Ohio State is close to naming its starting quarterback.
With the season starting on September 2nd, the Buckeyes are only a few short weeks away from taking their first snaps. They haven’t named a starter yet, still deciding between C.J. Stroud, Kyle McCord, Jack Miller, and Quinn Ewers.
Since Ewers is only just arriving on campus and practicing for the first time on Monday, he probably won’t be a factor.
Miller is the lowest-rated quarterback in that group according to 247Sports Composite rankings. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s on the fringes, but it does show he doesn’t have the pure talent the others have. Not to mention, he was the shakiest of all the quarterbacks in Ohio State’s spring game, which won’t help his case.
That leaves us with Stroud and McCord.
In a press conference on Monday, Ryan Day said that Stroud was starting to “separate from the pack.” However, he did not commit to a starting quarterback and said that they were going to spread those reps around in practice.
The season starts two weeks from Thursday, so fans are wondering when Ohio State will name the starting quarterback. Is it wise to keep the competition open, or does Day need to name a starter soon?
When Should Ohio State Name the Starting Quarterback?
Is the Ohio State Starting Quarterback Competition Still Open?
The only reason not to name a starter is if the competition is still open.
Day said that Stroud stood out from the pack, but there wasn’t one single thing that he did. According to Day, Stroud has put together “a body of work over time.”
Is there anything that McCord can do in the next two weeks to surpass Stroud? If Stroud has put together 37 solid practices (26 in the Spring and 11 in the fall), then can McCord do anything over the next dozen or so practices that remain?
Or is this just a gamesmanship move? Is Day hoping to confuse P.J. Fleck and Minnesota by having a surprise starting quarterback on September 2nd? If that was the case, then why did he say that Stroud was separating himself? Unless Day just flat-out lied, which won’t be a popular move if McCord is the surprise starter.
It’s hard to imagine that the Ohio State starting quarterback competition is still realistically open.
What’s the harm?
But what’s the harm in abstaining from naming a starter?
The last time Ohio State had a wide-open quarterback competition was the 2015 season.
J.T. Barrett was returning from season-ending knee surgery, but Cardale Jones returned from winning a National Championship. There was a legitimate debate on who to start: would they pick the player who won the job last year or the player that won a National Championship?
Joshua Perry was a linebacker on that team, and he recalled his time during the quarterback competition on the broadcast of the Spring Game.
“There’s an ideal time to declare a starting quarterback,” Perry said, “And that’s no longer than a week or two into fall camp. By that point, you want your starting quarterback to get all the reps with the number ones. I’ve seen that battle go way further than that.”
Perry said they didn’t know who their starting quarterback was going to be until Jones took the first snap in the season opener at Virginia Tech.
“[Urban] Meyer could not make a decision,” said Perry, “and–I kid you not–we were on the field at Blacksburg, Virginia getting ready to play Virginia Tech…and as the offense was getting ready to take the field, we still did not know who the starter was going to be. That’s how long that battle was strung out.”
He admitted that the Buckeyes’ offense struggled in 2015. They had trouble finding plays open deep down the field and they couldn’t score from the red zone. Things finally changed when Meyer reinstated Barrett as the starter, who was a better scheme fit in the offense.
Of course, Perry made these comments in the Spring, hoping the Buckeyes would name a starter at the beginning of Fall Camp. Now, the Buckeyes are approaching the halfway point and still no starter has been named.
When Should Day Name the Starting Quarterback?
Ideally, Monday’s press conference would have been a good time. Day seems to think of Stroud as the frontrunner. That’s not likely to change.
The sooner Ohio State can name a starting quarterback, the better. Whoever it is, he’ll want to get all the reps he can leading up to the opener.
Since the offensive line is still coming together, and the Buckeyes plan to insert first-year starters or change positions for returning starters, they will want to get as much practice as possible with their starting quarterback. Harry Miller, who filled in at center against Michigan State last year is the presumed starting center this year, struggled with snaps in his one game at the position. Getting familiar with the cadence of the new starter will be something he will want to do before the season starts.
So the sooner that Day feels comfortable naming the Ohio State starting quarterback, the better it will be for everyone.