Where the Ohio State QB battle stands with a week left in spring practice

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day hoped a quarterback would separate himself during spring practice.

With one week to go, that does not appear to have happened.

“We’re not there yet, but today was a step in the right direction,” he said Friday. “I like the way they competed today. They took the classroom to the fields, and again, if they’re gonna allow us to coach them hard like that, they’re gonna get better faster. We’ll see, but we’re not there yet.”

Kyle McCord, a junior-to-be from New Jersey who was a five-star prospect coming out of St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, was C.J. Stroud’s backup last season, but he has to beat out Devin Brown, a redshirt freshman from Arizona who finished his career at Corner Canyon High School in Utah.

Day has already had to pick a starting quarterback twice since he became head coach of the Buckeyes in 2019, but those situations are unique from this one.

Justin Fields was the prohibitive favorite after transferring from Georgia in 2019, but Day still wanted to see him put in the work to earn the job before naming him the starter.

Fields had some game experience, but not much — and it was in a different offense at a different school.

Two years ago, Day had three players vying to replace Fields — Stroud, McCord and Jack Miller III — but none had thrown a college pass so the coach was flying blind to a certain extent.

Now McCord has been around for two years, and he has even started one game when Stroud needed to rest a sore shoulder early in 2021.

For his part, Brown is more experienced than anyone in the last quarterback competition, too, especially considering he had a full normal year of college while Stroud and Miller joined the program in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether that has actually shown on the practice field this spring, Day couldn’t say.

“There’s times where I see things that they’re doing it their progression that I haven’t seen other guys do, and there’s other times where I feel like maybe they’re a little bit behind,” the coach said. “So I think there’s some things in there that they’re on track for and other things they need to continue to improve on.

“But it’s probably hard for me to answer that right now.”

Ohio State is set to practice three times this week before concluding spring ball with the spring game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

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