Urban Meyer didn’t name a starting quarterback after Ohio State’s first spring football practice of 2018 on Tuesday. As far as he’s concerned, that’s a good thing.
“I think I’m more stressed about center,” said the OSU coach headed into his seventh season. “I think when you have quality players going at it, there’s no stress at all.
“(I’m) worried about who’s going to be center — that’s my focus.”
Video | Urban Meyer not stressing about QB call, but is about center
As for quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Jr. entered and helped save the day at Michigan last season. Joe Burrow was the backup to J.T. Barrett in 2016, but a broken hand in preseason last year set him back. And Tate Martell, who was redshirted last year, produces touchdowns in practice when he get the chances.
“I think we’ll be fine at quarterback,” Meyer said. “Who’s it going to be? I don’t know, but I know they work really hard. And I see about two or three guys that think they should be the quarterback.
“So I spend more time at the positions that — I don’t know who’s going to be our center. I know we have some people that are gonna go after it.”
The Buckeyes are trying to replace Rimington Trophy winner Billy Price, who is headed to the NFL. Brady Taylor gained the first nod Tuesday, but Matt Burrell, freshman Matthew Jones and Josh Myers are going to get some chances.
Meyer threw another name in the pot, Joshua Alabi, whom he said he spoke with during practice about possibly taking a shot.
As with quarterback, things are fluid with position groupings from a first spring practice, but, for example:
• When the first-team linebacker corps took the field, it included Keandre Jones and Malik Harrison flanking lone returning starter Tuf Borland.
• Thayer Munford was at right tackle with the first team as expected, with Isaiah Prince flipping from the right side to left tackle taking spot vacated by Jamarco Jones. Taylor was at center, while Malcolm Pridgeon was at left guard in place Michael Jordan, who is being held out after undergoing minor offseason shoulder surgery.
• Isaiah Pryor stepped into the safety slot vacated by Damon Webb, next to returning starter Jordan Fuller. Kendall Sheffield ran with the first team at cornerback, across from returning starter Damon Arnette, while Jeffrey Okudah worked on the side after also undergoing shoulder surgery.
Meanwhile, Meyer said linebacker Dante Booker is still with the team but is recovering a second shoulder surgery in the past several months. Booker started at an outside linebacker spot until suffering a concussion in midseason. He never regained the spot.
The Buckeyes practice again Thursday, then join the rest of the student body for spring break next week. They will return to drills March 19, headed toward the spring game April 14.