New Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will be tasked with sorting through the three outstanding quarterbacks that are on the Buckeyes' roster.
As Tom Herman departed Ohio State to become coach at the University of Houston, he left Ed Warinner, his successor as offensive coordinator, the task of taking on the unprecedented three-headed monster at quarterback next season.
But two weeks after being elevated into the new job and hot on the recruiting trail along with Urban Meyer and the other coaches, Warinner neatly pushed aside that pending conundrum.
Eventually, though, it will be who to play. Cardale Jones started the past three games, including the national championship game; J.T. Barrett went 11-1 as a first-time starter before suffering a broken ankle, and Braxton Miller started the previous three seasons before a shoulder injury cost him the 2014 season.
"It will be interesting. I've never been through it; I don't think any of us have. There's not a road map for it," Warinner said. "I am sure coach Meyer will lead the way with that, we'll discuss things and keep a close eye as it evolves."
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It will be the challenge of preseason camp if all three are around by then. Although Miller is enrolled for spring semester, with his degree already in hand, he could transfer before next season and be eligible to play immediately.
"Two of those guys are still recovering from injuries, so they won't participate in full-go spring drills," Warinner said, referring to Miller and Barrett. "So we'll have to see as the summer progresses where they are in their skill sets, where they are in their recovery, and where they are in their confidence."
Much of that assessment will fall to Tim Beck, the former Nebraska offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach whom Meyer hired to replace Herman in the quarterbacks role. In addition to calling the plays as offensive coordinator, Warinner will still coach the line for which he has gained attention the past three seasons in helping launch Ohio State's prolific offense.
"Ed Warinner is certainly deserving, experienced and well-qualified for the offensive coordinator position," Meyer said last week in announcing the promotion.
Warinner understands his assignment. Meyer seeks evolution, not revolution, in the power-spread formation he has been growing since becoming a head coach in 2001 at Bowling Green.
"I've worked on a lot of different teams, and I've been in a lot of scenarios, so I bring a lot of experience," Warinner said. "And I think I understand the players that we have in the program on offense, and I understand coach Meyer's philosophy on offense.
"We have a system. We're going to stick to that system, and we're going to continue to grow and enhance it … to make sure the playmakers get the ball."
Freshening and sharpening will be his aim in guiding his fellow offensive coaches.
"'You can't sleep on the game;' that's a phrase coach Meyer uses," Warinner said. "We have to grow. We have to advance so that people don't figure us out and so that we're one step ahead of them. We'll look for new wrinkles to enhance the offense, to grow, and to keep defenses off balance."
As for working with Beck, this won't be the first time for Warinner. At Kansas in the mid-2000s under coach Mark Mangino, Warinner was the coordinator and quarterbacks coach and Beck was the receivers coach.
"The last few years, Tim was a coordinator at Nebraska, which has had one of the top offenses in our league," Warinner said. "He's from a spread-offense system. He's from the state of Ohio (Youngstown native), and we've had a working relationship before that went well.
"All those things he brings to the table, on top of the fact he's really good at what he does. So he kind of fit all the things we needed at that position to come in and replace Tom Herman, who was a great coordinator for us."