As the Man Who Led Ohio State to a National Title, Cardale Jones Now Focused on Managing the Game to Win Starting Job

By Eric Seger on August 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm

If you know Cardale Jones, you know he loves Twitter.

Asked in Sandusky, Ohio, at a charity event to benefit the Ginn Foundation in July about his recent boost in popularity, Jones chuckled and smiled widely as he spoke about how many more followers he's gained since January.

He tweets at MMA star Ronda Rousey frequently (even showing up to camp in a T-shirt with her photo and name on it), in addition to television star Kylie Jenner and other celebrities. He interacts with fans and often documents his frequent visits to Chipotle.

But when Ohio State opened fall camp Monday, Jones had already been on a Twitter hiatus.

Why? Because that's how badly he loves football and wants to win the starting quarterback job at Ohio State.

"This is what I live for right here, football," Jones said Monday evening. "I'm happy to be through with school for the summer, got a couple weeks off of that but this is what I want to do all day, every day, 24/7: Football. So social media and everything else can wait, too."

Even Rousey?

"Yeah," Jones said with a wry smile. "Yeah, that sucks."

The pool of reporters around Jones laughed with the man who represents 50 percent of Ohio State's quarterback battle, the other half being J.T. Barrett. Jones earned the first reps Monday thanks to winning a coin flip against Barrett, but the number of snaps each got were the same.

"This one? I think it's going to be 50/50 so I think it's going to be a work in progress," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "Our objective is, first dozen practices, 50/50 right down the middle. Have we ever done that before? I can't think we have."

"My aim is not to prove or impress anyone else outside of this facility. My aim is to prove myself to my teammates. For those who say I don't know the offense and just overthrow the coverages, probably don't know football."– Cardale Jones

Jones and Barrett are two best friends set to duke it out to be the guy who trots out on the field in Blacksburg, Va., Sept. 7 for the season opener against Virginia Tech. The former has a cannon for the right arm, while the latter blossomed into a Heisman Trophy candidate with stellar game management and a distinct ability to lead the offense.

That's the thing Jones says he's focusing on most in camp.

"I'm pretty sure it's going to come down to who can manage the game better, who can manage the offense better, keep us in third and manageable on third downs," Jones said. "Who has the intangibles and who can show more consistency."

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder did well enough on third downs in the postseason last year to lead the Buckeyes to the promised land, but Barrett is by no means a slouch in that area himself. There's a reason he accounted for 45 total touchdowns in 2014.

Jones, though, isn't focused on that. He's only focused on what he can control, which is improving each and every day.

"My aim is not to prove or impress anyone else outside of this facility. My aim is to prove myself to my teammates," Jones said. "For those who say I don't know the offense and just overthrow the coverages, probably don't know football."

His teammates and coaches support that, which is what makes the decision so hard.

"We're going to need every day," quarterbacks coach Tim Beck said when it comes to naming a starter. "We're going to need every day to go out there and there's probably going to be a time throughout the course of the season where we're going to need both of them."

That remains to be seen. For Jones, however, right now it's zero social media and all football.

"There's always room for improvement, but my focus right now is definitely winning the job, being the No. 1 quarterback Week 1," Jones said.

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