COLUMBUS — Spring football is right around the corner. That means it is time to break down each position group to prepare to see what kind of work must be done for Ohio State to be ready to pursue its goals again this fall.
First up is quarterback, the position that figures to dominate the conversation even more than usual this spring and into the summer.
After a year of certainty, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has a bona fide competition on his hands.
Returning starter: None
Next up: Kyle McCord or Devin Brown
Also in the mix: Tristan Gebbia
On the way: Lincoln Kienholz
A junior from Philadelphia St. Joseph’s, McCord would seem to have the inside track to starting in the wake of C.J. Stroud’s departure for the NFL.
The 6-foot-3, 222-pounder was a five-star prospect in the class of 2021 and backed up Stroud the last two seasons.
He only threw 20 passes last season, but he completed 16 and has been learning the offense for two years.
He also has a start to his name after getting the call against Akron two years ago when Stroud had an ailing shoulder.
The 6-3, 210-pound Brown won’t go down without a fight, though.
He was a late-rising four-star prospect a year ago and has generated a lot of positive buzz since arriving in Columbus from Corner Canyon High School in Utah.
While McCord is viewed as a pure drop-back passer much like Stroud, Brown could be more of a threat with his legs.
“Devin definitely has a skill set,” quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis said. “He’s athletic. He’s mobile. He can extend plays a little bit. I’m not saying that Kyle can’t do those things, but I would say that that’s something that is kind of his niche.
“I wouldn’t say that they’re night and day different, but they are they are different. But that’s kind of what it is with all quarterbacks. They all have different traits that one guy leans on, one guy may not lean on. One guy has a strength, and at the end of the day, you try to maximize all your weaknesses to get them to become strengths.”
The ideal scenario for Ohio State likely would be McCord winning the job while the younger Brown becomes his understudy, lest the veteran be tempted to transfer after spring ball if he isn’t the choice, but all indications are this is a competition either can win.
Dennis acknowledged the challenge this spring of trying to differentiate between the players while also developing them.
“Those guys lean on each other in between plays,” Dennis said.”They talk about things or ask, ‘Hey, what did you see? This is what I saw.’ They watch film together every day. So I think that that’s one piece that you’ve realized that you have to bring them together.
“Everybody’s different, right? ... What one guy might need to work on, the other guy might not need to work on it. ... You obviously have to find your quarterback, but you’re still trying to grow the room and elevate the room every day.”
Gebbia is a senior graduate transfer from Oregon State who is not expected to be a candidate to start but can provide some leadership and wisdom from his experience in Corvallis. He has an eye on getting a jumpstart on a coaching career.
Kienholz is a four-star prospect from South Dakota will join the team this summer.
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