New coaches always take stock of their roster when they arrive at a school, but it's hard to believe Tim Beck has ever walked into a situation quite like he inherits at Ohio State. Nor has any other college coach.
Let's see... two Big Ten Quarterbacks of the Year, two freshmen of the year, two Big Ten passing efficiency leaders. Oh, and a national champion who is the first Ohio State quarterback ever to start three postseason victories not just in a season but in a career.
"It's kind of a good problem to probably have right now, isn't it?" Beck said, confirming he has heard the questions about how he will deal with it quite a few times since leaving Nebraska to return to his home state last month.
Three was an essential number for the Buckeyes in 2014, but Beck has not given away many of his plans for 2015 yet. He did, however, say he had not given much thought to playing two from the group of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones at the same time.
"It's an interesting group," Beck said. "The little bit I've been around them, (they're) great young men, hard working. There's a tremendous bond among all three of them, which is a great tribute to (predecessor Tom Herman), what he was able to put together. They compete hard, because they want to win and they want to play, but they also help each other.."
The three bring different experiences and talents to the table, though the mix within each is unique. While Miller is the most explosive athlete and the most experienced starter, Jones has the biggest arm. Barrett has often been regarded as the consummate leader, but he also displayed playmaking ability as the regular season wore on.
As the only one of the three who is fully healthy, Jones may be able to gain a leg up this spring, but Beck downplayed that when asked about it.
"I don't know if it hamstrings us," Beck said. "I think that one thing is they've got a lot of game experience under their belt, both Braxton and J.T. Those guys have played a lot of ball games, took a lot of snaps. You could just put the film on and have the opportunity to evaluate those guys a little bit. And even really Cardale has played a fair amount.
"But there's still growth in all of those guys, there's no question. They'll be the first ones to tell you, if you would ask them."
As to what he will look for in choosing a starter, Beck sounded a lot like another coach from Ohio who is currently working in Beck's hometown of Youngstown, Jim Tressel.
"Winning," Beck said. "They've got to win. They've got to make the guys around them better. They've got to turn the ball over and get the ball to the right guys. Usually that equates to winning. If they're making the players around them better, they're doing the right things, getting the ball to the right guys at the right time, getting us the right pressure, we're probably going to be winning. So that's how you're able to evaluate the production of a quarterback. It's the offense, it's not always him or his statistics."
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