Is Ohio State prepared to defend its quarterback status in a new Big Ten? Buckeye Talk podcast (2024)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 2024 season is right around the corner as Ohio State enters a pivotal year of the Ryan Day era.

It’s the perfect time to set a tone and discuss what Day has accomplished as head coach, using that to project what the future holds, especially in a season where OSU has clearly pushed all its chips into the middle of the table. In doing so, we at Buckeye Talk will spend the next two weeks breaking down the program position by position looking at its past, present and future under Day.

Up first, Stephen Means and Andrew Gillis discuss quarterbacks and how a change in standard dictates how we talk about the group.

Thanks for listening to Buckeye Talk.

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Is Ohio State prepared to defend its quarterback status in a new Big Ten? Buckeye Talk podcast (1)

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Read the automated transcript of today’s podcast below. Because it’s a computer-generated transcript, it may contain errors and misspellings.

Andrew (00:04.974)

This isn’t a video, is it?

All right, but yeah, so if I look away for a second, because people notice that sh*t sometimes, yeah.

Stephen Means (00:12.438)

good. Not even all of it, I know. Okay.

Stephen Means (00:22.902)

And we are back baby. Welcome back to Buckeye Talk. I’m Stephen Means. That’s Andrew. Okay, let’s unfortunately, Stefan Kreischnik is back on vacation. It happens, man. You know, sometimes you book a trip to Europe and then you get a new job. It’s like, no.

I have to go to Europe still. Well, not have to. He’s enjoying his time in Europe. He’ll be back with us very shortly here. But for now, you just get to hear our lovely voices. Stephen Means and as you can listen, get the text 614 -330 -3315. I know you have missed hearing us in your feeds because we’ve had these one pod a week the last couple of weeks while guys were trying to do vacations. We’re back full time, baby. Five days a week, Monday through Friday.

The season is here, man. I feel refreshed. And you haven’t gone on vacation yet. People aren’t going to miss your voice, though, because we’re pre -recording a lot of these. But listen, I feel refreshed, man. Are you ready? You excited? You’re too on the beat.

Andrew (01:11.054)

I was about to be offended when you said people I was about to be offended because I thought you were gonna say people aren’t gonna miss your voice. I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I would hope they miss my voice. But yeah, this this kind of feels like one of those you ever seen Banda Brothers, Stephen, you ever seen the HP the miniseries? It’s one of the best miniseries I’ve ever seen. It’s probably the best miniseries I’ve ever seen. You should go watch it. But there’s a scene in that show where the soldiers are leaving the woods.

Stephen Means (01:18.774)

I miss you, video.

Stephen Means (01:27.062)

I have not.

Andrew (01:35.598)

and they’re all beaten down and weary and the new guys are showing up. They’re like, let’s go get them. And I kind of feel like that’s where you’re at. It was just me for a week. I was in Cincinnati adjusting Hill’s commitment. I was covering all these different recruitments. There was a bunch of kids that were committing to other schools or kids are coming to Ohio state. And I’m just, I was busy. I was, I had to work like six, seven days in a row and Steven’s coming back while you know, bushy tailed and bright eyed. He’s telling me about how great it is and things are great. And I’m like, man, I’m tired. I want to take a vacation. We got two weeks left.

Stephen Means (01:54.934)

Peace out.

Stephen Means (02:04.502)

You’re in your tube man, we’re beat, we’re working it.

Andrew (02:08.126)

I feel like I’m in year 50 of my journalism career. I’m not even 28 yet.

Stephen Means (02:13.878)

Okay, 25 year old running back. Okay. Anyway, listen, we’re getting, we’re getting ready, man. We’re in it now. We’re preparing for the 2024 regular season. Big 10 media days is two weeks away as you’re hearing this Monday pod, we’re going to be doing something in the next two weeks that I’m actually kind of really excited to do. We’re calling it state of the program. And we’re just looking at the totality of the Ryan Day era as he enters.

a very pivotal point in his career, right? Very, very pivotal point in his career. He’s started in 2019 as the head coach. He’s made the college football playoff in 2019 and 2020 and 2022. He’s missed it in 21 and 2023 as well. It’s a pivotal moment because he’s entering year six, I believe, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. Yeah, you’re six.

So if this is the Jim Trestle era, he’s at the halfway point, right? Jim Trestle’s only got four more years after this year of being Ohio State’s head coach. If this is Urban Meyer, this is the second to last year. In fact, this would be the first year Ryan Day’s on the staff as an offensive coordinator. So we’re at the end point, if you’re Urban Meyer, we’re not at the end point if you’re Ryan Day, at least it doesn’t seem like it, the way that they’re recruiting, the way things are going, right? He might just be getting started, but we’re in it. Everybody who was now,

on the roster.

has never played for another Ohio State head coach, but Ryan Day. Josh Proctor and Matthew Jones were the last holdovers of guys who said they played for Urban Myers, Ohio State. Everybody on the roster now has only played for Ryan Day, which is why also when you mix in that and you mix in Andrew, what this season could be, all the things on the line, both from a national championship standpoint, from a Big Ten championship standpoint, from a rivalry standpoint.

Stephen Means (04:11.958)

everything in between. This just felt like the perfect time to kind of have a big picture conversation about the Ohio State football program under Ryan Day and where it’s going, where it’s been, where it is and where it’s going.

Andrew (04:26.958)

Yeah, we, Stephen, you said that, I mean, to peel back the curtain, you said this before, and I think that this is a really nice way to give this to people and, you know, to kind of have this conversation. I think how many times have we talked on this pod, you, me and Nathan, how many times are you, me and Stefan going to talk on this pod about who do we think is better in training camp, Will Howard or Devin Brown? And we’re going to, we’re going to have to put on our big like journalism voices and we’re going to have to do that. You know, we’re going to have to have that conversation and

We’re going to talk about Tabian St. Clair and we’re going to have to sift through the, is he the second coming? We’re going to have to talk about that. I think that this is a really just, it’s a different way of looking at it because this is a program for better or worse that because of the last few years is now shaping up to be a super team in 2024. And this might be the culmination of where things are at and

You know, I’ve made this point before to our texters, like with the running back position, you know, 2025, there might be a lot of turnover on this team. And I think that because of this year, where we’ve been, you know, in the past, where we’re at right now with kind of the culmination of the 2024 season, where things are going to go, because whether, like if Ohio State wins the national championship, I don’t think anybody’s going to care, but you might be starting like...

16 new players next year for week one against Texas when the Longhorns come to Columbus. So it’s going to be a big change, I think either way, but perhaps even a bigger change, you know, if things go Ohio State’s way this year. So I think that this is kind of the right pivot to be like, Hey, what do we know? What have we learned and where are we headed? And, you know, they say the best indicator of future success or the best indicator of future success is past results or whatever the phrase is. And I think this is a good way to do it.

Stephen Means (05:51.958)

Yeah.

Stephen Means (06:17.014)

So Ohio State is 56 and eight with Ryan Day as his head coach. And of course that includes the three games he served as the acting head coach for a suspended Urban Meyer in 2018 as the official head coach starting in 2019. Obviously he’s 53 and eight, 39 and three in conference.

He’s two and four in bowl games with his wins being the Rose Bowl in 2021. And then obviously winning the Sugar Bowl over Clemson in 2020 to get to the national championship game. He’s one in three in the college football playoff. And as I mentioned, he’s got three college football playoff appearances. He’s won two Big Ten titles in 2019 and 2020. He’s had a share of at least the Big Ten East division in 2019, 2020 and 2021. But obviously the loss to Michigan is why he didn’t go to the Big Ten championship game. And he was the Big Ten coach of the year in 2019.

That’s the Ryan Day just simple breakdown of what it’s been like for him. Here’s what we’re going to do over the next nine pods. I think I have that number right. Yes. Monday through Friday this week and then Monday through Thursday this week. And then obviously next Friday, we’re going to wrap up with we played college football 25. And this is what we think of the game because we’re all millennials. And that’s what we do. We talk about video games we haven’t played in a decade. But for the next nine pods, we’re going to be breaking it down position by position. And literally, those are the categories. Where has it been?

Andrew (07:21.326)

aka the best pod that we’re gonna do all year.

Stephen Means (07:34.262)

Where is it at and where has it been is 2019 through 2023. Whereas that is obviously the 2024 season and then where it’s going 2025 and beyond. And let’s look at the past, a look at the upcoming season and a look at the future and the future a lot of it will regard a lot of the first and second year players on the roster and obviously what’s going on in the recruiting world as well. And we’re starting with quarterback as the most important position, but also I think.

Maybe the most simple conversation, but also complex conversation at the same time, right? It’s complex because of the position it is, but it’s simple because the name, the list of names just isn’t that long. So here are the quarterbacks of the Ryan Day era. And this means as a head coach. I’m not including Dwayne Haskins in 2018 or JT Bear 2017 season when Day was an offensive coordinator. This is just him as a head coach.

The first thing he goes and does is get Justin Fields as a transfer from Georgia, who was the number two player in the 2018 recruiting class when his first year at Georgia that didn’t necessarily result in anything. He hops in the portal. He comes to Ohio State, spends the next two years as a starting quarterback. He goes 20 and two, wins the playoff game over Clemson and is one and hole against Michigan and wins two Big Ten championship games. Stops for 5 ‚373 yards, 63 touchdowns, only nine interceptions, completing 68 .4 % of his passes. Following him, you get two years of CJ

who of course was a true freshman in 2020, but takes over as a starting quarterback in 2021. That’s the first quarterback to start for Ryan Day that he recruited out of high school. A top 50 recruit out of high school, comes to Ohio State, the number 42 player and number three overall quarterback in that class is a four star recruit, spends two years. I think he’s the best quarterback in Ohio State history, unfortunately.

There’s things that he doesn’t have that eliminates him from some of those greatest conversations when you’re talking about Mount Rushmore, obviously being O2 into against Michigan, losing his only playoff game, never winning a big 10 championship game. But as an individual talent, I think he’s the best quarterback they’ve had. And we don’t have to have that discussion today. 21 and four as a starter, he did miss a game in 2021 against Hackeran. 8123 passing yards, 85 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 69 .3 % of his passes.

