Ryan Day is handling yet another quarterback battle at Ohio State. While the decision is always an important one, this might be the biggest yet considering the stakes facing the Buckeyes.

During his Wednesday radio show, Day was asked about the battle, and the head coach acknowledged the QB position is going to play a vital role in the season. He was also forthcoming in acknowledging last year’s timeline for a QB decision between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown was not ideal, but Ohio State will not rush the decision.

“It’s going to be a huge part of our season is the quarterback play, how well the QB plays. We know that. We know how important the offensive line play is going to be, we know how important the QB play is going to be,” said Day. “We’re not shying away from that, and typically the defense is going to be strong and how well they play late in the season is going to be critical, but it always comes down to the QB.

“In terms of a deadline, I don’t like to do that because this is something where a lot of those guys are working towards it, and I want to make sure we’re doing what’s right by them. But at the same time, too, do what’s right by the team so we’re prepared. The way things worked out last year, it went a couple of games into the season. That’s not ideal, I wouldn’t like to do that again this year.”

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The stakes

Day’s track record at the position still speaks volumes after helping develop Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and CJ Stroud in Columbus. However, there’s no denying last year was a debacle with McCord failing to impress after serving as the backup his first 2 seasons with the Buckeyes.

Who is most responsible for McCord’s lack of development? Based on Day’s history, it’s easy to pin the lack of progress on McCord, but that doesn’t change the pressure facing the head coach this year.

If Will Howard or Devin Brown fails to produce consistently with Chip Kelly as OC, it will be time to question Day’s reputation as an elite QB developer.

The QB position also looks like the final piece to the puzzle for a roster that should compete for the national title. Ohio State beefed up the roster through the transfer portal with difference-makers on either side of the ball, and almost every NFL prospect eligible for another season in college opted for another season with the Buckeyes.

Talent is never an issue for Ohio State, but failing to break through with a roster of this magnitude would be a major indictment for any coach. The Buckeyes currently look like the team to be the preseason No. 1 team in the country, and the role of their QB this year will mainly be “don’t mess things up.” Ohio State will enter the season with some of the best College Football Playoff odds, and fans can get in on the action with Tradition’s Ohio online sports betting links and apps.

As for the timeline of this year’s decision, it’s questionable why Day continues to slow things down. Howard started the spring game with the first-team offense, and he looked like the more comfortable QB in the pocket while operating against the first-team defense.

Brown continues to look like a player to be utilized at times as he provided a spark with his legs and escaping the pocket. But Howard, a veteran from Kansas State, did not transfer to Columbus to sit, and he’s more than just a depth piece for the offense.

Regardless of Day’s thinking, the Buckeyes will be better off with a decision early in training camp, and all signs point to this being Howard’s team for 2024.

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