- Brian Bennett, College Football
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Ohio State has three extremely talented and accomplished quarterbacks, but the quandary is that only one can start.
Urban Meyer had a different but related situation at Florida in 2006, when he had both Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. His solution then was to use Tebow in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Could a similar strategy help the Buckeyes in 2015?
"I don't know about that, but you might have a specialty quarterback," Meyer said Tuesday when asked about the possibility.
Let's be clear here. Meyer did not say that he would use a two-quarterback system or replicate the Tebow plan, but he did say that "I've thought about that." And understandably so.
No matter who wins the job among Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, it will mean that two other very talented players will be standing on the sideline (assuming no one transfers or gets hurt). Why not put that playmaking ability to use?
The three returning quarterbacks do have varying strengths, though they're not nearly as different as Leak and Tebow were. Still, you could see perhaps using Jones and his enormous arm as the vertical passing threat and taking advantage of the unique running skills of Miller -- whose shoulder is still not fully healed right now, anyway. Then again, Jones is 250 pounds and would make a pretty good goal-line battering ram himself.
Meyer says he is continuing to take the quarterback situation "one day at a time" and that his Florida system was unique because of "a very ego-less approach to the game." That last part may be the most important trait to duplicate in Columbus this year.
Some other nuggets from Meyer's media session:
He began his news conference by saying the defending champs are "not very good right now." Much of that is due to missing players on the offensive line, both because of injury and rest for veterans. Meyer said he counted nine or 10 offensive linemen who would be ready in August who aren't available this spring. "If you want to have a bad practice," he said, "have a bad offensive line."
The defensive line also remains a concern, as the Buckeyes look to replace star defensive tackle Michael Bennett off a group that wasn't very deep a year ago. Meyer said Tommy Schutt has had a good offseason, and he expects Joel Hale to contribute somewhere. But the line still has a long way to go, especially inside. "We have bodies there, but are they where we need them to be? No, not even close," he said. "Are they trying and getting better? Yes."
Meyer once again talked about an increased role this year for sophomore Curtis Samuel at the H-back position. Meyer called Samuel a "top 5 playmaker" on the team and added that "our job is to get him on the field for 40 or 50 plays." Bri'onte Dunn, another member of the running back group who had been a forgotten man because of some on- and off-the-field issues, is starting to turn things around. "He's got some momentum, and it's showing on the field," Meyer said.
Meyer said his understanding is that "everything looks to be OK" with Braxton Miller and the NCAA over his Instagram involving nutritional supplements. Cleveland.com reports that Ohio State likely will be hit with a secondary violation but that there would be no eligibility problems.
Leading returning receiver Michael Thomas is headed for a sports hernia surgery soon, but Meyer doesn't expect it to be serious. Ryan Shazier and Tyvis Powell each had the same surgery in previous offseasons and missed no time in the following seasons.
Urban Meyer successfully used a two-quarterback system with the Florida Gators, so he has options with the three-headed QB for the Ohio State Buckeyes.