Stephen Means (09:47.88)

Those two guys, Justin Fields and CJ Stroud, both go on to be first round picks. Justin Fields, the 11th pick to the Bears in the 2022 draft. CJ Stroud, the number two pick in the 2023 draft to the Houston Texans. CJ Stroud looks like he’s one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL right now, while Justin Fields is on team number two. And then Kyle McCord, who of -

any of these quarterbacks so far has the longest relationship with Ryan Day. He committed to Ryan Day three months into the day tenure back in 2019 after his sophom*ore year of high school. He was a five star recruit in that class, spends two years as CJ Stroud’s backup when he finally gets here in 2021, takes over as a starter in 2023, throws for, in his career as a starter. So this includes when he stepped in for CJ Stroud against Akron in 2021 as the starter.

3 ‚489 yards, 26 touchdowns, seven interceptions, completing 66 .1 % of his passes. He has a 12 -1 record as a starter. He did not finish his career at Ohio State. He ended up transferring to Syracuse this off -season. So that’s the breakdown of the past of Ohio State’s quarterbacks. And now we can get into our questions here.

Simple question, Andrew, has Ohio State’s quarterback play been championship caliber in the Ryan Day era?

Andrew (11:03.694)

Yes, absolutely. To me, it’s not a question. How many programs would kill for Justin Fields, a two -year stint of Justin Fields over the last five years? Pretty much all of them. How many programs would kill for a two -year stint of C .J. Stroud over the last five years? Pretty much all of them. Now all of a sudden you’re telling me that...

You have those two quarterbacks, two first round, you have first round, you have a first round quarterback playing in four of those five years. I think, you know, I want to caution people that, you know, maybe don’t let the last year maybe sour you a little bit. Cause I think we’ve seen, you know, what can happen if, if things do go awry in quarterback recruiting, you know, like if you’re, you’re going to miss on somebody. I mean, look, look at what happened at Clemson. You know, they had so many great quarterbacks at college and you know, and you have Deshaun Watson, you have Trevor Lawrence.

Stephen Means (11:33.974)

Yeah.

Andrew (11:58.67)

you know, everybody thought it was DJ U and that you miss on him and you kind of teeter a little bit. And, you know, now you’re kind of wondering like what Clemson is. And I know there’s other things that Clemson because like fans are thinking, you know, down in, you know, South Carolina, they’re like, I wonder what the transfer portal is. I wonder what everybody keeps talking about that. Like there’s other things going on there, but that, that happens, right? Nobody continually churns out first round level quarterbacks every single year.

You know, I mean, like the closest thing that I think you could maybe get is like Lincoln Riley. and, and I’m not saying anything of Lincoln Riley’s teams, you know, as a whole, because obviously I think Ryan Day has done a better job than, than Lincoln Riley in terms of program building, but like, you know, you think of Lincoln Riley, you’re like, all right, well there’s Baker, there’s Jalen Hertz, there’s Kyler, there’s Caleb Williams. Like he’s kind of been up there, but it’s just so hard to do that. So yeah, I mean, four out of the five years you’ve had.

national championship quality quarterback play, that’s good. That’s good enough. That’s a great, great, great way to look at it. And I think fans should be absolutely willing to take that because I think last year you could look at Ohio State’s team and they were good enough elsewhere, I think, to where they were good enough elsewhere to kind of look at that and go, hey,

we can build a national championship program around Kyle McCord. Like if Ohio State had beaten Michigan last year in the Michigan game, which they were like right there to do, it’s not crazy to say that Kyle McCord’s a national championship winning quarterback. You can do that without national championship quality play. And Ohio State just happened to have it for four out of five years. So yes, it’s absolutely true that they’ve had it.

Stephen Means (13:51.542)

I think what makes the championship caliber is when to your point, four out of five years, you had a guy who ended up being a first round draft pick and was at least a Heisman Trophy finalist at least once in that conversation. And no, I pushed back on what last year was. I think last year is why you even more emphasize that point because Kyle McCord was third team All -Big -10, which ended a streak that started I think in 2016 of Ohio State’s quarterbacks being first team All -Big -10 quarterback of the year. But.

Kyle McCord was one of the 20 best quarterbacks in college football last year. I think that’s a fair thing to say. But the standard was set so high that being a top 20 quarterback wasn’t good enough. That’s how championship caliber you are, where you can be one of the 20 best quarterbacks in college football and we’re all going, nope.

It’s not it. That’s not enough. You need to be better than that. That’s what makes the championship caliber. Some high moments from these quarterbacks. Justin Field, his whole tenure was maybe a little bit of a high moment. That 2019 season, they were pretty dominant, but also their non -conference schedule wasn’t great. The highest moment is obviously the Clemson game in 2020. We hit those for six touchdown passes and they get that monkey off for the back end to get to the national championship game. I think that CJ Stroud’s consistency.

The Michigan State game in 2021, the Rose Bowl and the way he played in a Peach Bowl, even with a loss, the fact that he’s a two time Heisman Trophy finalist, that’s a high moment. I think Kyle McCord’s game winning drive against Notre Dame. That’s a high moment, even if he got a little wacky, right? He almost threw a pick and whatnot, but high moment. You get lead a game winning drive in your first big game as a starting quarterback. I think that’s a high moment. Some low moments. Justin Field, his final pass against.

Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl the year before, but that set up his ultimate high moment the following year. CJ Shroud being 0 -2 against Michigan and never winning the conference. That’s a low moment. And then Kyle McCord kind of ending that streak of Big Ten dominance, where JJ McCarthy’s quarterback of the year, first team all Big Ten, and Talia Tungabaya Loa, a second team. But then also just kind of the way that ended was maybe a low moment. But the next thing I want to ask is, because we don’t have to rehearse hash all of that. We know what it is.

Stephen Means (15:52.982)

We’re talking about expectations and you kind of brought it up a minute there Andrew that you can’t produce a first -round quarterback every single time right Alabama did it three times in a row. I don’t know if Jalen Milrow is gonna be four times in a row You know Lincoln Riley Yeah, he had back -to -back number one pick with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and then Jalen Hurts was a Heisman Trophy finalist, but he wasn’t a first -round draft pick and then Spencer Spencer Rattler was neither one of those things He was expected to be in and he wasn’t then you get back on track with Caleb Williams And now we’ll see with Miller Moss, but it’s hard right quarterback is hard, but

But there’s a level of consistency you can expect even if everybody doesn’t meet that criteria exactly. The next thing I want to ask is what are the past five years tell us about realistic expectations for Ohio State’s quarterback room in general as we look at.

kind of foreshadowing what 2024 could be, but also what the future is being. What did the first five years of the Ryan Day era when it comes to quarterback play tell you about what the expectations are if you had to put it into words?

Andrew (16:56.046)

that it is impossible or nearly impossible to hit on elite quarterbacks every single year and have them kind of live up to that five star billing, right? I think that that’s the number one thing that I take because, you know, Kyle McCord was a five star quarterback. I think it’s easy to forget that, especially as you compare him to Justin Fields and CJ Stroud and Julian Sand and Tabian Sinclair, because he’s just kind of right in that mix, right? And

CommaCord was also a five -star quarterback. And I think it doesn’t have to do anything with development. It doesn’t have to mean that someone somewhere made some big screw up. You know, it just happens. You know, crap just happens. And it’s, you’re not going to hit on a quarterback every single cycle. So I think that that’s the number one lesson that I took is that you’re not going to bat a thousand. If you are,

Every NFL team that needs a franchise quarterback should be calling Ryan Day and saying, hey, here’s a check. You can stop writing when you get tired of writing zeros. Here you go. Because we need to identify our quarterback in the draft and we need to hit. So here you go. It says to Ryan Day, make it out to whoever you want. And then whenever your hand starts to cramp from your writing 18 zeros, then you’re good. Don’t worry about it anymore.

That’s what should happen if you’re batting a thousand a quarterback. It’s just impossible. So there’s number one. Number two though, I know this might sound counterintuitive to my first argument. We have seen that Ohio State’s good enough to recruit at an above average clip of elite level quarterbacks, right? Not just in terms of bringing them in, but developing them. I think for so many years, obviously we were not covering the program during all of this time, Stephen.

But I was certainly well aware that I mean, I was in college and I was in Ohio and I was a college football fan and you know, you grow up around, you know, the Buckeyes and all these other kinds of different things. Everybody thought that JT Barrett was maybe one of the better quarterbacks in recent memory. And then everybody went, well actually, Dwayne Haskins is better. And then Justin Field shows up and everyone, I think it might be Justin Fields. And then CJ Stroud shows up and everybody goes, well it might be CJ Stroud.

Andrew (19:18.542)

And it just kind of felt like there was this natural progression. And I think that that’s a credit to Ryan Day and his staff to look at this and go, you know what? They are recruiting at a really good level, but they are also developing at a really good level because I don’t care if you’re bringing in the number one overall player in the country. Like how many players at quarterback are ready -made NFL quarterbacks when they’re 17 years old? The answer to that question is zero. The answer to that question is zero mentally. The answer to that question is zero physically. None of these kids are looking like...

Nobody at the Elite 11 camp is sitting there going, I don’t need to go to college. I don’t need to get developed. They obviously need to get developed. They obviously need to have good coaching. So it’s a talent identification thing. It’s a development thing. And I think it’s important to note that Ohio State is not going to bat a thousand, but they’re going to bat above 500. That’s what we’ve kind of seen. That’s what we’ve looked at and said, you know what? They can do this. They can bring in more elite first round pick.

championship level quarterbacks. Because when we say championship caliber, championship caliber, I think, I mean, I think maybe we should have done this at the top. Championship caliber doesn’t mean you’re the ninth best position group in the country, right? Like that’s not championship caliber to me. That like championship caliber is elite. Championship caliber is like a top five unit, right? You know, that that’s a championship caliber. Like we’re going to get to the offensive line, but Ohio State’s offensive line is not championship caliber. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to win a national championship.

You know, I don’t think we’re going to look at Ohio State’s offensive line and go, yeah, this is the hogs, you know, of the 1980s, or this is the killer bees of the Miami Dolphins, right? Like this is not, you know, you can win with position groups that are not championship caliber. And we’re going to get to this in a minute. You know, is Ohio State’s 2024 quarterback situation championship caliber? I don’t know. But more often than not, you’re going to have a championship caliber quarterback. And I think that that’s kind of what we’ve learned about Ohio State is that number one, you’re going to bring in more of them than not, even if you do miss.

