McCord, Brown united despite battle


A new chapter of Ohio State football got underway this week as spring practice began at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. With it, the highly anticipated quarterback battle between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown officially kicked off as the two compete this offseason to become Ohio State’s next starting signal caller.

McCord enters the spring as the betting favorite to secure the job given his additional year in the program, as well as his short but existent starting experience. Brown brings a slightly different skill set to the table as a better threat using his legs to make plays, however, giving head coach Ryan Day options for his offense as the Buckeyes move through the spring.

Whichever direction Day ultimately decides to go, and however long it takes him to reach that decision, don’t expect the competition to create any sort of divide between the two quarterbacks. Speaking with media following Tuesday’s practice, both McCord and Brown expressed their commitment to maintaining their relationship with each other while ensuring the winner of the competition is as good as he can be when the regular season arrives.

“That’s the brotherhood,” Brown said. “Everybody is going to stick around each other no matter what, no matter who wins. We’re going to keep pushing each other every week to be the best version of ourselves. That’s how we’ve been every practice, even early on. We’re always just trying to get each other better.”

“We’ve just been competing with each other, which is good,” McCord said. “Really, ever since he got here, we knew how it was all going to shake out with the competition. But we’ve been going at it all offseason, which has been good. I feel like he’s definitely pushed me and gotten me better and vice versa. It’s a healthy competition and a healthy relationship, so I’m excited.”

In February, Day said he’d like to have a starting quarterback established by the end of spring practice but noted he’ll take as long as the competition deems necessary to identify that player. Previous competitions during Day’s tenure have not allowed for such a luxury, and it remains to be seen if either McCord or Brown can gain separation leading up to Ohio State’s spring game on April 15.

As for what he’s going to be looking for in evaluating the competition, Day singled out a particular trait both quarterbacks must have to win the job, and a trait he said both have displayed in the early stages of spring practice.

“I think the first thing is leadership,” Day said on Tuesday. “You have to be felt and heard, and they did that today. That was a really encouraging thing. I heard, after a good play or even a bad play, good leadership out there. At the end of the day, it’s our job as quarterbacks to lead the team, drive the team down the field, and score touchdowns. And being that leader is critically important.”

Day added, ”I feel like we’re going to have a great supporting cast, so the quarterback doesn’t need to be superhuman. He just needs to do his job and make routine plays routinely and then it’ll build from there. But the number one thing we’re looking for is leadership and toughness.”

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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