COLUMBUS — Kyle McCord’s path to being named Ohio State’s starting quarterback on Tuesday was a marathon that ended with a sprint.
It took longer than many people expected for the junior back-up quarterback for the last two seasons to earn that title. But in the end it was McCord’s consistently good work in preseason practice the last two weeks that made him the starter over redshirt freshman Devin Brown in the season opener Saturday at Indiana, OSU coach Ryan Day said Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
“The Indiana game, Kyle McCord will be the starter and Devin Brown is going to play in the game. I think Kyle has done a great job in the last two weeks of showing consistency. He has played very well in practice,” Day said. “But Devin throughout the body of the preseason has also showed that he deserves to play.
“I expect both to play. We have confidence in both of them. I think that’s significant that we have two guys we feel confident in playing in a game. This is something that is a little uncharted territory for me but you just go on what you see every day in practice,” he said.
McCord, a former 5-star recruit, has long been regarded as the favorite to follow C.J. Stroud as Ohio State’s starting quarterback. But Brown, a former 4-star recruit, made it a lively competition.
McCord started against Akron in 2021 and passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns while Stroud rested a sore throwing shoulder. He was 16 of 20 passing in seven games last season.
“Devin made a really strong push about 10 days or two weeks ago and then Kyle responded with consistent play,” Day said.
He said, “I don’t have a crystal ball on this. I’m not sure how it’s gonna shake out. What we are doing is fair based off of what we’ve seen this preseason. Now it’s time to put it on the field. It’s a good problem to have when you have multiple guys you feel good about playing in the game.”
Some other thoughts from Day:
• Big play problems: He said the problems Ohio State’s defense had stopping big plays last season was “well documented” and “stuck out like a sore thumb when you look at the (2022) season.”
“It was a problem that needed to be addressed. We spent a lot of time on it. The answer will be on Saturday and then as the season shakes out. We know that’s something that hurt us last season. It’s something we’ve really focused on.”
• Naming a kicker: Jayden Fielding, who handled kickoffs for OSU last season, will also be the field goal and extra points kicker against Indiana. His main competition came from former USC kicker Parker Lewis.
“We chart everything and he has done a really good job. He’s won that job,” Day said.
• True freshmen who might play: When asked which non-redshirt freshmen might play at Indiana, Day said, “I’ll forget a few but you’ll probably see Arvell (linebacker Arvell Reese) on special teams. I think you’ll see Malik (safety Malik Hartford) and Carnell (receiver Carnell Tate).”
Asked about offensive tackle Luke Montgomery, of Findlay, Day said, “Luke will get into the game.”
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