And even when you don’t have a championship color for quarterback, it’s not gonna kill you.

Stephen Means (21:17.242)

I think what the last five years have showed me is it’s why Ohio State’s taking the approach it’s taken when it’s recruiting its quarterbacks more than anything else in that.

The fact that it’s very quickly here trying to fix something that I don’t want to say wrong, right? Because it’s just, common courts still have a very good quarterback here, but there’s an expectation that’s been created and you have to be able to meet that and you have to maximize your chances of being able to meet that, which is why they go about recruiting highly rated quarterbacks on every single year. I think to the point about the championship caliber conversation.

Stephen Means (22:00.278)

I don’t know if I agree totally with what you had to say, but I think it depends on how your team makeup is and Ohio State’s team makeup is set up in a way that your quarterback needs to be driving the car, not just riding in it.

Andrew (22:06.638)

Yeah, of course.

Stephen Means (22:13.122)

And CJ Stroud drove the car. Justin Fields drove the car. Now, unfortunately, CJ Stroud, the rest of his car wasn’t always up to par. Right. I didn’t mean the rhyme on purpose there. Right. The defense didn’t necessarily help him out all the time. The run game didn’t help him out all the time. Justin Fields in 2020 didn’t necessarily have a defense that helped him out all the time. Now, in 2019, they had all of it. Right. They had a lead passing game. They had a lead running game. They had a lead defense. They just run up into another team who also had those teams. And so now you’re talking about who can just win a football game.

game, but it maximized its chance to do so. And the way Ohio state goes about doing things with quarterback is trying to maximize those chances. I had a couple of questions when it came to what the past five years told us about the realistic expectations about where the room is in general. I think those are three very different styles of quarterback.

Right. Justin Fields is a dual threat as can be. Right. You use him in the run game. CJ Stroud showed us he could run. Ryan Day didn’t have him run nearly as often, but he could have run more had he been given the opportunities to. Kyle McCourt couldn’t run. That’s not what he was.

And I think the thing we saw was with all of those guys, you saw Ryan Day build an offense in a way that maximized their skill sets. And so now when you’re looking at whether it’s this 2024 room where you’ve got five different skill sets, or you’re talking about in the future, where you’re talking about Taven St. Clair, which we’ll get into obviously Julian Sain, Aaron Nolan, whoever the 2026 guy, whoever the 2027 guy is going to be. Brian Day is capable of building an offense that on game day maximizes what that player is.

Now the question is, does maximizing what that player is maximize what you are as a team, what you are as an offense? With Kyle McCord, it was no. With CJ Charlton, I think it would have been yes if some of the other parts would have been better. With Justin Fields, it was a yes, even if you ran up against another good team late in the 2019 season and obviously in the national championship game in 2020. So that’s a look at where it’s been, right? Elite quarterback play, good quarterback, their floor is good.

Stephen Means (24:11.798)

I think that’s a fair thing to say. Ohio State’s floor at quarterback play is good. Its ceiling is exceptional. Generational. Once in a lifetime, maybe, right? Just when you base that off of the talent they’re recruiting, the way it’s being developed and the way it’s being used on game day. We’re going to take a quick break here. When we come back, we’re going to transition into the now. And that’s the 2024 season where we look at a room with five guys in it as Ohio State tries to figure out which of those guys maximizes its chance to win a national championship in 2024. You’re on Buckeye Talk.

Andrew (24:13.646)

Yeah, sure.

Stephen Means (24:44.374)

David Sanders. Alright. That happened. That’s fun.

Also, quick thing before we get back here, I love how he took the same pose at three different schools. And then Nebraska said, no, sit in a chair and hold the spoon box. All right.

Stephen Means (25:06.678)

We’re back here on Buckeye Talk. It’s state of the program. We’re talking about Ohio State’s quarterback room.

in 2024. We looked at 2019 through 2023 and now we’re looking at the present and then we’ll take another break and we’ll look at the future. But right now as we look at this present room, Andrew, you’ve got five guys in it. Will Howard, obviously the Kansas State transfer fifth year senior who has come here and has put it on record. He said this that he was like a day three draft grade guy and he’s coming here to up his stock and compete for a national championship game. He’s trying to do what we just saw Bo Nix and Michael Pinnix do and Jayden Daniels do at other schools where

they transferred in to schools who are obviously more talented than the schools they were coming from, turned themselves into some of the best quarterbacks in college football and to different extents. One won the Heisman, another one was Heisman Trophy finalist, but all three of them were first round draft picks while they maximize themselves and the teams around them. Maybe Will Howard does that. You’ve got Devin Brown in his third year. He’s the oldest guy in the room in terms of years in the room, a 2022 recruit, top 60 recruit. Lincoln Keenholz, the Washington flip, who is entering his second year going through his first full

He’s been a quarterback for the whole year as Ohio State Buckeyes. He just went through his first winter workouts in first spring. Julian Sand, who was the number one quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class, spent about two weeks at Alabama before Nick Saban’s retirement, sent him into the transfer report when he ends up coming to Ohio State. And then Aaron Nolan, the 2024 signee, who was a five -star quarterback at one point, is now a borderline five -star, four -star recruit in the 2024 recruiting class. I asked that question about, has the past shown us Ohio State’s quarterback play has been championship caliber? When you look at this room...

It’s a two part question. Do we think Ohio State’s quarterback play in 2024 has the potential to get to the point where it’s championship caliber, but then on top of that, does it have to be for this team to win a national championship?

Andrew (26:57.902)

I think it’s possible. I would put my money on no, that it’s not going to be championship caliber because it goes back to the point I was making in the first segment. I view championship caliber as top five. And I just don’t know if you’re going to get a quarterback from Will Howard, who’s a top five quarterback in the country, because is that within his range of outcomes? Maybe I just wouldn’t bet on it.

I think that there’s a lot of other really talented quarterbacks around the country. And when you’re kind of mapping out quarterback rankings and you’re mapping out maybe what qualifies as championship caliber, okay, well, you might be really good, but if we’re going to rank Will Howard as like the 10th best quarterback in college football at the end of the year, Ohio State’s probably going to feel really good about where they’re at. But that doesn’t mean that Will Howard himself was a championship caliber quarterback in my opinion.

if that’s where we’re talking, right? You can have a championship caliber quarterback. Here, I’ll put it like this. Quinn Ewers can be a championship caliber quarterback and Texas can be less successful than Ohio State is this year, right? You can have a Dylan Gabriel who’s a championship caliber quarterback and Ohio State’s more successful than Oregon. That doesn’t mean it. So I would say no, I don’t think Ohio State’s quarterback is gonna be national championship quality.

But I also think that this team and this program is in a place where it doesn’t quite matter. It does to some extent. You’re going to have to ask Will Howard to go win you a game. We said this about JJ McCarthy where he wasn’t walking out on the field going, boy, here comes the closer. He doesn’t walk out onto the field and it’s Mariano Rivera, enter Sandman plays. And you’re like, we’re in trouble now. That’s not what it was with JJ McCarthy, but what happened with JJ McCarthy? He made the plays.

that he had to make when he had to make them and things pivoted and things went well for Michigan last year. And I know that still stings Ohio State fans, but that’s what happened, right? We saw that play in the Rose Bowl. We saw that throw that he made, which may or may not have been a touchdown against Ohio State. We saw the moments from JJ, that last drive against Alabama. We saw the moments from JJ where you were, it was maybe championship quality moments. I don’t know if it’s a championship caliber.

Andrew (29:21.166)

quarterback because there were games that they won last year where they just like forgot that they could call a forward pass, right? They beat Penn State by running the ball for three straight quarters. Like that’s just the way that things go. So I think that with Ohio State, I think you can map this out and say, you know what? If you can get good quarterback play doesn’t mean that Will Howard has to walk out there and be the best quarterback in the big 10. He doesn’t have to be the first overall pick next year. He doesn’t even have to be like, you know,

the first round pick, he can still be good and, and, you know, be that kind of that second day, you know, day two NFL draft pick. And that’s still good enough for Ohio state where they’re at. So I would say, no, I don’t think Ohio state’s going to have national championship quality quarterback play, but the rest of the program, I think is so strong at the skill positions specifically. And then obviously on defense to where if you map this out, you’re not asking him to go out there and throw for

450 a game, you just need to go out there and play well enough to win. You don’t need him to go do anything crazy. And I think that that’s a pretty comfortable and fairly healthy spot to be in if you’re high at State.

Stephen Means (30:32.918)

I think the safe answer is to say no, it’s not going to be championship caliber. And I think you just did a great job of mapping out why.

I’m gonna leave room for it. Maybe because, especially with Will Howard, because we’re coming off two years of watching guys leave programs that were okay programs and join programs who could genuinely maximize what they were as talent. And then they end up showing some things that we never would. I don’t think anybody would have thought when Bo Nicks was at Auburn one day he’s gonna be a first round draft pick. I don’t think anybody thought Jaden Daniels was gonna be a first round draft pick.

when he left Arizona State. I don’t know if people thought that about Michael Pennex Jr. when he left Indiana, right? The best thing he had done at that point, which...

Listen, I’ve been in the building with Stefan Krashnikov, which we already talked about. We don’t have to talk about him, because he covered Indiana, because he went to Indiana. Those three quarterbacks, I don’t think anybody thought they would be top 20 picks, right, when they left the previous program. So I’ll leave room for maybe there’s something there with Will Howard that Ryan Day sees and he and Chip Kelly can tap into. That creates something. Who knows? I don’t know. Drafting quarterbacks is already weird. People overdraft all the time. I’m going to throw some stats at you.

And I’m going to ask you if you think this player’s stats are Heisman caliber or not.

Stephen Means (31:54.006)

This player threw for 4 ‚128 yards, 27 touchdowns, only seven interceptions, 9 .1 yards per attempt. He completed 68 .3 % of his passes. He also ran for 205 yards and 10 touchdowns. Do you think those are Heisman caliber stats?

Andrew (32:13.23)

Give me the yards and the completion percentage again.

Stephen Means (32:15.958)

Completion percentage, 68 .3, total yards, 4 ,128, and its yards per temp were 9 .1, which of course the yards per temp is more important when talking about efficiency.

Andrew (32:24.91)

Yeah, yeah, in a vacuum, I want to say...

