Once a casualty of Bo Pelini’s ousting at Nebraska, Tim Beck, his former assistant, could be looking for a job. He could be typing up cover letters. He’s could be sending out resumes.
Instead, the hardest decision facing Beck — who was hired to be Ohio State’s new quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator last month — is a matter of which Heisman Trophy-caliber quarterback to start. The scenario is akin to a wealthy man at the Lamborghini dealership oh so vexed over what color car he should drive back to his compound. Some have called it an embarrassment of riches, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
“It's kind of a good problem to probably have right now, isn't it?” said Beck, who met with the media Wednesday for the first time since joining the Buckeyes last month.
“I think the good part, those guys understand. It's an interesting group. The little bit I've been around them, great young men, hard working,” he said. “There's a tremendous bond among all three of them … They compete hard, because they want to win and they want to play.”
Here are Beck’s options:
- He can play Braxton Miller, a three-year starter and perhaps the nation’s best running quarterback when healthy (Beck also added he expects Miller, the subject of transfer rumors, to return).
- Or he can play J.T. Barrett, who combined for a school-record 45 touchdowns in place of the injured Miller.
- Then there’s Cardale Jones, the former third-stringer who won Big Ten, Sugar Bowl and National Championships in his first three-career starts.
There are also youngsters in soon-to-be redshirt freshman Stephen Colliers and incoming freshmen Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson, who signed their letters of intent to play for the Buckeyes on National Signing Day.
“I think it will be interesting,” Beck said of the quandary. Interesting is for studying the stages of meiosis. This is fascinating.
“I think that one thing is they've got a lot of game experience under their belt,” Beck said.
“Both Braxton, J.T., those guys, they've played a lot of ball games, took a lot of snaps. You could just put the film on and have the opportunity to evaluate those guys a little bit. And even really Cardale has played a fair amount, but there's still growth in all of those guys, there's no question. They'll be the first ones to tell you, if you would ask them.”
A prerequisite to start is also a common thread between the three. “Winning,” Beck said.
“They've got to win. They've got to make the guys around them better … Usually that equates to winning,” he continued.
“If they're making the players around them better, they're doing the right things, getting the ball to the right guys at the right time, getting us the right pressure, we're probably going to be winning.”
Which, of course, is the goal for Ohio State, the defending national champions.