Ohio State wrapped up its spring practice slate on Saturday with the annual spring game, and with it, fans were able to get a glimpse of what the offense might look like under the leadership of quarterback Kyle McCord should he ultimately win the starting job.
McCord dominated the first-team repetitions in the absence of Devin Brown, who missed the game after having surgery on a finger on his throwing hand earlier in the week, giving head coach Ryan Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis plenty of film to evaluate the third-year signal caller heading into the summer.
Despite not having many of his top targets to throw to — Marvin Harrison Jr. was limited and both Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming did not play — McCord still managed to complete 18 of his 34 attempts for 184 yards and a touchdown. The lone touchdown, a 37-yard strike to true freshman receiver Carnell Tate, presented the highlight of the day for McCord in a solid if not spectacular performance. Following the game, Day offered his immediate evaluations of what he saw from McCord as all attention now turns to preparations for fall camp.
“I think what you saw in the game is similar to what you’ve seen in practice,” Day said. “There were some good things and some things you’d like to see be a little bit better. But he’s growing. I think the picture, sometimes, was clean and other times, it was not as clean. … But as you saw, there were some sparks. I thought the throw to Carnell (Tate) was an excellent one. There’s stuff he wants to look to improve on, so we’ll get on the film and figure out what that was. Overall, we’ve had 15 practices, and there was some improvement there.”
In breaking down McCord’s performance, Day said the defense often dropped as many as eight defenders against a rather bland offensive gameplan on Saturday, forcing McCord to negotiate windows against zone coverage. However, in the times when Day did dial up play-action passes or run-pass options (RPO), McCord fared well there as well, demonstrating his well-rounded skillset.
“I think Kyle can do all of those things,” Day said. “We’ve seen him do that, where he can make all those throws. He can handle play-action, he can handle the RPO, he can handle the drop-back pass. He can make the field throws. So he definitely has the skillset.”
For McCord, his latest spring practice has been about continuing to progress toward becoming a complete quarterback, something he feels he’s been able to do since arriving in 2021. While he understands there is still more he needs to show in order to win the job, McCord knows he’s setting himself up well should he get the nod in August.
“Every year, you take a step in the right direction,” McCord said of his growth. “Whether that’s spring practice or fall camp, you learn a lot along the way. You get out of it what you put into it. The more film you watch, the more repetitions you get, they help you to take those steps. I feel pretty good. I feel like I’ve come a long way from where I was when I first got here, and I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot right now.”
McCord added, “I thought this spring went well. Obviously, spring is a time when you’re putting in new stuff, seeing what works, seeing what’s good and not good for us, so it’s definitely a little bit of a learning period. But at the same time, you want to build that chemistry with the guys.”
As for the competition, itself, both McCord and Brown continue to say the right things as the two prepare to continue their respective pushes this fall.
“The competition has been great,” McCord said. “I mean, we both know what it is, but I think at the end of the day, Devin’s definitely making me better and vice versa. Even though there’s not a winner of the job yet, I think that benefits both of us. It’s going to push both of us going into fall camp, and there’s still a lot of time, so I think it’ll just keep both of us hungry.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.