It depends. I lean yes, but I don’t feel confident in it. Like I think it’s pretty solid, but I don’t feel confident in that answer.

Stephen Means (32:39.67)

Hmm.

Stephen Means (32:46.998)

What if I told you, okay, you don’t feel confident about, yeah. Yeah, you don’t feel confident about Heisman Trophy. If those numbers, if Ohio State’s quarterback lives in that world, can it win a national championship with its quarterback having those numbers?

Andrew (32:48.878)

This is the 30 for 30. What if I told you there’s going to be a whammy coming in a cross hook from the left.

Andrew (33:05.23)

Yes, especially this year with how good everything else is shaping up to be. Yes.

Stephen Means (33:08.745)

Okay, but you don’t think it could be a Heisman Trophy caliber player with those numbers. No, you’re not confident

Andrew (33:14.894)

I’m not confident because I think it depends on a lot of other factors, but you’re going to say something that’s going to make me look real stupid here and I’m not looking forward to it.

Stephen Means (33:18.71)

For sure, no, for sure, for sure. It definitely does. No, it’s not about making it look stupid. It’s just putting things in perspective, because obviously all of this is, it depends, right? The guy who did this, that’s been it in 2022, was the highest -win trophy finalist, and Georgia won the national championship. But also, they could have very much not won the national championship if...

Ohio State kicker could make a 52 yard kick, right? So it’s like, you know, this is all in perspective. Maybe if there were two or three other quarterbacks, if this were 2019, if Stetson Bennett had those exact same numbers in 2019, when you throw Joe Burrow, Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts into the mix, he’s probably not a Heisman Trophy finalist, right? So all of it obviously depends. But the point is, he was in that conversation. And I don’t think anybody looked at 2021 and 2022 Georgia and thought

Stetson Bennett was the reason they won a national championship. But in the moment that matters, when you look at some of his best games, what he did against Ohio State in that Peach Bowl, he went toe to toe with CJ Stroud. CJ Stroud was awesome in that game. He used that game to become the number two pick in the NFL draft and then has set up what he is now. Stetson Bennett completed 67 .6 % of his passes for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns in that game.

He was awesome too. This was a back and forth between those two and nobody talks about that because CJ Stroud was obviously a first round talent and Stetson Bennett was not. So to your point of, I was so far against this last year, by the way, when Nathan, Doug and I had this conversation of can it be Stetson Bennett level in Ohio State still compete for a national title? I was so far against it because that’s not the way Ryan Day had talked about quarterback play. And it’s not the way that they had set up this team. But when you’ve got a roster that’s loaded,

And you’ve got an older guy who’s probably not a first rounder, maybe. Again, I don’t know. But if that’s what if Ohio State’s quarterback can be stats, it’s been at level. I think they can win a national championship with that, whether it’s Will Howard, whether it’s Devon Brown, whether it’s Julian Sand, who knows? Maybe he just comes in and takes this job completely. But this is we’re going long on this first question. But I think it’s because it’s the most important part of this where. I think Ohio State’s roster this year is set up in a way where.

Stephen Means (35:32.95)

If Ohio State’s quarterback is somewhere in the middle of what Kyle McCord was in 2023, which was good, but not great. And where Justin Fields and CJ Stroud lived, which was exceptional. I think that middle ground area is where Ohio State need quarterbacks play can be in 2024. And it won a national title.

Andrew (35:56.142)

How many players do you think in the 2022 NFL draft from the University of Georgia got drafted in the first four rounds that played offense?

Stephen Means (36:08.79)

maybe two like Brock Bowers and somebody else.

Andrew (36:12.654)

In 2022, like they got drafted like in the 2022 NFL draft.

Stephen Means (36:17.302)

Andrew (36:20.75)

in the first four rounds.

Stephen Means (36:22.294)

You mean 2022 or 2023 draft? maybe one or two. Or offense? Yeah, maybe one or two. Okay.

Andrew (36:24.622)

the 2022 NFL draft. So the year after, so they had just won their first national championship.

on offense, three. And so George Pickens went 52nd over all the Steelers. James Cook went 63 to the Bills and Zameer White went 122 to the Raiders. And then guess what? You get to the sixth round and they had two offensive linemen picked. Now I’m not a scholar here, but I think Ohio State might have a first or second round receiver this year in a Mecca Bucca coming out next year.

Stephen Means (36:43.03)

Okay.

Stephen Means (36:58.454)

For sure. For sure.

Andrew (36:59.406)

And I think they might have two running backs get drafted pretty early. And you might have a couple flyers later in the draft with offensive linemen like Donovan Jackson and Josh Simmons and Seth McLaughlin. Like, I don’t know, those guys might be like six round picks. wait, like Georgia had two six round picks. They had two offensive linemen go in the sixth round. They had a tight end go in the sixth round. Hmm, sounds interesting. And then guess what? I mean, I don’t know if Ohio State’s gonna have five defensive players get drafted in the first round next year.

But I think that it’s a fair comparison. They had five defensive players go first. And I think you could map out a scenario where you go, okay, JT Tumalau, Jack Sawyer, Denzel Burke, Davis and Ibn Osir. Like that’s where we’re at. So I think that, yeah, I think that there’s kind of proof in the pudding that maybe Ohio State is just, 2024 Ohio State is just 2021 Georgia. And like you said, that’s good enough.

Stephen Means (37:31.062)

No.

Stephen Means (37:41.622)

Okay, so let’s ask this question then.

Stephen Means (37:54.486)

And I don’t want to make this a draft conversation. Obviously, they’re I don’t know if they’re five first round draft picks on defense, but could they have like eight in the top 100? I think that’s in I think that’s a real I mean, between Jack Soray, JT Twinmillo, Al Denzel, Bray Riley, William. Yeah, and that’s like, and we yeah, we talked about that, like in Ohio State, flirt with that conversation and we’ll continue to talk about that next spring. The quarterback part of this, I think everything else.

Andrew (38:02.574)

Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Andrew (38:09.102)

That Georgia team had 15 overall players go in the NFL draft, which at the time was a record. And I think that that’s a possibility.

Stephen Means (38:24.566)

We’re saying the same thing here. Everything else around this quarterback means it doesn’t have. Now if it gets too exceptional, which again, I’m going to leave the door open for because this is still Ohio State, right? And they’ve done it two times in a row, three times in a row. If you want to go past the Ryan Day era with this. And also I’ve just, again, I’ve watched some other transfers go to better programs and just be better players because of it. So I’m not going to eliminate it. I’m just not going to bank on it the same way I was a year ago where I just expected this train to keep moving. But also I don’t have to bank on it because

CJ Stroud was exceptional. He also had to be because the defense wasn’t going to let him not be exceptional. They would have lost more than two games a year if CJ Stroud wasn’t exceptional. Justin Fields in 2019 didn’t have to be exceptional, but he was. In 2020, he had to be exceptional, or they would have lost some of those games. In fact, there was a game where he wasn’t exceptional against Northwestern and then Trey Sermon showed up and was exceptional. So it didn’t matter, but they had moments in their careers where they had to be exceptional. Kyle McCourt didn’t have to be exceptional.

He just wasn’t exceptional in the moments that mattered. Even Justin Fields, who didn’t have to be exceptional in 2019, when it was time to be exceptional, he was exceptional. And I think that’s what we’re talking about with Will Howard or Devin Brown, whichever one wins the job. Can you just be exceptional when the moment calls for it? Which is Oregon, Penn State, Michigan, playoff games.

You don’t have to do it every snap the way she’s a trial had to do it. I think that’s possible that they get to that point because the last five years told me they can’t. I don’t think they can be consistently like that, but I think they can do it enough to where just like what Stetson Bennett where he was not always exceptional, but he was exceptional when it mattered being championship caliber. You mentioned it earlier and I wrote this down. Does it have to be?

except championship caliber. Yes. And last season showed why Kyle McCord wasn’t really championship caliber against Michigan and it kind of cost him the game, not the whole game, just in the moments that mattered. Does he have to be CJ Stroud? No, but Stetson Bennett showed us being championship caliber doesn’t mean being the number two pick in the NFL draft.

Stephen Means (40:31.734)

It just means when the moment calls for it, can you be special? I think that’s on the roster when you mix it with what this defense is. And that’s all that really matters here. A couple of realistic best case scenarios and worst case scenarios for what the Worms performance is going to be. Andrew, you can agree with this or disagree with it. Best case, Wilhauer does what we’ve seen some other veteran transfers do and simply having a change of scenery drastically improves their play and overall stock.

Or maybe Devon Brown is Dwayne Haskins part two, right? In year three, he just gets healthy and it’s like, he’s just awesome and out the window and he’s a one and done quarterback. That’s less realistic. I think the Will Howard one is a little bit more realistic. And then worst case scenario of a realistic world, because they’re not going to jump off a cliff, dude. They’re just going to be one of the best teams in the country. It’s 2023 all over again, where it’s good, not great, but that result has much dire consequences in just going 11 and one. And I say that because

Andrew (41:14.254)

Yeah, of course.

Stephen Means (41:24.886)

After Notre Dame, it kind of got smooth sailing for Kyle McCord a little bit, right? Like Penn State game was at home. You had Marvin Harrison Jr. You didn’t really have, you didn’t get tested on the road again until the last week of the year. Penn State’s on the road. I don’t know what Ju Allard is going to be yet, but Penn State’s on the road. Oregon is on the road and Michigan’s at home at the end of the day. It’s just Kyle McCord wasn’t special and it was 11 and one.

I don’t know if Wilhauer isn’t special and it’s only 11 -1 this year.

Andrew (41:57.934)

Well, and I think too, I do want to ask Ryan Davis as we get closer to the year, the last couple of years, Ohio States had a test early. You know, you had a test in, in 2021, which was CJ Stroud’s first year where you played Oregon at home. And while Ohio State lost that game at home to Oregon, I think you were able to look at your quarterback and go, you know what? That wasn’t his fault. You know, it wasn’t CJ’s, CJ didn’t.

Stephen Means (42:08.182)

Yeah.

