By Jim Naveau
COLUMBUS – When Ryan Day was asked Tuesday how the conversation went when he and quarterback Kyle McCord evaluated McCord’s performance in Ohio State’s 23-3 win over Indiana last Saturday the OSU coach said, “I think we both felt the same way – there were some good moments, some good throws and some other things you wish you had back.”
There were enough good things that McCord will be back as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback when Youngstown State comes to Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon.
McCord (20 of 33 for 239 yards, no touchdowns, one interception) dominated the playing time at Indiana while freshman quarterback Devin Brown got into the game for only one series in the first half and one series in the game’s final two minutes.
That disparity in playing time seemed to indicate the gap between OSU’s top two quarterbacks was larger than it had been portrayed.
Day said he hopes to be able to give Brown more playing time on Saturday.
He quickly answered, “Yes,” when questioned if McCord would start against Youngstown State.
“But we’ll try to get Devin in more. As the week goes on we will continue to evaluate them based on how they practice,” he said..
“I would have liked to have gotten Devin into the game (at Indiana) more. But like I mentioned after the game I wanted to do what was best to win the game. That was the first goal. This week we’d love to get Devin into the game more.
“I’m trying not to draw too many hard lines when it comes to this right now. I learned some things about Kyle on Saturday. I saw some things that were really good, I saw some things he’s got to improve on. I was disappointed we couldn’t get Devin on the field more. Hopefully this week we can and we can evaluate him. But Kyle is starting this week and we’ll go from there,” Day said.
“You watch Devin and he deserves to play. He’s played that way through the preseason camp. The first game came and Kyle started and continued to play. Maybe there will be more clarity going forward. I’d love to say, “Kyle is the starter and Devin’s not going to play but that’s not the case. And that’s not fair to him and not fair to the team. I do not have a crystal ball. I do not know what it’s going to look like. I wish I did.”
Some other thoughts from Day at his weekly press conference on Tuesday:
OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLES: Ohio State had only 380 yards total offense and 147 yard rushing against Indiana with a starting offensive line that had only two returning starters.
“I felt like they needed to play better in the run game. I think we were only 50 percent efficient on first and second down running the ball. That’s not good enough,” Day said. “We’re getting back to work on that this week. We got off schedule in the run game and we can’t do that.
“I don’t see anything on the film that isn’t correctible, like guys flat out getting beat or not being good enough. I would have liked to see better execution but the things we saw there are correctible,” he said.
QUIET DAY FOR HARRISON: Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was targeted eight times and caught two passes, a career low as a starter, against Indiana.
“We’re going to continually be creative and find ways to get him the ball. I thought we did that. We targeted him some. If we connect on a few of those you probably come out of the game feeling a little different,” Day said.
“There were a couple of other things that we had designed where they took him away,” Day said. “Guys like Cade (Stover) and Julian (Fleming) are going to have to step up because that is going to happen this season.”