Ohio State's Quarterback Battle Started With A Simple Coin Flip, But Will Be Decided By Much More

By Tim Shoemaker on August 11, 2015 at 8:35 am
J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will battle for Ohio State's starting quarterback job.

In case you hadn’t heard, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck have quite the dilemma on their hands. Who are they going to start: J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones?

Two well-accomplished quarterbacks. One broke nearly every Big Ten single-season record held by a signal caller, while the other led the Buckeyes to a national championship when the first one went down with a season-ending injury in the regular-season finale.

Where do you even begin in figuring out who is going to be the starter for the 2015 season?

Well, Meyer, Warinner and Beck certainly didn’t overthink that part. Actually, they decided how they would start this unprecedented quarterback battle in the simplest of ways.

They flipped a coin.

In the Ohio State quarterback meeting room, Beck — the first-year quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator who took over for Tom Herman — flipped a coin to determine who would take the first snaps with the first-team offense when the Buckeyes opened up fall camp Monday afternoon.

Heads or tails. That sounds simple enough.

“Flip a coin to see who gets first-team reps,” Barrett said. “[Jones] won the flip.”

“We won’t announce anything until the first guy takes the field against Virginia Tech. That won’t happen.”– Urban Meyer

The call from Jones was heads and, as a result, the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder with a cannon for a right arm was first to work with the first team as the Buckeyes opened up training camp. Barrett got some first-team reps, as well, and both will see plenty of action with the starters as camp rolls on and the staff tries to determine the best option.

Nobody outside of the program will know who that is, though. Not before Sept. 7, anyway.

“We won’t announce anything until the first guy takes the field against Virginia Tech,” Meyer said. “That won’t happen.”

Keeping it quiet makes sense. It makes the Hokies’ preparation much more difficult if they have to prepare for each skill set as opposed to just one guy.

But this can’t be a rushed decision, either. The Buckeyes’ coaching staff may need the duration of camp to figure this thing out.

“I think more or less it’s giving the guys the opportunity to really compete,” Beck said. “We’re going to need every day and there’s probably going to be a time during the course of the season we’re going to need both of them. To settle on one and say, ‘Here’s the keys,’ and the other guy sits back and becomes the second-team guy, I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do.”

Perhaps what makes this epic quarterback battle even more intriguing is the fact Barrett and Jones are such good friends. They have an unbelievable bond for two guys who are going head-to-head.

“We're just being ourselves,” Jones said. “It's all fun and games when we're not on the field, but when we get on the field it's strictly business.”

Added Barrett: “Do I want Cardale to have success? Yes. With that, I just want my best play to be better than his best play. I still want him to perform at his best, but the fact is I still want to be the quarterback and be out there. I don’t want to downplay that, but I don’t want him to not succeed.”

Meyer and Co. have a monumental decision to make when it’s all said and done. Choosing who is going to be starting at the most important position in football on a team that is flooded with talent is quite the daunting task.

A coin flip started the whole thing. Now, the only use for a coin flip may be for someone to use one as their best guess as to who is going to win this quarterback competition.

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