Andrew (42:25.71)

you know, allow Oregon to kind of run crossers the whole game and beat you like they did. You know, that’s not CJ Stroud’s fault. You feel better about the quarterback situation. 2022, you play Notre Dame the first game of the year. And, you know, you were trying to work in some things. Notre Dame actually ended up having a fairly solid defense, which I think might’ve been a little bit unexpected. And, you know, you lose Jackson Smith and Jigba early and you’re trying to work through that. 2023.

You play a big 10 team first as you’re working in another quarterback. You have a couple games again, but really you played a bunch of patsies until you played Notre Dame the last week of September, which was the fourth game this year. I think Oregon’s sixth. Like you play Oregon in mid October, you know, like you’re, you’re kind of in, you’re in the middle of the season when you play Oregon. So, you know, you’re right. You don’t have to be spectacular every play against Oregon, against Michigan, against, you know,

you know, some of these other programs and playoff games, you have to be spectacular. More not though. And, and you wonder like, what happens if you get to that Oregon game and even if you win, if you go, man, like this, this could hurt us. If we can’t get a little bit of an extra, a little bit of an extra bump or a little bit extra juice out of our quarterback. If, if that’s a problem. So yeah, you know, I’m curious about that. I’m curious about the lack of a test.

for the first couple of weeks because with all due respect to Marshall and with all due respect to Akron, I don’t really care. Like unless it’s so bad that we know, like I’m not really gonna learn anything about Will Howard in this first.

Stephen Means (44:06.166)

So I wrote down some names, just some guys, and we’ve kind of done a similar pod to this system, challengers to Ohio State’s bid to reestablish itself as the king of Big Ten quarterback play, right? And I think the list has gotten a little bit long in terms of potential challengers. Some of these guys, I didn’t tear it, right? But I think people, you, Andrew, and then people listening can probably come to their own tiers, get the text, 614353315, if you want to throw these guys in tiers yourself. Oregon, Dylan.

Gabriel Oklahoma transfer that’s probably a guy who can challenge that again and keep Ohio State from reclaiming its spot on the first team all big 10 list and quarterback of the year list Penn State’s Drew Aller

Just being in year two, does he take the step? Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But it’s also the fact that he’s already played Ohio State as the Ohio kid. So that whole buzz is worn off. Plus it’s at home this year. Maybe it’s a night game. You got Miller Moss out at USC who might be their own version of what Dwayne Haskins was in 2018. And he kind of, I mean, six touchdown passes in his first offering. Can he build off of that? Nebraska’s Dylan Raiola. Maybe he’s a dude from day one as a five star quarterback and makes Ohio State pay for not being able to hold on to him.

2024 recruiting class and then some other guys maybe just a little bit less Dylan Rael excuse me Dylan Gabriel’s on his own tier and then maybe I would group those next three together as like hmm maybe maybe there’s something there but I’m not you know we’re not there yet

Some other guys who just are interesting, Aiden Chilis, the Oregon State transfer who’s at Michigan State. Michigan State’s kind of in rebuild mode right now, but maybe he can work some magic there, especially since it’s at home. And then Wisconsin’s Tyler Van Dyke, Miami transfer who’s an experienced guy. Maybe Luke Fickle’s got a quarterback now and they can make some things buzz if Wisconsin gets into a Big Ten championship game. Something like that. But also just has an awesome season where he’s the best quarterback in the Big Ten. I don’t have as much faith in those ones, but I just wanted to include them as some guys along the way.

Stephen Means (45:58.742)

Maybe you have some other people that you wanna list there. But the thing I really wanna get to is, we know the biggest question is who’s the strong quarterback gonna be. Right, that’s obviously. What’s the question you have about the room that isn’t something obvious and in your face about Ohio State’s quarterback situations or in 2024?

Andrew (46:21.07)

isn’t something obvious that’s in your face. That was the one that I have been kind of struggling with because I feel like with every other position group, this is an easy answer because I feel like you could just think of something that’s interesting and it’s not maybe one of the premier questions we’ve been asking. With this one, it’s like, crap, what haven’t we covered? My question that isn’t really something that’s obvious is like, what?

And again, this might be a bad answer because we’ve talked about it so much. So maybe this is the one where it’s like, what are you talking about Andrew? This is a very obvious question. We talked about this a lot. I’m curious how much they cut it loose with running and maybe with just saying, you know what man run the offense because Ohio state has five quarterbacks in the room and

And how many of them are you comfortable, Steven, how many of them are you comfortable with saying right now can play college snaps and not walk out there and embarrass themselves? Of those five, Howard Brown, Sayin’, Nolan Keenholz.

Stephen Means (47:38.55)

Who’s the opponent?

Andrew (47:41.646)

let’s say Michigan State. Let’s like, let’s give an, like an average Big 10 team.

Stephen Means (47:45.942)

Good, happy medium.

Andrew (47:52.014)

Because I think the answer against like Akron is probably like four, maybe even like five.

Stephen Means (47:55.734)

Well, no, I think Michigan State’s a happy medium because they’ll have played three games, but also you didn’t pick a team on a schedule who’s expecting to win a national championship this year, right? It’s a happy, I would say.

Andrew (48:00.078)

Yeah, so.

Andrew (48:04.206)

Right, exactly.

Stephen Means (48:13.398)

Three I feel confident with because yeah. And then it’s like, but the thing, the three I would pick are Will Howard, Devin Brown and, and Lincoln Pinos cause they’ve all played college football at that point. But I would throw depending on what the first three games look like, I’m not going to eliminate Julian Sand from the conversation. So I’d say three in a possible.

Andrew (48:15.246)

I agree. So that’s that’s what I was going to say. Three.

Andrew (48:26.478)

Mm -hmm.

Andrew (48:36.526)

I was gonna say, I was gonna say, I think the floor is three and I think the ceiling might be four. And so what I’m saying with this answer is Ryan Day has talked about wanting quarterbacks that can move and quarterbacks that can run. Well, okay, Will Howard can run and Devin Brown can run. I think maybe last year, maybe some people kind of thought that Devin Brown might’ve been Michael Vick.

Like I saw that it was like, let Devin Brown run. You know, he can run wild all over these defenses. Like, man, he’s not going to walk out there and be like Virginia Tech, Michael Vick or like Louisville Lamar Jackson. That’s just not what’s going to happen. But I’m wondering how much they cut it loose in the run game with those guys. And this might sound callous and I super do not mean it to be, but you’re not necessarily worried about your number one quarterback, like getting hurt like you normally would be because like we talked about this with CJ Stroud. Like if your number one quarterback goes down,

Who’s next after Stroud or after Fields? You were in trouble a little bit. If you have to go to Devin Brown for a couple of plays because Will Howard gets the wind knocked out of him, I don’t think you’re necessarily sweating it. I think I’m also curious how they’re gonna cut it loose in terms of, hey man, we’re not gonna slow this offense down for anybody. You wondered if last year you had to run a certain couple of plays, the playbook might not be as open as it was with Kyle McCord as it was for CJ Stroud.

You wonder if they’re just gonna say, man, we’re gonna call whatever we want. And of course, every quarterback has their place that they like, place that they’re better at, place that they don’t like, et cetera, et cetera. But I wonder if they’re just gonna let it fly with some of these quarterbacks because they’re like, you know what, if we’ll Howard, if we put him out there and we’re calling our offense and he can’t get it done, we can go to Devin Brown and we can roll with Devin Brown because Devin Brown was right there with him and we’ll see how Devin does. And hey, if Devin Brown doesn’t do it, maybe we go to Julian Sand.

in a couple of weeks and maybe Julian can get it done. Maybe we can grow with Julian. Like I wonder if because of the depth of the quarterback room, because of the quality of the quarterback room, because of the running ability of the quarterback room, I wonder if they’re just going to be like, what was the quote he gave before the Notre Dame game? Was it cut it loose? Was it let it fly? Whatever it was, whatever the quote Ryan Day gave before the Notre Dame game. I wonder if that’s going to be the way that they approach the quarterback position this year because of kind of the way that the room is constructed.

Stephen Means (50:55.414)

I always have a tough time having these conversations because it’s, I’ll say one national championship with his third string quarterback. And so it’s a thing of like, well, what if your quarterback goes down and you still, you still compete? Typically, if you lose your starting quarterback, you’re no longer in the championship conversation. But because of the program I cover, I have to indulge in these conversations. Yes, you want depth at the position, but it is what it is. I get it. And.

Andrew (51:09.422)

Yeah, typically, yeah.

Stephen Means (51:24.438)

I don’t think about it that way though. I don’t think about the death part of it and is that why he’s gonna do it? I wonder if he’s just gonna do it because he knows he has to do it, right? He let CJ Stroud loose against Georgia and look what happened. He let Justin Fields loose against Clemson and look what happened, man.

When you don’t, when you let the guy be everything he’s supposed to be and you don’t take away something, this is what happens. You got to explore everything. So I look at it more from that standpoint, but I do understand it. I do understand having depth in the room and not feeling like all is lost. If you’re starting to go down, I get it. I respect it. I just hate it at the same time. Here’s my question. Does Ohio State have to have the best quarterback in every game it plays this year to win a national title?

Andrew (51:58.446)

I understand.

Stephen Means (52:07.254)

And that’s a different, that’s a different conversation because you’re ready to say no. That’s a different conversation. Then championship caliber. That’s a, as I just mentioned before, Stetson Bennett was not better than CJ shroud, but he went toe to toe with him. And he went toe to toe with him. Right. So like him going toe to toe canceled out that.

Andrew (52:25.486)

Sensenbettit was not better than Bryce Young, I don’t think. And he won a national championship, yeah.

Stephen Means (52:35.318)

in my brain at least canceled out that advantage that Ohio State had because he did it too. He had almost 400 yards and three touchdowns too. So it canceled that out. So that’s why I asked the question, does it have to have the best quarterback? We don’t have to talk about Akron, Western Michigan and Marshall. They’re gonna have the best quarterback in that game.

against Marshall, excuse me, against Michigan State? I don’t know. Like I just mentioned, Aiden Chiles might be something. So I don’t know if Will Howard’s 100 % better than him. I think he’s better than him. I also don’t think it matters because Ohio State’s that much better than Michigan State. Iowa?

Andrew (53:01.902)

I think we know. I think, yeah, I think he’s better.

To me, this is a question about two programs and then whatever, playoff teams. Yeah. Yeah.

