When Ohio State opens spring practices later this semester the biggest question the national championship Buckeyes will be faced with will be what happens at the quarterback position. Unlike the quarterback questions any number of other programs will be forced to attempt to answer, Ohio State appears to have nothing but right answers to choose from. For new quarterback coach Tim Beck, it happens to be a most fortunate position to step into.
Beck has one two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and two-time Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award winner coming off shoulder rehab with Braxton Miller, supposing Miller does in fact stay in Columbus for his final season of eligibility. Beck has 2014’s top rising star in the Big Ten and beyond with J.T. Barrett, who led Ohio State’s charge to a Big Ten title and more before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the final game of the regular season against Michigan. Finally, Beck has Cardale Jones, the third-string quarterback who proved more than capable of handling the offense as he helped lead the Buckeyes to a rout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and showed some poise under center in defeating SEC champion Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
So, who gets the call under center in 2015? Nobody knows for sure, but Beck is enthusiastic about the competitive nature the three will bring to the practice field.
“They compete hard because they want to win, and they want to play. But they also help each other,” Beck said recently, as quoted by The Columbus Dispatch. “So I think it will be interesting. I’m excited to get a chance to get to know the guys and look forward to seeing really what develops. But I don’t know. It’s kind of a good problem to probably have right now, isn’t it?”
Yes, it sure is.
The unknown variable in the equation continues to be the number of options Beck will have to choose from closer to the start of the regular season. Although every public indication is all three options will be in Columbus when the season begins, there is still some skepticism in the air. Miller will be available to transfer to any FBS program without having to sit out a season with a degree in hand. Barrett is the most likely option to stay put no matter what happens, but if Miller and Barrett stay in Columbus than the thought that Jones might pursue a transfer will continue to linger.
“It’s going to be an interesting battle,” Beck added. “I think competition is a good thing. They’re going to have to work hard and really be focused. I think eventually the cream will rise to the top and the right guy out there will be the guy.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said the talk about Jones leaving early for the NFL was a media creation (and it absolutely was), and he also continues to look forward to having all three quarterbacks back in the fall. Why wouldn’t he?