Although football was being played, it was a halftime performance that seemed to stand out more than the 17-14 final score at Ohio State’s annual Spring Game.
And it wasn’t a performance by the OSU Marching Band, either.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Cardale Jones stepped up to the south goal line and chucked the football 74 yards in the air to win the QB Skills Challenge against redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett and 2006 Heisman winner Troy Smith.
And that was after already playing a half of football.
“My arm was kind of tired. I probably (could) throw it a little further,” Jones said after the game.
Jones was the only one of the trio of quarterbacks who are set to compete for the starting job that took part in Saturday’s scrimmage, as Barrett and redshirt-senior Braxton Miller continue to sit out while nursing injuries.
OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game that he won’t worry about his quarterback situation until fall camp rolls around.
“I won’t spend much time at all about that, other than making sure that Braxton’s getting the proper treatments and J.T. Barrett’s moving forward,” Meyer said. “And then how we’re going to work this summer as far as those kids throwing together.”
But once the Buckeyes report for camp, Meyer said he will put a lot into making the final decision as to who will make the season-opening start against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va.
“I’ll come up with some kind of system throughout training camp that we’re going to chart everything that everyone does,” Meyer said. “This can’t be, ‘Well, I’m going with him because it’s my gut feeling.’ Those gut feelings, it’s got to be statistical analysis and data, backed up on who is going to play quarterback.”
Jones, who has taken the majority of the snaps throughout spring, struggled slightly in the Spring Game, completing 19-of-42 passes for 304 yards and two interceptions.
While he also threw two touchdowns — including a 37-yard toss to redshirt-senior wide receiver Corey Smith that clinched the win for the Gray team — Meyer said he wasn’t impressed with Jones’ performance.
“That wasn’t a Cardale day. He played behind a makeshift offensive line. I can give you a bunch of excuses, but he’s got to be much sharper than that,” Meyer said. “For the spring, I’d give him a very good spring, though. You didn’t necessarily see it today.”
Jones said that while it will be difficult with players going home for the summer, he will still have things he can improve on that aren’t necessarily physical.
“You can always work on all areas of your game. But things I think I improved on is being more of a vocal leader,” Jones said. “Being more hands on with guys instead of just telling them what to do, show them and move their splits and adjust, things like that.”
And while Jones has only started three games, albeit that those were the Big Ten Championship Game, the Sugar Bowl and national title game, he said he still wants to earn the respect of his teammates even more heading into the 2015 season.
“Carrying this leadership over to the weight room and the summer conditioning, things like that,” Jones said. “So the guys I’ll be going with can see that they can trust and believe in me and they know I got their back.”