Stephen Means (53:10.934)

That’s why I asked it. It’s about the Oregon game. It’s about

Penn State, maybe, it’s not about Michigan. I don’t think Michigan’s quarterback is gonna be that good this year. It’s not gonna be the reason. It’s about the Oregon game for sure and maybe the Penn State game. But it’s also about what’s happening in December and January when you get into the playoff and you might face Quinn Uers at Texas. You might face Georges Carson Beck. You might face Bama’s Jalen Milrow, Oklahoma’s Jackson Arnold, the former five star, who is the reason why Dylan Gabriel is no longer at Oklahoma, by the way, is because they got this kid coming in. Clemson’s K. Clubnik as Clemson gets its act together.

Andrew (53:20.974)

Yeah, I agree.

Stephen Means (53:45.974)

maybe Florida State and DJ Uyengleye get something. But it’s about that. This isn’t about the regular season schedule. This is about when all the big boys come to sit at the table together and you start playing real and football gets real in December.

and you’re trying to get through a 12 team college football playoff and go win a national championship game. Does Ohio State have to have the best? Does Will Howard or Devin Brown or Julian St. Whoever wins this job, do they need to be better than those guys when they get on the field with them for Ohio State to win a national championship game? And I think at least two guys on that list, I might say yes.

Andrew (54:22.35)

No, I don’t think they need to be better. I don’t think they need to be better than like Dylan Gabriel when they walk onto the field in Eugene. I don’t think Will Howard needs to be better than Dylan Gabriel. I think those programs might have some confidence going into that game. Like what if Drew Aller gets his act together with the new offense that they’re kind of installing in Happy Valley and all of a sudden he’s got a really good quarter. He’s having a really good year and Dylan Gabriel’s obviously having a really good year. I think a lot of people are expecting that. I think he might even be the Heisman favorite right now.

Those programs might have confidence. Well, no, I was thinking betting odds, but again, according to the video game, but yeah, I think that those programs will have confidence because they’ll go, Hey, you know what? We’re playing at home and we have the better quarterback. Like we got a shot, but I don’t think you need to be the better quarterback on the field because like, I’m not trying to disrespect him, but like Penn State’s number one receiver, I think is Julian Fleming right now. And like,

Stephen Means (54:51.766)

At least according to a video game that’s coming out next week. He is the highest in trolling.

Andrew (55:20.014)

Even if Drew Aller has a better quarterback or has a better quarterback than Will Howard.

Stephen Means (55:22.486)

Hey man, listen the last dude who was wide receiver three at Ohio State and transferred to another school ended up in a Belinda Carl finals in the first rounder Not saying Julianne Fleming is going to be Jameson. Where I’m just saying don’t disrespect Julian

Andrew (55:31.406)

All right. I get it. But like, I just think Ohio State is so much more of a positive than a lot of other programs in so many areas that I don’t know if it’s quite going to matter. Now, where I do think it would matter is if you get to like the final four, where like if you’re playing like if the final four is Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas, like Ohio State in that scenario, if it’s those four teams, Ohio State might have the worst starting quarterback, quote unquote, worst.

Stephen Means (55:48.63)

That’s why I’m asking.

Andrew (56:00.718)

starting quarterback of any of those teams because Carson Beck, Jalen Milrow and Quinn Ewers, they might be better than Will Howard, but Ohio State might also have the best defense in the country at that point. Okay, well, there’s a notch in Ohio State’s category because they have a better defense than let’s say Alabama and they have a better defense than Texas. Okay, well, does Ohio State have better receivers than any of those programs? Yeah, probably. So like there’s a notch in Ohio State. It’s like.

Stephen Means (56:03.318)

right now.

Andrew (56:27.054)

Can you basically shorten that gap to as close as you can get it? I mean, obviously you would prefer him to be better, but no, I don’t think you need to be. I don’t think they’re going to be, I think if Ohio State goes to the national championship game and they play 16 games this year and they do that whole gamut. I mean, kind of eyeballing it, I would say that Ohio State has the better quarterback in 13 or 14 of those games. I think Dylan Gabriel is a better quarterback than Will Howard. Now, obviously they’re both transfers, so like we have to see.

So I think Ohio State has the better quarterback in majority of those games, but we’re gonna have to see what happens when we get to the playoff. And I just, I don’t know. I think, I don’t think you need it.

Stephen Means (57:08.182)

I think it’s gonna matter. And I think it might decide some of these games and these games where everything else is equal. To be honest with you, I think it’s what decided the Michigan game to some extent, right? JJ McCarthy was better than Carl McCord that day. Is it the only thing? No, but one threw an interception that led to points. The other one made some pretty interesting dicey throws, right? One of them was better than the other one.

And so, again, I’m not talking about the regular season. I’m talking about when you get on that stage where Ohio State might have the best defense in the country, but you know who its top competitors for that spot are? Georgia, Oregon, two teams. They’re one of which they’re definitely going to have to play at least once and maybe have to play them three times.

depending on how the season shapes out. And another one they might have to play in a college football playoff game. When U .S. is pretty good. Jackson Arnold’s an interesting one. Jalen Milro, maybe he takes a step. I’ll cut the list there. But I just think when you get on that stage, man, and it comes down to those moments, which playmakers have more moments of making plays. And that starts at quarterback. And so I don’t think they have to 100%. Like if Will Howard is...

Andrew (58:15.694)

So.

Stephen Means (58:22.998)

2 % if if Dylan Gabriel is like 2 % better than Will Howard is.

Andrew (58:27.15)

You have Dylan Gabriel’s in 97 and we’ll yeah, exactly.

Stephen Means (58:30.326)

Then like, sure, okay, whatever. But I think it matters to an extent. So have to, no. But is it like something that I think might end up deciding some of these games, these matchup games? I think that’s a yes.

Andrew (58:44.942)

So I do want to add this real quick because I know we’re going long on this particular segment. The Athletic released a projected college football playoff. They did this in late June. Here are the 12 teams. Ohio State, so they’re projected number one seed. Georgia, Florida State, Utah, Texas, Oregon, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Alabama, Penn State, Miami, Memphis. Okay, so in this scenario, Ohio State will play the winner of Notre Dame and Alabama.

So basically who has a better, who’s the best quarterback of those three? Jalen Milrow, Will Howard or Riley Leonard. I think there’s a fair argument to be made that Will Howard is not number one. He might be number three. I don’t know about Riley Leonard. I don’t know, but.

Stephen Means (59:22.902)

Right now.

Stephen Means (59:31.446)

I think that’s a different, I think with that specific example, and I don’t want to get too deep into this, without a specific example, I think you can make a case that all three of them could be one, two or three in whatever way you want to put it. But the point is, I think, yeah.

Andrew (59:40.142)

I agree. And, but that, but that’s what I’m saying. So you might play three games where you don’t have the best quarterback, or you could end up playing Ole Miss or, you know, you could end up playing Miami in the first round, or you could end up playing Memphis. You know, what if Ohio State doesn’t win the big 10 and then Ohio State’s the five seed and they’re playing that Memphis game in five. And it’s like, all right, well you have better quarterback there. And then you’re playing the four seed who ends up being like, I don’t know, Utah.

And you’re like, well, their quarterback’s better than Utah. And then all of a sudden, you’re in the Final Four, and you’re like, wait a minute. Now we’re playing X. And it’s like, all right, well, it’s not fair. So there’s a lot of different permutations. But the scenario exists where they have the better quarterback in 15 out of 16 games. And the scenario exists where they get a bye in the playoff. But hey, guess what? You don’t have the better quarterback in the quarterfinals, in the semifinals, and the national championship.

Stephen Means (01:00:29.302)

So I think when I say better quarterback, I mean, he plays better than the other guy in the game. Like what they’re doing right now, right now, you can put whoever you want. They’re not playing football against each other. But for those 60 minutes, does Will Howard or Devon Brown have to be better than the quarterback on the other side of the field?

I am not going to say, I am going to lean yes. In that 60 minute game, if he’s better than him, I like Ohio State’s chances to winning. If he’s not better than whoever that guy is, I don’t like Ohio State’s chances of winning. We went wrong there. That’s right now. That’s the present. That’s the five man room right now. We’re gonna take a last break here and we’ll come back and we’ll head into the future and see if the future is just as bright as the past has been for Ohio State at quarterback.

The season is here, man. I’m telling you, Big Ten Media Days is in two weeks. Fall Camp is in three weeks. Get the text 614 -350 -3315. Right now, we are resetting the programs, the state of the program five years into the Ryan Day era, looking at the past, the present, and the future of what the first five years have been and what’s coming up next.

I’m Stephen Means and that’s Andrew Gillis. I almost said I was Andrew and you were Stephen, but that would have been very, very wrong in that situation. We’ve already looked at the past and the present, and now we’re going to look at the future, Andrew, where I think there’s both intrigue, excitement, but then also some question marks.

Right? Because what you have right now is a five man room with Will Howard, Devin Brown, Lincoln Keenholz, Julian Sand, Aaron Nolan, and obviously Tavian St. Clair, who I think is the number 10 player in the country right now, number three quarterback. He’s creeping. He’s starting to creep. So that’s right. That’s what we know. That’s for sure. What’s happening right now with Ohio State. Will Howard’s done after this year, so he’s not a part of this future conversation. Devin Brown could come back, right? So he could be a part of the futures conversation.

Stephen Means (01:02:15.542)

Lincoln Kinnos could come back. He’s a part of the future conversation. And I think we’re just expecting Julian Sand and Aaron Nolan to both be here when spring starts in 2025, the true freshmen. And that’s just how that’s going to go. And Taven St. Clair is going to join that. I don’t want to.

Let’s not do the who we think is gonna be and who’s not. Let’s just do who could potentially, what the room could look like if nobody leaves and Tavian St. Clair enters. Cause we know guys could leave the transfer portal exists. But also we said that when the spring started, they held on to all five quarterbacks. Devin Brown, Lincoln Keynote, Julian Sand, Aaron Nolan, Tavian St. Clair, that’s the future. That’s potentially what 2025 could look like when they start winter workouts.

I want to evaluate the four younger guys who are maybe a little less known in this conversation. And that’s Lincoln Kienholz, that’s Julian Sand, Aaron Nolan, and Tabin Sinclair. Lincoln Kienholz first.

