Ohio State’s starting quarterback competition officially started Tuesday, and all of the Buckeyes’ top three quarterbacks met with the media to talk about it afterward.
Kyle McCord says he’s had a “natural transition” into a leadership role as he looks to lock down the starting job this spring, while Devin Brown talked about his own aspiration to win the starting job and why he is now wearing No. 33. Third-string quarterback Tristan Gebbia also met with reporters for the first time as a Buckeye to talk about why he transferred to Ohio State, the role he could play as a mentor in the quarterback room and how Ohio State compares to Oregon State.
We’ve rounded up their most notable comments for you below, while you can also watch the video from all three of their interview sessions to hear everything they had to say.
- McCord says it was a “natural transition” into a leadership role for him this offseason. Without C.J. Stroud on the team, “naturally opportunities to step up and lead and speak, things like that came.” McCord says there was “never any hesitation” to ask for Stroud’s advice over the past two years.
- McCord describes himself as a “competitor” and “playmaker” first and foremost, and thinks his tape will speak for itself as he competes for the starting job.
- McCord has been studying the pocket composure of Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert over the offseason.
- McCord calls Stroud’s performance against Georgia a “clinic tape” and has watched the game “five to 10 times” to study all the great plays Stroud made in the CFP.
- “In order to play at this level, you have to be a good athlete.” McCord says he’s been working hard on his athleticism to be able to extend plays outside the pocket and become more mobile.
- On the narrative that Brown is the more mobile quarterback of the two, McCord says he learned from Stroud to let outside noise roll off his back. “They can say whatever. It is what it is.” McCord says the spotlight on him “comes with the territory” and that “you just have to take everything with a grain of salt.”
- “The chemistry is definitely still there” between McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr., who played together in high school. McCord says he knows “all his moves” and described Harrison as his best friend.
- McCord says he and Devin Brown are “really close” and that both Buckeyes “know what it is” when it comes to the quarterback competition and their goals. McCord says the pair have been “pushing each other” and that it’s a “very beneficial relationship on both sides.”
- Brown said the reason he changed from No. 15 to No. 33 is to honor Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh, a player he believes is a legend in the sport. “That’s the original quarterback number, in my opinion. I want to rock the original quarterback number.”
- Brown said he’s added velocity to his throws this offseason thanks to the work he put in with Coach Day, Coach Fitch and Coach Dennis. I changed some things mechanically this offseason. … Things with my feet, getting the ball up and having a quick release. I think those things have really helped me add arm strength.”
- Brown called himself an athletic quarterback. “I’m not Justin Fields, but I think I am an in-between of Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud in terms of my play.” Brown believes that is the case because of how he uses his athleticism to extend plays and make throws. “I believe that with my whole heart.”
- Brown said he wants to compete with McCord but still maintain a healthy relationship as teammates at Ohio State. “We both know what the situation is. There are no hard feelings between us. We’ve been good about it. We’re not trying to separate each other.” Brown added that he and McCord often work together outside of practices with receivers as they try to get the most reps possible.
- Brown said he weighs around 215 pounds after coming to Ohio State at around 205. He spent most of last season working to get stronger and faster, but now that Brown has found what he calls a “good weight,” he plans to “really dive into the offense and dive into what defenses do until it becomes second nature.”
- Brown said “it takes a huge load off” of the quarterbacks to know they can throw to Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and several other talented receivers in practice. He feels like those receivers make him a better player and allow him to feel more comfortable as he drops back to pass the football.
- Brown said he has no plans to explore other options if he loses the quarterback competition to McCord: “I’m a Buckeye through and through. Obviously, I want to win the starting job, so I want to keep doing everything I can to do that.”
- Gebbia said his first couple of months at Ohio State have been “great so far. I really love my experience so far with all the players.”
- Gebbia has known Devin Brown since Brown attended a camp where Gebbia was a counselor back when Brown was in middle school. “I love Devin … it’s just amazing to see how much he’s grown.”
- One of the biggest differences Gebbia has noticed so far from his former school is that Ohio State plays at a faster tempo than Oregon State, which means running more plays in practice. He says the culture at both schools is similar because both schools recruit high-character players. “If you took any guys from Oregon State and you planted them in this locker room, I think that they would get along really well.”
- Gebbia said he thought about moving on from playing after last season but got the itch to use his seventh year of eligibility after throwing with his younger brother Dylan, who plays at Hawaii. “There's something in you that you’re not ready to hang it up. And I felt like I wasn't ready.”
- Gebbia said it helped him when he made his first start in 2019 to have an experienced quarterback at Oregon State, Jake Luton, who he could consult with when he came back to the sideline. He thinks he can take on a similar mentorship role for Ohio State’s starting quarterback this year.