“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” ~ Doug Larson
No offense to the late Mr. Larson, but as someone who sat through the 2005 Ohio State spring game, when it was raining/snowing/sleeting, I can assure you that whistling was the furthest thing from my mind. Cursing certainly, but not whistling.
As Ohio State spring football has officially started, I have decided to write a series of articles on a weekly basis to identify and rank the position groups, from least to most concerning, as they pertain to the upcoming 2023 season. Each week, I will point out questions I have about these position groups, and it is my hope that several, if not all, of these questions will be answered by the Ohio State Spring Game on April 15.
Quarterbacks | Concern Ranking: 4th
- Scholarship Players Lost From The 2022 Squad: C.J. Stroud
- Scholarship Players Returning From The 2022 Squad: Devin Brown, Kyle McCord
- Freshmen Players Participating In 2023 Spring Football: None
Reason for my ranking: Any time a team loses a quarterback with substantial starting experience, it is a concern. Losing a quarterback the caliber of C.J. Stroud, who could be the top selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, simply elevates that level of concern. Fortunately for Ohio State fans, head coach Ryan Day’s track record of quarterback development, and the recruiting pedigrees of Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, should help to alleviate the caution level.
- How much will a quarterback’s mobility factor into the decision?
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and Ohio State quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis will be heavily scrutinizing every throw Kyle McCord and Devin Brown make in practices and scrimmages, but an unknown and important variable may also be part of the decision process — mobility. In The 2022 Peach Bowl, C.J. Stroud demonstrated his ability to pick up valuable yardage with his legs when opportunities presented themselves versus Georgia, and it poses the question if coach Day will encourage his quarterback to become more of a dual-threat option at the position.
Please keep in mind that I do not believe that the days of the quarterback run that we saw during the Braxton Miller/J.T. Barrett eras (2012-2017) are going to come back to Columbus. I simply am speculating that both Kyle McCord and Devin Brown will be encouraged to gain positive yardage when or if the play breaks down, instead of staying in the pocket like C.J. Stroud did these past two seasons, much to the consternation of many Ohio State fans, such as myself.
Just ask the lovely Mrs. Minnich the next time you see her how many times I yelled “Run!!!” at our television screen when Stroud would be seemingly waiting for forever in the pocket.
2. Will the quarterbacks have enough ‘game-like’ situations this spring?
When meeting with the media on March 20 after the third spring practice, coach Day said the following about what he wants from McCord and Brown...
Now, that quote certainly makes sense. The question I have is will Ohio State be able to manufacture enough of a game-like atmosphere for McCord and Brown? Considering how quarterbacks are not hit in practice to avoid injury, and the Ohio State spring game is even more of an emphasis to avoid injury, will Day and Dennis see enough to feel comfortable with either of these quarterbacks? And that leads me to...
3. Will Ohio State name a starter by the conclusion of the spring?
At the onset of spring practice, coach Day said that he would like to name a starter by the end of spring practice. While that sentiment may make for a good sound clip, does anyone truly expect a starter to be named? My skepticism is rooted firmly in the knowledge that with the transfer portal options in today’s college football, once Coach Day names a starter, the likelihood that the loser of the quarterback battle will put his name into the portal.
Yes, if it is clearly evident that one player has truly established himself as the best option as the starting quarterback, then by all means, name the starter. But if it is remotely close, why cause potential disruption at the end of spring? Let the battle continue into the summer and fall camp, and announce a starter in mid-August before the first game.