What does his path to the field look like? Let’s just do that first and foremost. Let’s do that with each of those next four guys, Lincoln, Julian, Aaron, Tavian, St. Clair. What do you think the path is for Lincoln, Kienhos, for Aaron Nolan, for Julian Sand and Tavian St. Clair individually to the field to be Ohio State starting quarterback? Well, that’s in 2025 or beyond.

Andrew (01:03:35.694)

Okay. So Lincoln, Julian, Ayr, Tavian. Okay. So Lincoln, I think this scenario there, I think is fairly simple. I think Lincoln needs to get onto the field early in 2024. Like when the score is 512 to two against Akron. Like Lincoln needs to get onto the field and play well in those moments to where they say, Hey, maybe we, maybe we see something here with Lincoln, right? Maybe.

Stephen Means (01:03:42.006)

Yes.

Andrew (01:04:05.23)

Maybe there’s something there where, you know, Lincoln is our number three, because I think if Lincoln gets boxed out by Julian in the first couple of weeks, I have a hard time seeing how he would recover from that because, you know, like if Julian’s going to pass you on the depth chart by the end of September or something like that. I mean, do we really think Lincoln’s going to come back and take that job maybe in February? I don’t, I don’t know. And I would probably bet against that. So.

For me, Lincoln has got to kind of make a case early. And I mean, this is training camp too, but you know, he’s got to make a case early that he deserves to be the leader in the clubhouse after Howard and Brown, because I think we’re all going to be in agreement that Howard and Brown right now are the number one and number two quarterbacks on the roster. So Keenholz has got to be that number three. If he’s not the number three, then I think...

I think he’s in trouble and I think in terms of playing at Ohio State and I think, you know, we’re probably talking about Lincoln Keane -Holtz wearing a different uniform in the fall of 2025 if, you know, if he’s not, if he kind of falls behind Err or Julian. Julian’s saying, I think is pretty simple. I think it’s, if you can just prove that you’re the third best quarterback on the team right now, you’ve got the inline starting job to,

to next year, right? Because we don’t know what’s gonna happen with Devin Brown. We don’t know what’s gonna happen moving forward. And I think we saw enough with Julian where we saw the talent, we saw the arm talent, we saw the poise, we saw the traits that you need to see out of a freshman and you go, okay, you know what, if he’s this good now, can he continue to get better? Can he continue to grow physically and mentally and emotionally and all those things that.

You know, you need to be the starting quarterback in a program like Ohio State. So I think if you could just prove that you’re the third best quarterback on the depth chart right now, you would think you’re going to get better over the course of a year. So I would feel pretty good about Julian if he could do that. With air, to me, you got to beat Julian out. If you don’t beat Julian out, then again, I think we’re in the same situation as Lincoln where it’s like, all right, man, if you don’t beat Julian out...

Andrew (01:06:23.63)

I just don’t see a reasonable path here for you. you know, because then if, if Julian is going to be the guy, like Aaron Nolan is not going to start this year for Ohio state. So, you know, let’s say the best case scenario for Julian sand is that he plays two years at Ohio state and he goes to the NFL after his third year. Well, then we’re talking about fourth year, Aaron Nolan’s who is still is like, is he still on the team at that point? These have Julian sand’s just a better quarterback than him. You know,

It’s just a tough place to be. So to me, with Eric comes out of Julian saying, can you beat out Julian saying now? And can you kind of continue to beat him out into the spring? Tavion’s the interesting one. And I know this is something that we’re going to talk about. This is the most intriguing guy to me in the room moving forward, because Tavion has so much electricity around his name right now, so much like positive vibes around his name right now. People are talking about him.

you know, as maybe one of the better quarterbacks Ohio State has ever recruited and maybe one of the quarterbacks that is up there with CJ Stroud and can be up there with CJ Stroud. So it’s like, for me, it’s a little bit similar to air where it’s like, can you come in and prove that you are the guy behind Julian? Because I think if Julian is that level of quarterback that we think he can be, we might not be talking about Tabian Sinclair starting meaningful games at Ohio State until...

2027. It might be Julian on the bench in 24, Julian starter in 25, 26, and then 2027, Tavon St. Clair is the starting quarterback of Ohio State in his third year. And it’s just an interesting case because it’s like, can he be a top level quarterback? Does he have first overall pick in the NFL draft level of outcome? Yes, he does. I think so does Julian Saen though. And that’s a great place to be for Ohio State, but...

Steven, I think you said this, you’re not gonna take out a top five overall pick in the NFL draft to put in a guy who you think can also be a top five overall pick in the NFL draft. You don’t take out a guy who’s playing well, who’s playing at that level for a guy who you think can play that well who’s a year younger. So for me, to me the Tavian thing is very interesting because I think he has a tough path, but I think it’s also possible that he just comes in and proves that he’s the best quarterback in the room. So Tavian is a 2026 conversation for me.

Stephen Means (01:08:59.734)

sorry. Izzy?

Andrew (01:09:04.078)

Is he a 2026 conversation? I think so.

Stephen Means (01:09:09.27)

I’m still trying to figure out how to talk about Tavian, clearly, because I think I have had some...

You know, conservativeness with it. I don’t think I’ve been out there as much as you have maybe maybe just some other people who cover recruiting have been with Tavian, but

Also,

He’s from Ohio so he can spend as much time as possible around Chip Kelly and Ryan Day as humanly possible, right? It’s a 30 minute drive for him to get down here.

This team is gonna be resetting.

Stephen Means (01:09:49.622)

next year.

in a way that I think might be setting up for the most intriguing quarterback battle we’ve seen since Dewayne Hoskins and Joe Burrow in 2018.

If Julian Sand did not exist and we did not know what we know about Julian Sand, what he’s been able to do, very easy. And again, it’s practice, right? He hasn’t actually done anything on the football field yet, but it seems like he’s ahead of the curve a little bit. If Nick Saban doesn’t retire, so Julian Sand is just down there at Alabama, would you be prepared to put your name on a headline of some sorts that said Taven St. Clair could come here and compete for the job as a true freshman in 2025? Yes.

Andrew (01:10:32.782)

in 2025? I think so. Yeah, I think that’s absolutely possible. The thing that would scare me was that you open against Texas.

Stephen Means (01:10:37.654)

Like with both his talent.

No, for sure. But it kind of is what it is. That’s why I’m asking them. Let’s take this. Because that’s getting into the minutia of that. Right. The schedule. Do you want to throw a true freshman into that conversation? And I think that game is in Columbus, which helps. But do you want to throw a true freshman into the fire like that?

Andrew (01:10:45.197)

But at that point, yeah, at that point it is what it is.

Stephen Means (01:10:58.454)

You know, I remember CJ Stroud his first game as a true starter, even though he was a redshirt freshman, was on the road against Minnesota in a Thursday night game against a veteran team. Right. But also Texas is going to be reset. Quinure isn’t coming back. You know, Archie Manning will be in year one as a starting quarterback. That’s why I’m asking the question, though. Let’s take some minutia out of it. Let’s just focus simply on what Taven St. Clair is as a talent. Physically. 64 to 25.

And that’s without going through a college football way program. But also he has access to the building. So I’m quite sure he’s been using the equipment in there.

Physically what his raw talent is What nine months in the program because he’s gonna get here in January for good will do for him

Stephen Means (01:11:51.862)

Realistic conversation, like is that worth having a conversation that like if Julian Sand didn’t exist, Taven could come in here and be the starter as a true freshman. As a guy who might end up being the number one player in the country by the time it’s all said and done.

Andrew (01:12:06.926)

Yeah, I think so.

Stephen Means (01:12:09.526)

Okay, if that’s what we think.

Stephen Means (01:12:15.062)

and we’re talking about the future of Ohio State.

This is a future is always a hypothetical conversation.

Stephen Means (01:12:32.054)

I’m trying to figure out how to ask this. It would seem like he’s the most intriguing guy of any of the people, any of the six people, quarterbacks associated with Ohio State right now.

Andrew (01:12:41.518)

Yeah, I agree.

Stephen Means (01:12:46.518)

What if he’s the starter in 2025?

Andrew (01:12:49.838)

If he’s a starter in 2025, then Ohio State’s quarterback depth charts going to be crazy because then you’re talking about it. You go from CJ Stroud to Kyle McCord, the Kyle McCord, Devin Brown experience. Then you go to Will Howard and then it’s like, well, here’s this, you know, you think, you know, the savior is here with Julian Sand. And you think, Hey, look, we have, you know, this other five star guy who, you know, Hey, maybe if we just, you know, Will Howard and Devin Brown can get us good quarterback play.

in 2024, but Julian Sayen might be great. And then all of a sudden you just like, you get this racehorse that just comes out of nowhere out of the back and wins the Kentucky Derby. And you’re like, wait a minute, where did this guy come from? And now all of a sudden you’re mapping that out. It would be a crazy turn of events because then you’re talking about a situation where Kyle McCord leaves. If Tavion St. Clair is the starter in 2025, Devin Brown’s not here. Lincoln Kienholtz is not here.

Stephen Means (01:13:44.886)

Okay, cool. I’m glad you went down the road. Does any of that matter?

Andrew (01:13:48.494)

Not, not, no, if Tabian Sinclair is good enough to be the starting quarterback in August of 2025, it does not matter what happens with Julian Sand or Aaron Nolan or Devin Brown. Realistically, obviously you want to have as good of a backup quarterback as you possibly can. Obviously you want to have as much talent as you can on the quarterback depth chart. But if you’re starting a guy as a true freshman, because you think he can get you national championship level quarterback play, which is kind of the whole conversation of this podcast. If you think Tabian Sinclair is a national title winning quarterback.

Stephen Means (01:13:52.182)

and

Andrew (01:14:16.622)

in his freshman year at Ohio State and you know you have him for three more years. How concerned are you about what’s going to happen on your third quarterback on the depth chart? Right? Like then you’re really talking about, I mean, we’ve talked about this a little bit on the pod, the 2026 quarterback, you might have to go a little bit more of a development route. You might have to go maybe a little bit more of a Keenholz guy where, you know, Hey, we need somebody who’s kind of on a little bit longer of a development track who

you know, maybe a four star player, you know, not a top 100 recruit who we like the physical traits, but, you know, maybe takes a year or two to kind of get to a point where we think we can play him. Well, I mean, if Tavian Sinclair is the starter, what benefit does Julian Sand have to hang around? What benefit does Aaron Olin have to hang around? What benefit does Linga Keenholds have to hang around? They don’t really have one at that point because there’s a guy that’s younger than them on the depth chart that’s starting above them. And you’re not just going to hope and pray, especially for all of these quarterbacks that, that, you know, Tavian Sinclair are like,

doesn’t play well or he gets hurt and you can step in and take the reins because Julian Sayne is good enough to start at a lot of programs in college football. Lincoln Keenholtz is good enough to start at a fair number of college football programs right now. Devin Brown is good enough to start at a healthy number of college football programs right now. Aaron Nolan, eventually. You’re talking about quarterbacks that are good enough to play elsewhere and if Tavian St. Clair comes in and is the quarterback as a freshman, that’s a whole different conversation.

