Imagine being Tim Beck.
You had a pretty successful run at Nebraska under Bo Pelini, turning the Huskers offense into a creative, hard-to-defend unit that just couldn’t overcome a leaky defense, leading to the firing of your staff last December.
Urban Meyer calls. It’s perfect – you’ve worked with Ed Warinner before and you get to return to your home state of Ohio to continue your career with the defending national champions.
And then it hits you – you’re gonna be part of the discussion that happens when it’s decided which one will be the starter on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg.
Pretty crazy, right?
"This will be it, there's no question,” Beck said Monday when asked if this was the most notable QB competition he’s been a part of. “(There’s been nothing in my career) this magnitude, not to this level. Both of them have won, both of them are very intelligent, both of them understand the offense, both of them are talented.”
Indeed, there’s really no way the coaches can get the choice wrong given the talent, work ethic and accomplishments of Jones and Barrett, the two Buckeyes remaining in the competition.
And with that in mind, Beck went to a novel choice Monday when it came to seeing who would get the first rep. As it turned out, tails failed, as Jones chose heads and won a coin flip, giving him the opening chance to run the first-team offense Monday. Barrett will get that chance Tuesday now.
It was a nod to how neck-and-neck the situation is, and a nod to how difficult it will be to make the choice. In many ways, it will be a choice not made by Beck, who knows Warinner and Meyer have a lot more experience when it comes to knowing the dynamics involving Jones and Barrett.
“He’s not making that decision,” Meyer said. “That’s not fair. He’s learning the offense and he’s got a very good football mind, and we’re going to make (the choice) together. Ed Warinner is going to be involved in the decision (as well), and (I told Tim), ‘Coach them as hard as you can,’ but I’ve not put that on him. That’s not fair.”
You might think that’s weird to Beck, but the whole thing is fine to the Youngstown native who has more than 25 years of coaching experience.
“Not at all,” Beck said. “(Meyer) has been here, he knows the guys. Obviously, it's Coach's program. I think Coach Warinner will be involved. I think through the process as we go, everyone will have some input to some degree because everyone is going to see practice. They're going to see it unfold. They’re going to get a feel for all the intangibles, they're going to get a statistical analysis and the data and all the types of things that we're going to do to sit down and evaluate these guys.
“I think everyone will have some input to some degree but obviously Coach will make the final decision. I'm great with that."
Beck said he’ll look at the numbers every day, and feel will have a lot to do with things as well. He figures that after nearly a month of practices, the Buckeyes will have their answer as to who should be the first man to take a snap when the season begins at Virginia Tech.
In the meantime, Beck hopes to bring a new eye to the proceedings as someone who hasn’t been around the Ohio State program the past few years like Meyer and Warinner. He’ll coach each player and give the input he can when it comes to the decision.
And in the end, maybe he can just a flip a coin again.
“I do (think we could do that),” he said, referencing just how good each of the two players can be. “I think they've been very well coached. The system is in place, they follow it. It's amazing to see it first hand and be a part of it. I think in the end it'll work itself out. I think through the 28, 29 practices that we're going to have going into the first game, there will be a front runner."