The Ohio State Buckeyes are set to begin fall camp in a week.
The most frequent question surrounding the defending national champions during the offseason is who will play quarterback for the 2015 season. It’s dominated college football talk since OSU defeated Oregon in January.
But for the players in the locker room — whether it be redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett or redshirt junior Cardale Jones — they aren’t worried.
“I don’t think anybody is worried about (who will start),” senior left tackle Taylor Decker said while speaking to the media at the 2015 Big Ten Media Days.
Decker, who has started every game for the Scarlet and Gray over the past two seasons, emphasized that regardless of who is behind center, his role is the same.
“It doesn’t change my job at all,” he said. “I love those guys, but at the end of the day, who is at quarterback doesn’t change the fact I’m going to be blocking a defensive end almost every play.”
Contrary to popular belief, the locker room isn’t divided between the two quarterbacks, according to Decker.
Senior linebacker Joshua Perry agreed with Decker’s assessment of the state of the locker room.
“For us to see (Barrett and Jones) working so hard together and helping each other out even though they’re competing, that kind of helps with the team looking at it saying, ‘OK, they’re not all about me,’” Perry said. “So it’s hard for us to pick sides when they’re doing that.”
The mindset amongst the team is to focus on each player’s own specific unit and individual tasks.
The rest, Decker believes, is up to the coaching staff.
“I trust the coaches completely,” Decker said. “I know their process of how they approach who starts and who plays works because we have won a lot of games since I’ve been here.”
OSU coach Urban Meyer laid out that process.
Meyer admitted that, ultimately, there will be a level of gut instinct involved. However, components of the evaluation process, which has already started, will consist of leadership, an academic aspect of “how they handle their business” and how they deal with tough situations throughout the offseason.
Additionally, Meyer said they will be keeping a weekly score of Jones’ and Barrett’s performance in drills, from 7-on-7’s to third-down work. Everything from touchdowns, interceptions and pass completions will factor into the weekly score.
Meyer and his coaching staff will “chart and watch very closely” all of the data they collect. This unusual level of transparency about the process is critical to Meyer.
He believes the two quarterbacks and their families have “earned that right.”
Once the preseason evaluation process is complete, Meyer said he will refrain from naming a starter until immediately before the Sept. 7 opener against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Regardless of who wins the job — Jones or Barrett — Decker and his teammates said they won’t worry.
“We’ve seen that we can win with both Cardale and J.T.,” Decker said.