Stephen Means (01:15:40.15)

So I want to step away from the transfer part of it because maybe they stick around, who knows? We asked Devin Brown, are you gonna stick around? Well, no, I mean, people keep asking Devin Brown if he’s gonna transfer and he keeps telling us no and he keeps backing it up, so who knows? I want to make, the reason I asked the question wasn’t about how it throws the current rumor. I asked the question,

Andrew (01:15:45.998)

You can do what you want. Yeah, absolutely. We just have to ask, we just have to act realistically that, you know, hey, look, you know.

Stephen Means (01:16:07.606)

because from a recruiting standpoint, the idea of that, do you think that in any way is impacting what Ohio State is able to do in terms of recruiting the 2026 class and maybe the 2027 class from a quarterback standpoint, where we’re talking about a world where there’s already a guy on the roster where we’ve had a conversation about, hey, can be a starter as a true freshman, right?

And then we just had a conversation about another guy who’s not going to be here for another six months. Hey, can he be the starter as a true freshman? And you mentioned it. Ohio State might have to take a developmental guy. I don’t, you’re saying that as if that’s Ohio State’s wanting to do that. I don’t agree that they’re wanting to do that. I think they want to go get the best quarterback in the country. I think this is more of a

Andrew (01:16:50.702)

I hear you.

Stephen Means (01:16:54.39)

This is what they’re gonna have to do because every so often guys are gonna tell them no, which gets into the future conversation I’m trying to have in terms of some of the questions I wanna ask here is, I had two lingering questions and we’ll get into the second one in a minute. The first one is, can Ohio State continue to keep it all together or does it matter? In terms of.

When I say does it matter, it’s like, is this something that they’re just going to have to figure out every year and you just go with it? Sometimes you’re going to have three like they’ve had. Sometimes you’re going to have five, but the more important part of can they keep it all together? Ohio State is living in a world right now where if you go back to 2020, which is Orion Day’s first class as Ohio State’s head coach.

You go get a top 50 recruiting CJ Stroud. Then in 2021, you go get a five star in column of court. And then you also get Quinn Uris, who’s kind of both 22, 23, 21 at the same time. You get Devin Brown, but it set up a world where in 2023, none of the top dogs wanted to come to Ohio State because they looked at that room probably and said, there is not a real path. That’s not even realistic for me to try to maneuver through all that and get here. That’s how you ended up.

First they had brought Glenn, but he ends up flipping the Florida State and then they ended up with Clint Lincoln, Keenholz. So here we are again, right back in this cycle of Ohio State is still trying to go get the best quarterback you can get. And what did he get? He got Dylan Riola, he flips, they get Aaron Nolan who was like a five star recruit at one point, Julian Sand transfers in. But then they also, you got Tavon St. Clair in your 2025 class who’s like the number 10 player in the country right now. And it’s trending towards a way that I’m not gonna be shocked if he’s the number one player in the country by signing day whatsoever. Especially when you look at what he’s been

doing at Bell Fountain and how much better he’s gotten every single year statistically. He might build on a year where he had, I think, like 37 touchdown passes last season. He might build on that. So maybe guys in the 2026 class, whereas we’ve kind of hinted at maybe some guys who could have been in the conversation. Jared Curtis has already committed to Georgia. Dia Bell’s committed to Texas. Brady Smigel’s committed to Florida State. You know, we can keep going down. Jayden O ‘Neal recently just committed to Oklahoma. All the top guys are committing elsewhere.

Stephen Means (01:19:00.662)

Is this like normal expectation for Ohio State quarterback recruiting where they’re going to go get top guys and then maybe every two or three cycles there’s a cycle where because the room is so loaded, the top dogs tell you no, but it also doesn’t matter that they told you no because you spent two or three years loading up the room.

Andrew (01:19:18.67)

Yeah, I think that this is totally realistic and totally reasonable because, you know, I mean, look at the room, like you have Lincoln Keenholz in 23. You know, you, you have Brown in 2022. You have McCord and Ewers in 2021. I know that Ewers thing was a little bit different, so it’s not even kind of worth counting him, but like that’s where the quarterback room is at. You know, they had to take a development guy in that path anyway. And

The McCord thing didn’t work out. I mean, without relitigating that, the McCord thing didn’t work out. He’s not at Ohio State anymore. He wasn’t maybe the quarterback that you would hope a five -star quarterback would be. So I think it just might be the way of the world because that’s the things that are going to happen where guys are going to tell you no, or let’s say your development project hits, but then the guy who’s a five -star doesn’t. And then afterwards you have like a year or two gap where...

you know, things are going wrong and maybe you’re in a situation like you’re in this year where you’re like, you know what, we have good, but not top five quarterback play in the country. So again, yeah, I think that this is a totally reasonable and totally fair kind of expectation for, you know, for Ohio State’s quarterback recruiting.

Stephen Means (01:20:30.274)

And then the last thing we don’t this doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Chip Kelly is technically the quarterbacks coach here, but these quarterbacks are coming here to learn from Ry Day. Right. So there’s that there’s like the two part of this, which is why they were able to get away with Corey Dennis being the quarterback coach for so long.

I’ll put the over under at one and a half years for Chip Kelly. Over under one and a half years, Chip Kelly is Ohio State’s offensive coordinator.

Andrew (01:21:03.342)

That’s a good question.

Cause I think the possibility, like if Ohio state does what they want to do and they win the big trio, you know, they win the big three, they win the triple crown. I will, if you say it like that, they win the triple crown to invoke horse racing again. You know, you win, you beat Michigan, you win the big 10, you win a national championship. Might be more likely that Chip Kelly’s gone. You know, it might be more likely that Chip Kelly’s an NFL offensive coordinator in 2025. And I think that that outcome is likely for Ohio state, like more likely than

I guess maybe like losing to Michigan and kind of, you know, having to run it back again, like they did this year. So I’m going to say over, because I think it’s the safe answer. I think, you know, maybe the, the risky answer would be like, it’s so, it goes so well in Ohio state just says, or they, excuse me, the Chip Kelly just says like, Hey, I did what I came here to do. We won a national championship. You know, we, we, we, we did some great things here. I have a ring.

to go to the NFL now and I’m going to coach offenses or I’m going to coach quarterbacks or I’m going to coach whatever at the NFL level. I think over, I think if you were to say two and a half, I would say under. I think we’re going to get like a year or two out of Chip Kelly and then I think he’s going to be headed to greener pastures. And I don’t want that to sound like he’s like abandoning Ohio State or I think it’s a bad thing. I just think that that might be the way that this works.

Stephen Means (01:22:30.498)

The reason I asked this question is just because Ryan Day did something very important this offseason by giving up play calling and he gave it up to Bill O ‘Brien first. But when that fell through with Bill O ‘Brien taking the job at Boston College to be their head coach, his mentor just so happened to quit his job and come, you know, want to work for him, right? So it worked out perfect. Ryan Day had to give up the thing he loves most maybe about being a

coach and that’s play calling and he had to give it up to the person he maybe trusts the most in the college football world and eventually that guy’s not going to be here calling plays right and so Ryan Day grew as a head coach I don’t think he’s going to go backwards and take play calling again but it’s just going to be interesting when he has to make that hire again and the options aren’t Bill O ‘Brien or Chip Kelly available readily right then and there for him to get it

Who does he turn to next? I think that’s where the important thing is not about the quarterback play. I think Chip Kelly is going to be here for at least two years because of who he’s working for. If it wasn’t Ryan Day, I think he’d be gone after the year if they won a national championship. I think he would have gotten the refresher that he needed and just being able to coach ball again and not worry about all the other stuff that comes with being a head coach and I think he might be gone after one year. But Ryan Day is his guy.

So it’s when you know, Sam, when you’re working for your guy, you maybe stick around a little bit longer when you’re working with your guy, right? It tends to let you feel like you can wait for the perfect thing and not just the first thing. Right. So I think I’m. I’m going to take the overs. I said one and a half, I think I might take the under Andrew. I think I agree with you. If I said two and a half, I might have taken the under.

now like this is a coordinator who’s also a pretty good coach and maybe somebody and someone’s gonna want him next offseason for sure it’s about whether or not he wants to leave but I think the fact that the type of program he’s at the way he talked about why he gave up head coaching in the first place but also Ryan Day’s his guy might incline him to want to stick around a little bit longer than he would okay that’s an hour and a half deep dive into the state of Ohio State’s quarterback room where I think

Stephen Means (01:24:41.91)

Both of us think it’s been very healthy through the first five years of Brian Day. We think it’ll be pretty healthy in 2024. And in some hyperbolic way, we just had a conversation about it’s gonna be very healthy in the future.

and the way they’re recruiting the room. We do think this can keep up. That’s part one of our nine part state of the program conversation where we’re breaking down position by position, looking at the past, present and future. Tuesday up next are the running backs, which are in an interesting spot. New head coach, new, excuse me, new position coach. Some old guys at the top.

Some young guys at the bottom, some recruits coming in and a coach who can talk to talk and is not going to show us whether or not he can walk to walk. That will be the Tuesday pod. This is offensive week for this and obviously we’ll do the defense the following week. Get the text 6 1 4 3 5 0 3 3 1 5 big 10 media days right around the corner as we enter the 2024 season. The season is here man. Stefan will be with us shortly as we start this run towards getting ready for the 2024 season. Get the text 6 1 4 3 5 0 3 3 1 5 2 week free

Trial 399 after that hero and Buckeye talk.

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Is Ohio State prepared to defend its quarterback status in a new Big Ten? Buckeye Talk podcast (2024)
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