Ryan Day has only been around Ohio State’s football program for a few months, but he’s been more than knee deep in it since his arrival. As the Buckeyes’ new quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, Day has inherited a loaded group of passers, and one that should be able to meet the requirements that he has for the position.
Until spring practice finally got underway this month, however, Day’s opinions on his players were limited to film, conversation, and what little work he was actually able to do with them throughout the winter.
Now that a few practices have taken place, Day has a better idea of the players in his room, and speaking with the media for the first time since his arrival in January, he was asked what he has seen from each of his quarterbacks.
“From when I got here until now, I can see the best thing that he does is play the game,” Day said of J.T. Barrett. “You can see that in today’s practice, we get out there and we started playing it, he is moving the team up and down the field. At the end of the day, that is what is most important as a quarterback, leading the other 10 guys on the field and then moving the team down and score points.”
Barrett enters his fourth year as a starter for the Buckeyes, which makes him the runaway favorite to win the job that he currently leads. That doesn’t mean he isn’t getting pushed from the guys behind him, however. Day has liked what he’s seen from redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow, for example.
“Very impressed, coach’s son, really talented and really smart in the classroom,” he said. “Can run and pass. Been very impressed with him.”
Burrow is the No. 2 quarterback right now and while he is looking to push Barrett as much as he can, he is also looking to hold off redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins and true freshman Tate Martell.
Haskins certainly has the buzz, which seems justified based on what Day has seen to this point.
“Dwayne is talented,” he said. “You watch him stand in the pocket and deliver the ball. You can see the ball spin off his hand when you watch it. Just really jumps out at you how impressive and talented that he is.”
Over the years under Urban Meyer, it has been nearly impossible for true freshmen quarterbacks to get many meaningful reps in practice, and most of them aren’t ready for them anyway.
“Tate is just kind of getting his feet in the ground,” Day said. “Really talented in a different way.”
There is no denying the talent on hand, but what makes this an even more interesting group to Day is the diversity that he sees.
“The funny thing about those guys is they are all kind of different,” he said. “Dwayne is a little bit taller guy, can really deliver the ball from the pocket, where Tate is kind more of a run-around guy, make things happen. Joe is kind of a little bit of everything. Then J.T., obviously you know what he is. So, all are kind of different, but all are really hungry to get there.”
With so much to like, Day still has a pecking order, but there is always room for somebody to make a push.
“J.T.’s past speaks for itself,” he said. “But everybody is here competing. Those guys are really fighting like heck every day and looking to put their best foot forward.”