Throughout the Ohio State football season, we will be asking and answering questions about the team, college football, and anything else on our collective minds of varying degrees of importance. If you have a question that you would like to ask, you can tweet us @LandGrant33 or if you need more than 280 characters, send an email HERE.
Fall camp is officially over as Ohio State students have moved into their dorms and apartments and classes have begun. However, the Buckeye football team has not yet wrapped up all of its preseason business as there are a number of position battles that have spilled over into game week practices.
So today, we are asking you, Buckeye Nation, for your thoughts on some of the biggest position battles still open on the team. Take a look at the questions and then vote in the survey below and — if you are so compelled — share additional thoughts in the comments below.
Question 1: Which Ohio State position battle are you most concerned about?
For obvious reasons, the quarterback battle is the one that has gotten the most attention throughout the preseason, but it is far from the only one of note. The discussion about whether OSU should start Kyle McCord or Devin Brown, or if they should both play through the first three games of the season and let the results on the field dictate the full-time starter. We’ve got another question about the quarterback competition below, but it is obviously the major storyline heading into the season.
Coming into camp, I wrote about how concerned I was about the offensive line. It had only two returning starters (Donovan Jackson and Matt Jones), a guy who had played a little (Josh Fryar), and a bunch of unproven youngsters (everybody else). When you are breaking in a new starting QB, that is not the configuration up front that you hope to have.
However, it seems like Ryan Day, Brian Hartline, and Justin Frye have settled on their starting five and feel good about San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons at left tackle, Jackson at left guard, Carson Hinzmann at center, Jones at right guard, and Fryar at right tackle. And while I appreciate their positivity around the unit, I’m still gonna be holding my breath until I see it in action for the season opener. There is no doubt that Tom Allen’s Indiana defense will be throwing as many different exotic blitzes as possible at the unproven line; if they can hold up, I will breathe a sigh of relief. If not, we could be in for a long season.
Then over on defense, we have all heard about Jim Knowles’ safety-driven defense, so after the disappointing performance from the unit late in the 2022 season, I had some questions about what the Buckeyes would be running out there this fall. And with all due respect, I was a bit worried by all of the talk we had heard about Josh Proctor and Cam Martinez coming out of spring. While I think those two guys are solid rotational pieces, I don’t believe that I would feel comfortable with them being starting safeties on a squad looking to buck the trend of sub-standard performances against the best teams on your schedule.
However, with Sonny Styles being confirmed as a starter (and likely never leaving the field), I feel a bit better about the skill and athleticism of the unit, especially if returning starter Lathan Ransom can improve upon his mostly brilliant (until the end of the season) 2022. That leaves Syracuse transfer Ja’Had Carter to battle it out with Proctor and sophomore Malik Hartford for the third starting spot. Carter seems to be a blend of the other two with the experience of Proctor and much of the athleticism of Hartford. But, Proctor’s been in the system longer than Carter, and Hartford is a better athlete than both, so it just depends on what Knowles wants for the third spot.
Question 2: How do you feel about the quarterback battle at Ohio State?
Later this week, I will have an article about the quarterback competition, but I am going to preview it here. I don’t care who is named the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. Of course I care about the OSU QB, but I don’t actually have any feelings about who it should be. Both McCord and Brown clearly have skills given their impressive recruiting accolades, and they aren’t the exact same player by any means, but they’re close enough that I trust Day, Hartline, and Corey Dennis to figure out who the right man for the job is.
I just don’t have a lot of vested interest in either guy, perhaps partially because Day seems to be allergic to letting his backup quarterbacks do anything other than hand off in the final seven minutes of blowouts.
Now, I do realize that there are people who feel strongly about each guy, or even the idea of each guy (“With a suspect offensive line, play the better athlete,” “When in doubt, go with the steady veteran,” etc.), so if you’ve got a take vote in the survey and let us know in the comments below.