Ryan Day: No Frontrunner in Ohio State Quarterback Competition Yet As Staff Begins to Analyze Statistics of Justin Fields, Matthew Baldwin

By Colin Hass-Hill on April 3, 2019 at 7:45 am
Matthew Baldwin watches a play alongside members of Ohio State's coaching staff during spring practice.

If Ryan Day is close to naming Ohio State's starting quarterback, he's publicly remaining mum.

When asked on Monday if there was any separation in the competition between Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin, Day said no. He wasn't even committal whether he plans to name a starter or, at least, a leader at quarterback by the end of spring practice in less than two weeks.

"In terms of who's ahead of who, I don't know, we'll see," Day said. "We'll see how it shakes out."

Day has kept the majority of conversations about the starting quarterback job private after declaring there would be a "battle" between Fields and Baldwin to win the job.

Fields, a transfer from Georgia, entered the spring as the likely starter and has taken the vast majority of first-team reps during practices that the media has been allowed to watch. He has displayed his natural running ability and gifted arm during practices, though he is still learning the playbook and how to succeed under Day and Mike Yurcich.

Baldwin, Day said last week, has also taken snaps with the starters. He has fully recovered from a torn ACL suffered in December 2017 before enrolling at Ohio State and now has more than a year of experience learning Day's offense.

"We're going to start looking at the completion percentage and who's moving the ball a little bit here as we get toward the end of the spring," Day said. "Haven't really dug into that. Later today, I actually want to see the numbers and kind of see where we're at with that because we're starting to get to the point where I think there's enough snaps of film, we can start to get an idea of where guys are at."

Ohio State is already two-thirds of the way through spring practice, so Day, Yurcich and the other coaches should have enough tape and statistics to begin coming to conclusions.

During the evaluation process this spring, Day and the coaches saw enough from Fields to remove his black stripe, making him the first scholarship player to shed the stripe from his helmet this spring.

"Made plays. Came out with a good attitude in terms of understanding what it takes to be a quarterback preparation-wise," Day said. "Did a good job early on. He's only been in the offense here for, I guess, eight practices, nine practices. So he's picked it up pretty quickly overall. The fact that he's able to kind of run the offense right now with not a lot of reps under his belt is pretty significant. And then made a few plays with his arm and with his feet."

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