With March comes several things – including Spring Break, Daylight Saving Time and Spring Exercise.
Ohio State began its first of 15 spring practice sessions Tuesday leading up to the April 15 spring game, and the Buckeyes quarterback contest is in full swing. Sophomore Kyle McCord and freshman Devin Brown led the position group through drills — like handoffs and throws to running backs and receivers, all part of what head coach Ryan Day said to lay “the foundation” for a basic quarterback game .
Day said he hopes “some foresight” regarding Ohio State’s next starting quarterback between Brown and McCord by the end of spring training. The fifth-year Ohio State head coach, who is entering the Buckeyes’ third contest for the starting signal caller position in his tenure, said he heard the vocal direction and guidance he looks for in a quarterback.
“Being that leader is critical,” Day said. “I have a feeling we’re going to have a great supporting cast, so the quarterback doesn’t have to be a superman. He just has to do his job, routinely play routine games, and then it’ll build on that.”
After the first day of practice work at spring training, McCord, who has 12 games under his belt including one start and 606 passing yards, said Tuesday was “a really good day” and a “step in the right direction” toward Ohio State shifting Focus on a new season and new circumstances.
McCord said he studied NFL quarterbacks — like Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes — and took attributes and notes from coaches he dated. He’s done a similar job behind former quarterback CJ Stroud, who signed up for the NFL draft in January, by watching the previous starter navigate life as Ohio State’s signal caller.
McCord has been in quarterback competition before, doing so alongside Stroud ahead of the 2021 season, where the latter ultimately earned the spot. But it’s something McCord draws from this time.
“I think now that I came in, the first one, you have no experience,” McCord said. “Now when you go into your third year, which is crazy, you have a lot more experience, a lot more repetition, whether it’s in practice or a game, and you kind of understand what the coaches are looking for. So I think that experience alone speaks volumes.”
Although McCord has a season more experience than Brown, both have already achieved quality repeats under the brightest lights on the highest stages.
When Stroud traveled to New York City for his second Heisman Trophy ceremony as a finalist in as many seasons, Brown and McCord had to lead the Buckeyes into Peach Bowl practice ahead of the College Football Playoff match against eventual champion Georgia.
Brown said he and McCord “got a lot of reps with the A’s” during the week of the Heisman ceremony, which is something that, like McCord, he looks back on and applies knowledge from that experience to today.
“It was huge,” Brown said. “Just me and Kyle got tons of reps and were able to express myself as a leader even as a young man. The guys kind of came around me and it was good to be able to express myself.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has also seen many Browns and McCords in practice.
Brown and McCord threw passes and fought off the Buckeyes’ defense. They’ve shown off their athleticism in front of Knowles, who said he’s looking forward to watching this spring during the quarterback fight between two passers who “are both very talented.”
“Devin can run around. Kyle manages the game really well,” Knowles said. “They both have their strengths and I know this is going to be a big spring for them in terms of reading defenses.”
Amid the ongoing quarterback fight, Brown and McCord both said they wouldn’t let it go between their connection as teammates and their friendship.
Brown said competing with someone he spent a year as a backup quarterback “really boosts my confidence and drive” in practice this spring, and McCord said, “It’s a very beneficial relationship on both of them.” Pages” and feels like they’ve improved each other over time.
“Me and Devin are very close. We’re really close. And I think we both know what it is. But I think that’s the beauty of it,” McCord said. “But at the end of the day it’s just a really good competition and I think it brings out the best in me too.”