Ohio State quarterback Jack Miller sees guy in the mirror as biggest challenge

Rob Oller
The Columbus Dispatch
Jack Miller, here rushing with the ball during camp, says he and fellow quarterbacks C.J. Stroud and Kyle McCord have a great relationship.

Given the circumstances — four quarterbacks but only one football — one might assume that Ohio State redshirt freshman Jack Miller keeps at least one eye on the competition.

But that assumption would be incorrect. At least the way Miller tells it, his entire focus this fall camp is on the things he can control. In a Buckeyes QB derby that includes Miller, fellow redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud and true freshman Kyle McCord — not to mention true freshman Quinn Ewers, whenever he shows up — the mirror gets full attention.

“I’m working on improving and being the best I can be. You need a level of competitiveness, but at the same time, that is your teammate and you have to treat him like that,” Miller said, adding that he has a great relationship with Stroud and McCord. He has yet to meet Ewers, who has not appeared at practice as he is working on enrolling at Ohio State as a high school senior. 

Jack Miller

Whether that all-for-one attitude is Miller's own (yes) or has been drummed into him by coaches and OSU media staffers (yes) is not as important as him living it out during practices and in team meetings, because any player who wants to see the field under coach Ryan Day better be one for all and not one for one.

Not just that, but playing the comparison game distracts a quarterback from the task at hand, which is showing up every day excited to work.

“It’s important to stay hungry every single day,” Miller said. “Camp is pretty long, so everybody is going to know if you’re going out there and don’t actually want it.”

That’s not to say Miller doesn’t watch other Ohio State quarterbacks. In fact, last season the 19-year-old from Arizona kept his gaze glued on Justin Fields, whose daily work habits and professionalism blew him away.

“Watching him every single day, he comes with the same energy, the same mindset, the same approach to practice — no matter if it’s a walk-through or a Tuesday full-padded practice,” Miller said of Fields. “He’s coming to get better every day, and you can just sense it. It was really impressive for me to see, because I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The Buckeyes have never tasted anything like the current quarterback soup, in which none of the candidates to start have attempted a pass in a college game. Stroud was the first QB off the bench last season, but quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis insists the competition remains wide open, and Miller echoed that he has noticed no “pecking order.”

“The quarterback position in general is about reps. The more the better,” quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis said. “With that, when a guy gets an opportunity he needs to maximize. That’s where we are now. When you get the opportunity to get reps you need to take full advantage.”

Dennis made clear that any OSU quarterback worried about not measuring up against the other two faces an easy solution.

“If you’re truly worried about yourself, then try to develop as a person and as a quarterback,” he said.

Miller is working on doing just that. 

“Just trying to go out and get better every day, trying to grow as a leader,” he said.

roller@dispatch.com

@rollerCD

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