Cardale Jones, fresh off leading the Buckeyes to a national championship, completed a healthy spring as the lone returning quarterback with playing experience. Braxton Miller (shoulder) and J.T. Barrett (ankle) were still on the mend, giving Jones plenty of reps leading the first-team offense. That remained the case Saturday afternoon during the spring game.
The junior-to-be completed 19 of 42 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. The scrimmage, won by Jones’ Gray squad 17-14, was a pass-heavy affair, which allowed Jones to show off his powerful arm.
“I was with the guys I was repping with all spring,” Jones said. “And for me to be able to have all the warm reps with the guys who I think are going to be able to make plays for us in the fall, I mean, it was pretty fun.
“I hope I can carry it over to the fall.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who was not too impressed with his team’s spring as a whole, said the spring game “wasn’t a Cardale day.”
“He played behind a makeshift offensive line,” Meyer said. “I can give you a bunch of excuses but he’s got to be much sharper than that.”
Meyer then went on to talk about Jones’ spring as a whole.
“I’d give him a very good spring though. You didn’t necessarily see it today,” Meyer said.
Jones was a part of a pair of the game’s highlights – both positive and negative for the quarterback. The first was an first-half interception throw nabbed by safety Tyvis Powell – Jones’ roommate. Powell was eventually brought down on the left sideline by a Jones tackle.
Jones admitted he smiled for Powell’s selfie, and Jones had plenty to smile about at halftime when he outshone Barrett and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith during a quarterback skills competition. Jones had the furthest throw of the contest, airing it out 74 yards to beat out Smith.
“My arm was kind of tired,” Jones said. “I probably could have thrown it a little further.”
Jones also threw a pair of deep touchdown passes to Corey Smith, connecting on a 58-yard bomb in the second quarter and a 37-yard strike in the fourth.
With spring now in the past, Jones enters a crucial summer as he tries to position himself in the best way heading into preseason camp, where he will battle Barrett and Miller for the starting job.
Jones did not seem stressed in front of reporters Saturday afternoon, even when talking about the key months ahead.
“You can always work on all areas of your game,” Jones said. “But things I think I can improve on are being more of a vocal leader. Being more of hands-on with guys instead of just telling them what to do, show them and move their splits and adjust, things like that.”