With Braxton Miller out after shoulder surgery, the competition to back him up is among the most intense during Ohio State’s spring practice.
So far, redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones is fending off redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, coach Urban Meyer said yesterday.
“Cardale is running with the 1’s right now,” Meyer said.
Jones, at 6 feet 5 and 250 pounds, has the physical tools. One of the biggest questions about the Cleveland native has been his maturity. Jones is best-known among casual fans for complaining on Twitter in October 2012 about having to go to class because “we came here to play FOOTBALL.”
The irony was that Jones had earned Ohio State scholar-athlete status for having a 3.0 grade-point average. But that tweet did not sit well with Meyer, who imposed a one-game suspension.
“Cardale — you talk about a changed guy,” Meyer said. “He was a guy who couldn’t get out of his own way a couple of years ago. Now you’re starting to see big progress in the classroom and (elsewhere). You remember the famous tweet? He’s a different guy. He had to be a different guy, or he wouldn’t be here.”
Barrett was the first quarterback signed by Ohio State after Meyer arrived. He redshirted last season while rehabilitating a torn knee ligament suffered during his final year of high school in Texas.
“J.T. had a better day (yesterday),” Meyer said. “It didn’t start off real well, but finished pretty well. Obviously, Braxton stands right behind them and gets all the mental reps like (backup) Kenny Guiton did last year.”
The Buckeyes were off yesterday and resume practice today. This spring, none of the 15 practices is on consecutive days, except for April 11 and the spring game on April 12. That’s done by design, Meyer said, largely because research about concussions shows a higher rate of potential risk if full-contact practices aren’t spread out.
Ohio State had two days of practices in shorts two weeks ago before spring break last week. Extending spring practice over five weeks allows coaches to have more meeting time with players. NCAA rules permit coaches to work with players for 20 hours per week during active practice weeks.
Meyer continues to be impressed by freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan. “Raekwon is doing pretty good,” Meyer said. “He’s a very mature player. He’s a guy who’s got some awareness about him.” … Meyer said that cornerback Eli Apple is back practicing after missing time because of an infection.