Ryan Day Doesn’t Want Ohio State’s Quarterback Competition to Continue Into the Season Again, “But It's Going to Come Down to Playing the Best Players”

By Dan Hope on May 15, 2024 at 2:44 pm
Devin Brown, Will Howard and Ryan Day

Ohio State’s quarterback competition will continue into preseason camp with five scholarship quarterbacks still on the roster, but Ryan Day hopes to have a starting quarterback chosen before the season begins.

During an appearance on 97.1 The Fan’s Bishop and Friends on Wednesday morning, Day said he would like to avoid a repeat of last year, when the competition between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown continued through the first two games of the season before McCord was named the starting quarterback. While Ohio State could theoretically have time to work through the quarterback competition in its first few games again, as the Buckeyes begin the season with three non-conference games against Akron, Western Michigan and Marshall, Day would prefer to name a starting quarterback before the season begins.

“I think the way things turned out last year, it kind of went into the first couple games of the season, that's not ideal,” Day said. “I wouldn't like to do that again this year. But it's going to come down to playing the best players.”

During Wednesday's interview, Day did not specifically address where Ohio State’s quarterbacks currently stand on the depth chart. Coming out of spring, Kansas State transfer Will Howard appeared to be the frontrunner for the job with Brown as his top competition, though redshirt freshman Lincoln Kienholz and true freshman Julian Sayin took just as many reps during the spring with true freshman Air Noland also seeing some action.

While Ohio State rotated the quarterbacks between units throughout the spring, Day acknowledged Wednesday that the Buckeyes will have to be more intentional about how they divvy up reps during preseason camp.

“There's been conversations about it for sure, and we're going to have to be creative,” Day said. “We've done some things. We had in the preseason (last year), had two fields going to make sure we're getting enough reps for everybody involved. But like you said, we're going to have to be really good and execute a good plan.”

Regardless of how the depth chart ultimately shakes out, Ohio State will have the advantage of excellent quarterback depth this season as none of the five scholarship quarterbacks who went through spring practices entered the transfer portal. Day believes that speaks to their desire to compete and get better.

“I say this all the time to some of the elite players, I say one of the recruiting pitches you're going to hear from other schools is ‘Don't go to Ohio State, they're loaded.’ Well, Marvin Harrison, it didn't matter to him that there was four five-stars in that room, or the fact that TreVeyon (Henderson) embraced when Quinshon came in and Quinshon came in knowing TreVeyon was going to be here,” Day said. “It's the same thing in that quarterback room. If you want to come to Ohio State, you're going to want to compete. That's the way we do it in the offseason, that's the way we do it on the field, we want to compete at the highest level.

“The cool thing is if you make it here, you’ll make it anywhere. But I think what's most important about the quarterbacks room is they have to feel like they're getting better, that they're getting developed, because that's just as important as anything as a quarterback. You can go to a lot of places, maybe you can play, but are you really getting developed? I think these guys believe in that.”

Because all of those quarterbacks are still competing, Day doesn’t have a set deadline of exactly when he’d like to have a starter named.

“I don't like to do that, because this is something where a lot of those guys are working towards it, and I want to make sure that we're doing what's right by them, but at the same time, do right by the team to make sure that we're prepared,” Day said.

In the end, though, Day says Ohio State needs to ensure it gets the best quarterback on the field because of how important quarterback play will be to the team’s championship aspirations.

“It's going to be a huge part of our season, the quarterback play and how well the quarterback plays. We know that. We know how important the offensive line play is going to be. We know how important the quarterback play is going to be. We're not shying away from that,” Day said. “The defense is going to be strong and how well they play late in the season is going to be critical, but it always comes down to the quarterback. So that's a big part of it.

“It's going to come down to playing the best players. And I say that all the time: We don't have time to not play the best players. So they'll be in competitive situations, and may the best man win.”

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