Ryan Day is reason to believe winner of Ohio State’s QB battle will be a star


Share post:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nobody would have blamed Kyle McCord if he wanted to leave Ohio State before last season.

In this new era of college football, where players — particularly quarterbacks — can hop from place to place with impunity looking for new opportunities, you’d almost expect a guy like McCord not to show any patience.

Two years ago, the former five-star quarterback out of Philadelphia was in a heated battle with C.J. Stroud to be the Buckeyes starting quarterback. Stroud, with the benefit of an extra year in the system, won the job. McCord did start one game — a 59-7 win over Akron in late September when Stroud was banged up — but the majority of his first fall in Columbus was spent on the sideline. Stroud ultimately became a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021, so going into last season, there was no doubt who Ohio State’s quarterback was going to be.

McCord could have departed to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. He didn’t have to sit behind Stroud for a second consecutive season.

But he stayed. McCord opted for the longer, more difficult route. Why? Because he believes in Ryan Day.

“His track record obviously speaks for itself,” McCord said Wednesday. “You look at the guys that have stuck around in this program, they all go on to do really good things. Even though it didn’t happen exactly right away for me, I knew it was a marathon and that if I stuck around and trusted the process and kept getting better that I’d put myself in a good position.”

That’s the environment Day has created at Ohio State. His last three starting quarterbacks have been Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and Stroud. All three were first-round NFL Draft picks.

As a result, Day has naturally inspired his quarterbacks to see the easy way out may not be the smartest way. Why start somewhere else when you can suck it up for an extra year and maybe be next in line to achieve all of the great things the previous three quarterbacks experienced?

So as we sit back and watch McCord engage in another quarterback battle — this one with Devin Brown — Day deserves the benefit of the doubt. We shouldn’t be looking at this Ohio State quarterback battle as a sign of weakness at the position. We should be looking at it as two elite-level quarterbacks fighting to earn the right to be the next Haskins. The next Fields. Or the next Stroud. It’s not a stretch to assume the winner of this battle will emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Some analysts have looked at this Ohio State team and circled quarterback as an unknown. An unknown, for many, means a weakness, especially when that unknown is following a player such as Stroud.

But who is really betting against McCord? Who is really betting against Brown?

Brown broke his finger in the spring and wasn’t able to participate in Ohio State’s spring game. So some have just penciled McCord in as the starter as a result of that and his extra year of experience.

Both could have easily bolted if they wanted something easy.

Both want to be great.

And who makes great quarterbacks more often than Day?

“I have a feeling both guys are going to be starter-level,” Day said. “Right away? I don’t know. Halfway through the season? I don’t know. I don’t know how the journey is going to go. But it’s a good problem to have if you have a couple guys that you feel like you could put into a game who can go play.”


The latest on Ohio State’s QB battle: A healthy Devin Brown, a motivated Kyle McCord

It has to be intense for Day as he goes through this battle. His development of quarterbacks has been so elite and so consistent that people aren’t just expecting him to field a solid starter this year. They are expecting him to field another eventual first-round draft pick, one who could potentially get Ohio State over the hump to its first national title since 2014. Say what you want about Day, but there is only one other head coach in the sport with this type of track record with the quarterback position — USC’s Lincoln Riley.

That causes pressure.

“You can say it doesn’t, but it does,” Day said. “The standard is very high here. The guys who have come before have done an unbelievable job. That is the expectation. We should be playing for a national championship, we should be Heisman Trophy finalists and first-round draft picks. That’s been the standard set and we have to keep building on that.

“What jumps out is that it doesn’t happen. Just because you’re the quarterback at Ohio State doesn’t mean all of these things are going to happen. It takes a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of production on the field. We have to go put it on the field. It just isn’t going to happen. I think these guys know that. Any time you’re going to be the quarterback at Ohio State, there’s going to be a lot of pressure.”

I caught up with Day after his news conference in the hallway of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He seemed loose and confident. I shared the premise of my thought process — that it is safe to assume that the next quarterback is going to be great, regardless of experience — and he nodded and smiled.

“That’s nice,” he responded, “but it doesn’t just happen.”

It happens by having hungry players who stay in the program when they had opportunities to leave. It happens with driven quarterbacks who want to be coached. It happens by having former elite-level recruits who feel as though it’s their destiny to be the next great Ohio State quarterback.

Take Brown for example. When he broke his finger, he could have been upset and sulked as though he lost the job. His dad — when informed that Devin was going to miss the spring game — asked the obvious question: Why aren’t you upset?” Brown explained how the setback was actually going to play in his favor.

McCord is another example. He spent the offseason watching film of former Ohio State quarterback greats like J.T. Barrett, Fields and Stroud. He wanted to study what being great looks like.

“I think they’ve all set a good precedent, but they’ve all done it their own way,” McCord said. “So I think just kind of realizing there’s a lot of different ways this can be done. But, like I said, I don’t think anyone’s ever put an expectation on myself that I didn’t expect from myself.”

The expectation is that one of these two players is going to be a first-round NFL Draft pick.

But first, they are going to be great at Ohio State.

Ohio State doesn’t have a quarterback weakness even though we don’t know who the starter is.

Day has earned that trust.

(Photo: Robert Goddin / USA Today)

Source link

Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

Recent posts

Related articles

AJ McCarron is back with the Bengals: Why he makes perfect sense for this unique moment

CINCINNATI — When the conversation turns to memorable Bengals backup quarterbacks during high-profile games in Cincinnati, it...

Steve Cooper urges Nottingham Forest players to believe in themselves after Manchester City defeat

Steve Cooper has urged his Nottingham Forest players to believe in themselves, after what he felt was...

Chez Mellusi injury could be big loss for Wisconsin football despite key win at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Several members of Wisconsin’s football team stood in a tunnel next to the...

Giants get a reprieve from Sean Manaea and 2 rookies in a victory at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — Whenever a starting pitcher has a strong outing, as Giants right-hander Sean Manaea did...

Minnesota Wild unveil new third jersey dubbed ‘The 78’s’ to honor North Stars

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The long-awaited Minnesota Wild alternate jersey was unveiled Saturday morning, and the jersey...

Inside Spain’s fraught return: From boycott threat to sackings – they are no longer alone

There was 40 minutes to go before Spain’s first game since their World Cup victory. Sweden’s players...

NFL experts react to Week 3 storylines: Saints-Packers, Baker Mayfield’s redemption

The 2023 season is still young, but Week 3 feels like a tipping point for some around...

Kevin Harlan Q&A: On his Super Bowl streak, his Buck family bond and the speedy Dolphins

Each week during the football season, we will interview a different broadcaster. The goal is for readers...