A starting quarterback crucial to Ohio State’s 2019 success doesn’t even play for Ohio State.

For the sake of the Buckeyes, Jake Fromm better have done a good job mentoring Justin Fields, who spent last season backing up Fromm at Georgia before transferring to Ohio State, where he is expected to start the opener Aug. 31 against Florida Atlantic.

There is concern inside the OSU football program — ranging from the current staff to former coach Urban Meyer — that Fields will be forced to figure things out on his own without having a quarterback on the roster who came up through the Buckeyes’ carefully crafted culture; someone who can model that culture for the sophomore.

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The thinking is that as summer approaches and players begin working out with one another — NCAA rules prohibit coaches from being present — it becomes paramount that Fields not only forms deeper relationships with teammates but continues to develop a work ethic that shapes him into a more-finished product.

The Buckeyes need only look to their previous quarterback for proof of how a veteran can positively impact a younger player. When Dwayne Haskins Jr. arrived as a freshman, he was not exactly killing it in workouts. If not for the presence of three-year starter J.T. Barrett, who brought a professional attitude and action to his craft, there is some doubt whether Haskins would have lasted.

“Some think he might have washed out if J.T. had not been there,” a former player told me.

Instead, Haskins studied how Barrett went about his business and eventually applied what he learned to help turn himself into a team leader.

Without a Barrett — or Haskins (drafted by the Washington Redskins), Tate Martell (transferred to the University of Miami) or Matthew Baldwin (transferred to TCU) — to study under, Fields must go it mostly solo. He should benefit from exchanging information with graduate transfers Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak, but neither has spent substantial time at Ohio State. Chugunov arrived last July from West Virginia, where he was a backup; Hoak arrived last month from Kentucky, where the Dublin Coffman graduate had 26 career pass attempts.

From his own experience, former Ohio State quarterback Greg Frey sees value in younger quarterbacks learning under veteran starters.

“I was fortunate in 1986 that I was a redshirt and Jim Karsatos was the starter,” Frey said. “I watched what he did and I was a student of the game. I took as many mental reps as I could get and spent a year on the scout team. It was very positive in many ways.”

Frey spent the 1987 season as a backup to Tom Tupa. He played in a handful of games and said the combination of studying Tupa and playing in meaningful games “was a process that really prepared me. Especially in college and the pros, the quarterback who watches and learns typically is much more prepared.”

But Frey cautioned not to compare situations.

“It’s easy to sit back and say, ‘Gee, (Fields) doesn’t have a mentor like the last few guys did,” Frey said. “But the coaches better not be losing sleep over that, because that’s just the way it is. Fields has a tremendous quarterbacks coach and coordinator. He just needs to learn in a different way.”

Anyway, Frey reasoned, Fields did have a mentor in Fromm, who led Georgia to the national championship game as a freshman.

“Quarterbacks are very visual learners,” Frey said. “They see it and say, ‘Hey, I can do that.’ Fields just saw it in a different program. Spending a year under Jake Fromm, I would expect he learned a lot.”

He better have, because come fall semester, class is about to get much more complicated.