That's what we think, so with that in mind, we're asking 20 Questions when it comes to the Ohio State football team. Every day from now until the opening game week, we'll have our BSB writers answer one question about the Ohio State football team. Some will be serious, some will be funny, and none will be "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" But all should help you think about the upcoming season, hopefully in a different way than before.
Question 8: What kind of leash will the starting quarterback have? (Or to put it more clearly, what kind of performance would it take for the starting quarterback to fully lose that job – not just be subbed out for a series or two?)?
Ryan Ginn: Assuming that Ohio State has one quarterback taking the majority of snaps instead of splitting the reps equally, I think it will take at least one loss – probably two – before the coaches made the call to demote the starter. The reality of the situation is that both quarterbacks have legitimately demonstrated their viability – Barrett through the regular season and Jones through the postseason – which comes with the belief that they’ll be able to fight through mistakes. It’s irresponsible to expect either one to be perfect, and you can’t trot out a starter who’s scared of making a mistake. Knowing that both quarterbacks would be successful in the long run, an emergency break to refocus wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but I think it would be disastrous to yank someone long-term for anything other than a loss.
Jeff Svoboda: OK, this is an almost impossible question to answer with facts because the answer is clearly we have no idea. But I do think it's perhaps the most important question facing the Ohio State football team this year. There are two great options at quarterback in Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, and as long as the one who is in the game is playing well, then there's no issue. But what happens if the team struggles to move the ball in one game, a la the loss at Penn State last year? And what happens if a quarterback has a bad half at home and Ohio Stadium starts getting restless ... then the other guy starts warming up on the sideline?
Now, of course, the coaching staff won't be as reactionary as the fan base, but how it handles things if they start to go haywire is the million dollar question. And I mean, this is a decorated offensive staff led by one of the smartest coaches in the history of the sport, so you've got a good start there. In other words, I feel like if there's one guy given the job (i.e., no two-QB system, which changes things up a bit) and told to run with it, that guy would have to have almost a whole bad game for the staff to make a change. Like, losing in the fourth quarter kind of bad game. That's my gut feeling.
Blake Williams: Man, this is a tough one. Not only am I not sure of the answer, I’m betting that if Urban Meyer was forced to offer an honest answer on this right now he wouldn’t know either. I think this is the sort of thing that is decided in the moment and the handling of this decision could make or break the Buckeyes this season. This is where Meyer’s gut feeling will come in to play.
The hope is this problem doesn’t arise, that whoever wins the starting job never plays poor enough to even question the choice. But chances are whoever is the signal caller will face some adversity. I think the leash will be longer depending on the demeanor of the quarterback in question. If J.T. Barrett starts and struggles, but has the right attitude about it I think that grants him a longer leash. Given how much time and effort will go in to making the decision, the staff is not going to reverse course so quickly. I realize I haven’t really answered the question, and that’s because I’m not really sure. I will say that whoever starts at quarterback would have to have a pretty disastrous performance – like multiple game-changing interceptions that visibly shake them – to get pulled.
Question 1: Who Will Start At Quarterback For Ohio State?
Question 2: If Ohio State swapped coaches with the other team for every game, what would its regular season record be?
Question 3: How noticeable will the loss of Tom Herman be?
Question 4: If Ohio State could bring back one player from 2014 for this season, who would it be?
Question 5: More all-purpose yards: Braxton Miller, Dontre Wilson or Curtis Samuel?
Question 6: Aside from Michigan State, which Big Ten team should Buckeye fans be most worried about?
Question 7: Seven Buckeyes made 1st or 2nd team All-Big Ten last year (four are back). How many make it this year?