Leadership, failure likely to be key in ultimate Ohio State QB decision

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Transfer from Georgia is competing to be Buckeyes' starting quarterback.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Much of the focus during the first week of spring football practice at Ohio State is on the quarterbacks.

Spoiler alert: Much of the focus of the second week of spring football practice will be on the quarterbacks, too.

Third week? Yep, you guessed it.

>>RELATED: 5 observations from the first day of spring practice 

And just to be safe, go ahead and pencil quarterbacks in atop the list of topics for weeks four and five, too.

Lest you’re afraid of quarterback news fatigue, though, be aware it figures to be most intense at the start and the finish.

This week marked the first time reporters at Ohio State got to watch Justin Fields throw in person, and the last week will of course include the spring game. That will be the first time the public at-large gets to see Fields, a former five-star recruit who transferred from Georgia, in action wearing Scarlet and Gray.

>>RELATED: Local product sidelined 

In the mean time, the signal-callers figure to be under plenty of scrutiny, but (to borrow from The Godfather II) that is the life they have chosen.

And it is a long way of answering what is surely the No. 1 question on the minds of most Ohio State fans: The whole passing operation looked smoother on day two than day one at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Regardless, the head coach did not express any concerns about the way things looked early on the first day.

In fact, Ryan Day called the first day encouraging and noted early inconsistencies are not uncommon either at the college level or in the NFL, where he was an assistant for two seasons before coming to Ohio State.

>>READ MORE: Ryan Day’s impressions of day one

Day also said he won’t be rushing to pick a starter between Fields and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin.

“That’s one thing I’ve learned a long time ago is to do all that early on doesn’t help at all,” Day said Wednesday. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen. A guy could step off a curb and sprain his ankle. You just don’t know. So getting to that first game is a long journey.

“We take it as it goes. If one guy wins the job and deserves to, then we’ll do that, If not, we’ll keep letting them compete. That’s not the focus right now. The focus is on installing the offense and letting them compete.”

“Also they have to feel like they’re allowed to fail, because if you fail, you learn. If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re not getting better at a fast enough rate.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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This spring has Justin Fields vying for the No. 1 job with Matthew Baldwin.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Fields, who got his chance to speak to reporters Friday, said he was promised nothing upon deciding to head north after a year as a backup for the Bulldogs.

He is also content to take it slow, learning the offense and his new personnel.

“It’s great being here,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get my timing down with the receivers. We’re just trying to get the chemistry together, and it’s going to get better every day.”

He credited Baldwin with helping him absorb the playbook and said the two have become friends.

>>RELATED: Why Fields chose Ohio State

While Fields is generally regarded as the favorite to be Ohio State’s starter when the Buckeyes open the season against Florida Atlantic, Baldwin is a bona fide prospect in his own right.

Physical talent will play a role in who Day picks, but the head coach and new quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich both said leadership will trump everything else.

“Your No. 1 job is to lead 10 men,” Day said. “Taking care of the ball, having the ability to move the ball down the field and make great decisions. Understanding what strengths and weaknesses are.

“We have to put those guys in a good situation. Having the ability to beat ya enough with your feet and be able to throw the ball on third down, do a good job in the red zone, make the throws that are there on first and second down, but at the end of the day a combination of do you move your team down the field and score and do you show leadership.”

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