There is a lot of anxiety in Buckeye Nation right now. For the third time in five years, the Ohio State football team enters a season with a new signal caller at quarterback. Justin Fields was the anointed starter in 2019 the moment he transferred to Columbus, Ohio from Athens, Georgia.
C.J. Stroud was the man heading into fall camp in 2021 despite what Ryan Day said about there being a quarterback competition between Stroud and true freshman Kyle McCord. Now McCord is in his third season, but Day isn’t quick to call him the starting quarterback, despite the overwhelming belief among Ohio State football fans that he will get the nod.
At his press conference on Wednesday, Day made it perfectly clear that he isn’t going to name a starter between McCord and second-year quarterback Devin Brown until one of them emerges as the better fit for the job.
"“We have had this situation before going back with C.J. (Stroud), going back with Justin (Fields), and Dwayne (Haskins) where after the first couple weeks of fall practice, we felt like somebody emerged and then went with them as the starter. But that evaluation continued into the season. You never know how things are going to go, but in an ideal world, you would like to have somebody emerge after the first week or two… They (Kyle McCord and Devin Brown), know the system, but now they have to go play. When do you really know (who is going to be better is) when you start playing games.”"
There is a scenario where after four weeks of fall camp heading into week one preparation for Indiana, Day still doesn’t have a clear idea of who has emerged as the starting quarterback. Although I find that scenario unlikely, it is a scenario that he admits does indeed exist.
Some may argue that that isn’t a bad thing. Let the two guys battle it out over the course of the first three weeks on the field with the first team against lesser competition. This is the approach that Jim Harbaugh took with J.J. McCarty and Cade McNamara at the beginning of last season in Michigan.
The only problem with Day taking the blueprint from Harbaugh and applying it to his quarterback situation is that Harbaugh didn’t have a Notre Dame waiting for him in week four on his schedule like Day and the Ohio State football team do this season.
Outside of Lincoln Riley, there hasn’t been a better developer of the quarterback position in college football over the past decade than Ryan Day. He has earned our trust and loyalty when it comes to making a starting quarterback decision. The past three quarterbacks Day has chosen and developed as starters since arriving on campus have all been NFL first-round draft selections beginning with Haskins in 2019.
I understand the anxiety that Buckeye Nation is feeling about this decision. There isn’t a more important one that Day will make all year than this one. But you can rest assured that there isn’t a better evaluator of the position than Day. He knows what he is looking for, and when he sees it, he will put the right player under center.
"“The message to that room is that we need to be the best quarterback room in the country. And whoever is playing on the field, the other three guys need to support him and they need to keep pushing each other to be the best room. Right now, that’s the focus.”"