatever happens from there, happens from there. Given the lack of experience, ups and downs were expected. The talent is there to produce the ups, but the inexperience would also come through to provide the downs. No starter was ever expected to come out of spring practice because it would serve nobody to have that happen.
Reality Coming Out
Everything pretty much went according to plan. CJ Stroud, Jack Miller, and Kyle McCord all got to show their wares, and there was plenty worth buying. Even though head coach Ryan Day has said that there is no leader and that everybody got time with the ones, any time the media saw practice, it was Stroud getting the first reps. The reps were still spread out pretty evenly and ones rotated with twos all over the place, but the ongoing favorite still appears to be Stroud, who was Justin Fields’ backup a year ago.
No, not really. Other than maybe senior walk-on Jagger Laroe’s arm in the spring game.
The biggest question on the team entering spring ball remains the biggest unanswered question after spring ball: who is going to be the starting quarterback? While the betting favorite is CJ Stroud, there is still a long time between now and September 2 in Minneapolis.
So Now What?
All three quarterbacks will continue their work in the offseason. They will each go about becoming a leader in their own respective ways. They will need to organize workouts with receivers and lead in the weight room and make themselves available to everyone in the program. Somebody is going to walk out of this room as a starter in mid-August and there’s going to be a lot of weight on his shoulders. The preparation for holding that weight continues this summer.
The concern at quarterback is always that you’re going to lose somebody to the transfer portal and no matter how evenly Ryan Day tried to split the reps, that’s not always enough to keep a player from leaving. Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins split reps evenly in the spring of 2018, but because Burrow wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot, he decided to go somewhere he would be. Three scholarship quarterbacks is the bare minimum of what Day wants in his QB room, but this is the new reality. That new reality also has QB clocks ticking even before they enroll. Quarterbacks arrive with a timeline in mind and if they feel that timeline is being altered, they may look toward the transfer portal in order to get back on track. Which is one reason why no starter was named this spring. Another reason is that there is still a bunch of work to be done and plenty of time for somebody to make a move.
Are We Sure?
Is it odd that Ohio State is on the verge of starting a quarterback who has never thrown a pass in college football and that doesn’t seem to concern anybody?
“Yeah, very similar to what this whole spring’s been. Some good, some not so good. A lot of learning opportunities there. We tried to get a little bit of a two-minute going at the end of the half, some red zone stuff. All learning. You can see when you watch, there’s flashes here and there. Then there’s just learning opportunities., and the more these guys can prepare and work in the film room and just grind in the meeting rooms, the better they’re going to prepare and be ready for those moments. And they’ve learned a lot. But now the race is on over the next few months to figure out who can make the next stride so that they’re further along. Spring has been good. There’s been a lot of progress made across the board, but still a long way to go before we play against Minnesota.” – Ryan Day on his quarterbacks’ performances in the Spring Game.
|7 CJ Stroud | Redshirt Freshman | 6-3 215 OR|
|Stroud was Justin Fields’ backup in 2020 and entered spring as the expected starter this season. Nothing that happened this spring has altered those thoughts, but the race is still yet to be won.|
|9 Jack Miller | Redshirt Freshman | 6-3 215 OR|
|Miller was the least aggressive of the quarterbacks in the spring game, which is unfortunate because it would have been nice to see him attack the secondary down the field.|
|14 Kyle McCord | Freshman | 6-3 210|
|McCord is a gunslinger and he showed that right out of the gate in the spring game. He enrolled early in order to compete for the job and while he’s fighting an uphill battle, he has yet to lose his footing.|