And while Ohio State is expected to release its week one depth chart Tuesday, don’t expect an answer on whether sophomore J.T. Barrett or junior Cardale Jones will trot out with the starting offense against Virginia Tech just yet.
“If you look at J.T.'s game plan when he was our quarterback and Cardale, it's very similar,” head coach Urban Meyer said during his Monday press conference. “There is a chance they'll both play as well, so that hasn't really -- in our mind-set we're game-planning our offense and they're both executing very well.”
The quarterback battle is so close in the mind of Meyer that he didn’t rule out the possibility of treating the situation on a week-to-week basis.
“That's not uncommon. That is the same with the other positions as well,” Meyer said. “You have to show up every day and compete.”
Compete is something both quarterbacks did at a high level last season, as Barrett finished fifth in the Heisman voting while winning the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year Award and Jones led the Buckeyes to a national title for the first time since 2002.
But it is more than just winning and accolades that Meyer is looking for in his starter week one. The fourth year head coach said performance at practice, leadership and toughness among other things will decide the battle under center when the Buckeyes begin the season Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech.
One of the qualities on Meyer’s list, leadership, seems to be a quality of Barrett’s as he was named one of six Buckeye captains of the 126th team at Ohio State.
But even so, Meyer said that leadership alone won’t be enough to win the starting job.
“The guy that's going to give us the best chance to move down the field is going to be the guy taking the snap,” Meyer said. “J.T., I got asked that question by some friends. That means he's a captain. Not necessarily going to take the first snap.”
Another one of the six captains, junior safety Tyvis Powell, is roommates with Jones and said he has been hanging around with both quarterbacks a lot outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
According to Powell, the nationally discussed competition could not be more subdued outside of the practice facility.
“For the past couple of days, I have had the luxury of kicking it with J.T. and Cardale,” Powell said Monday. “They have just been the same people they have been all summer. Nobody really talks about the quarterback competition. They have built a bond with each other that, no matter who is the starter, they are going to support each other.”
While the battle to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State might not be as heated between the two as some might think, Powell said another competition riles up the pair of gunslingers.
“In Madden it goes down every day,” Powell said. “For a long time Cardale was the king. Nobody could beat Cardale, but since a couple months ago J.T. has had Cardale’s card.”
Powell continued to joke that at first, he had a hard time taking on the quarterbacks in the football video game but claimed that he beat Barrett by 21 in a game just yesterday.
“The first time I played J.T., he would pay attention to the defense that I come out in and he would switch the whole play up,” Powell said. “And I was like, ‘This is why I don’t like to play the quarterbacks, cause y’all be cheating. Y’all know all that stuff.’ But as the times moved on it doesn’t matter what they do because I got both of their cards, they can’t beat me.”
All joking aside, Powell said that it won’t affect him much either way when the starter is announced because he is just focused on doing his job.
“This is how I look at the whole quarterback situation – I play defense,” Powell said. “My job is to get the ball back to the offense. It don’t matter who is back there.”
When it comes to deciding on who the starter will be, Meyer said he will likely decide between the two on Wednesday, which begins the odd game week preparations with the opener being played on a Monday night.
But when will the media and the general public find out who the starter is?
“When the first guy takes the snap,” Meyer said.