Fans thinking they will leave the Ohio State spring game on Saturday knowing who will start at quarterback in the fall won't get their wish. Coach Urban Meyer said yesterday that a decision probably won't come until August.

Fans thinking they will leave the Ohio State spring game on Saturday knowing who will start at quarterback in the fall won't get their wish. Coach Urban Meyer said yesterday that a decision probably won't come until August.

But the spring game at Ohio Stadium will feature a three-man quarterback skills competition at halftime, but even in that case, the looks are slightly deceiving. Cardale Jones, who started the three postseason games last year, and J.T. Barrett, who started the 12 regular-season games, will take part, but Braxton Miller, the starter in 2012 and '13, will not.

Instead, former Ohio State quarterback and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith will be the third participant.

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Jones has been a regular during spring practice, and Barrett, who suffered a broken ankle against Michigan, has been included a little. But Miller, a two-time Big Ten MVP before he suffered a shoulder injury requiring surgery in August, still is rehabilitating.

All three are expected to be ready for preseason camp, when their competition to start for the defending national champions will be one of the most watched in college football. Meyer said he thinks the starter will become known then.

"I think the middle of training camp because every one of them deserves that opportunity, and right now, two of them aren't getting it," Meyer said. "By the middle of training camp, I think you have to have at least a handle on this thing."

Miller, with his degree in hand, still could transfer to another Division I school and play immediately, but he has not indicated whether he might do that. Through the spring, he went through warm-ups with the team, took part in meetings and was on the field watching intently as Jones, Stephen Collier and, at times, Barrett ran the show.

Meyer said the three returning starters "continue to amaze me" with the way they have worked together under the guidance of new quarterbacks coach Tim Beck.

"The power of the unit is incredible in that room," Meyer said. "Cardale has had a very good spring. J.T. has had a good spring. And Braxton is right in the middle of everything. So I am really pleased. You never knew how that dynamic would work out."

Linebacker Joshua Perry offered an interesting take on whether it is essential to have a starter in place long enough before the season opener on Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech to build team chemistry.

"We know we've got guys, so it's not as important as people would want to make it seem," Perry said. "The great thing is we know we have guys who have stepped in and made big plays in big games. So we trust everybody.

"I think that's the most important thing you're looking for when you're looking for a starting quarterback in terms of chemistry: someone you can trust. And we know we've got that. So whoever wins the job, we know we're going to be in a great place."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

SPRING GAME

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ohio Stadium

Tickets: $5

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: WBNS-FM (97.1)