Saturday’s annual spring game will mark the 15th and final practice of the spring for head coach Ryan Day and the 2023 Ohio State Buckeyes, offering players in several key position battles one last opportunity to leave an impression before all eyes turn to fall camp.
No position battle has received — or will continue to receive — more attention than the competition between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown to become Ohio State’s next starting quarterback. But while both have made strides throughout the spring, Day suggested on Wednesday neither quarterback has done enough to begin separating himself to the extent Day is particularly close to identifying who will lead the Buckeyes in the fall.
“It would be nice to have it be black and white,” Day said. “I can’t sit here and tell you it is right now. I think they’ve both done really good things, and I think there are things they both will have to improve on. I think if they were both sitting right here, they’d tell you the same things. There are no games or no agenda here. It’s two guys competing and one day, one guy has the upper hand and the next day, the other guy might have the upper hand.”
Using the spring game as another piece in the evaluation became a bit harder for Day this week with the announcement Brown will miss the game with an injury. Brown underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a finger on his throwing hand, and while Day said he anticipates Brown being fully recovered in time for a full summer of workouts, the injury represents an unfortunate break for a quarterback who lacks the experience McCord provides as a quarterback who’s been in the offense now for three years and even has a start to his credit.
With Brown unable to showcase his abilities in front of what’s expected to be a sizable crowd on Saturday, McCord will now take center stage with a healthy number of repetitions with the first-team offense and an opportunity to seize considerable momentum heading into the summer.
“It’s another step in his progression,” Day said of McCord. “I think he’s done some good things this spring. He brings three years of experience under his belt here, so he knows the offense. He does a great job in the meetings. He’s able to take concepts to the field. And he’s made some really nice throws, he’s accurate, and he’s shown the ability to lead the team down the field and score.
“Some of that’s been with new receivers, too. It’s a great opportunity for him to go put that out there on the field and feel like he has a game in (Ohio Stadium) under his belt even though it’s the spring game.”
While spring game performances hardly present a definitive look at how a player will contribute in the fall, Day didn’t downplay the importance of the spring game serving as a window into how a player might react when the games count later this year.
“Ultimately, you can say that it’s the same (as any other practice) but it’s not,” Day said. “It’s just not the same being here (at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center) and practicing in front of a small group as opposed to being in the stadium.”
Ohio State’s spring game will kick off at 12:05 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised live on Big Ten Network. Tickets are still available and can be purchased for $7 by visiting http://go.osu.edu/fbtix.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.