With two out of three quarterbacks in an open competition limited by injury, Ohio State’s spring practice plan has stayed the same day to day.
Coach Urban Meyer said the Buckeyes want to keep redshirt-senior Braxton Miller moving toward full health, get redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett as much practice time possible and keep redshirt-junior Cardale Jones’ foot on the pedal.
“Hoping to get J.T. Barrett a million reps, probably more than I thought we’d get him,” Meyer said during a Monday press conference. “Cardale didn’t have a particularly great day today, but he’s had a good spring and we’re getting him as much reps as we can. And Braxton’s getting healthy, and he’s getting a lot of mental reps.”
Each of the three has a chance to start when the Buckeyes open the 2015 season against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7, depending on their health.
Miller is in the process of recovering from his second labrum surgery after injuring his throwing shoulder, which held him out for the whole 2014 season. Barrett is coming off a fractured ankle suffered in late November against Michigan, and Jones is healthy, but only has three collegiate starts under his belt.
Jones has gotten the most reps in the spring, and Meyer said he and redshirt-freshman Stephen Collier will be the two Buckeye signal callers playing in Saturday’s annual Spring Game at Ohio Stadium.
Barrett has been less limited than expected, Meyer said, and has even had a chance to compete in two-minute situations in practice. The fourth-year OSU coach said the Wichita Falls, Texas, native has been more of an active participant because the team as a group knows how to avoid causing injuries in practice.
“There’s winner-loser days where you are gonna do whatever you got to do, but then there’s a day to pull up right before something stupid happens,” Meyer said. “We monitor that real close.
“If you re-injure it, he’s done for the year.”
Barrett has more starting experience than Jones, but only got his shot when Miller — who has been OSU’s starter for the better part of three seasons — was injured during fall camp.
Meyer said he doesn’t yet have a date for when Miller will be fully available again, but said the former Wayne High School signal caller has been evaluated by Dr. James Andrews, a surgeon who regularly operates on high-level athletes, multiple times. Meyer added that — even ahead of medical personnel — he trusts Miller’s take on his own status first and foremost.
“I’ve known Braxton for a long time and almost every day, ‘How’s it going, talk to me,’” Meyer said. “And he says it’s going very well.”
With three quarterbacks in three different stages of availability, Meyer said there’s no set plan for when the Buckeyes take on the Hokies in Blacksburg, Va., in less than five months.
“I don’t know who our quarterback is going to be,” he said.