Kyle McCord named Ohio State football's backup quarterback against Notre Dame
Sophomore Kyle McCord is beginning the season as Ohio State’s backup quarterback.
Coach Ryan Day confirmed during his weekly news conference on Tuesday that he was ahead of freshman Devin Brown for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
In the event of an injury to C.J. Stroud in Saturday’s season opener against Notre Dame, it would be McCord to step in behind center.
“Going into this first one, Kyle just has a little bit more experience, understands the offense a little bit more, has a little bit more under his belt,” Day said. “We feel like, if we need to, he would be the guy.”
McCord started last season when Stroud rested his injured right throwing for the Buckeyes’ final non-conference game against Akron.
In the 59-7 rout of the Zips, he completed 13 of 18 passes for 319 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
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Brown enrolled a semester early earlier this year to join the program for spring practice.
The pecking order between them was not set for the full season. Day said their development would continue to be evaluated.
“We’ll see where it goes,” Day said. “Those guys got to show up every day, compete and get better. In Devin’s defense, he’s been here for about seven months, and Kyle’s ahead of him right now because of his experience.”
Both of the quarterbacks had decorated recruiting pedigrees, each ranked as the sixth-best quarterback in their class, according to the composite rankings compiled by 247Sports, and are in line to compete for the starting job next year if Stroud leaves for the NFL.
“Just want to make sure those guys continue to get better.” Day said. “When they have an opportunity to get in the game, they got to go prove that they can do it in the game, because one of the hardest things is being a backup quarterback.
“You're getting older, you're getting certain reps in practice, but you're not getting game reps. As the season goes on, you'll get to continue to evaluate those guys.”
Where will Jim Knowles be?
Jim Knowles declined to reveal whether he will call the Buckeyes’ defense from the sideline or the press box coaches’ booth this fall.
Knowles, the first-year defensive coordinator, at first put off addressing the question, expressing no preference for his play-calling perch.
“I prefer what works best,” Knowles said. “I have done both. That's still under discussion. Maybe I’ll do a half up, a half down.”
When asked further about whether he was surprised the situation hadn’t been sorted out only four days before kickoff, Knowles stalled no more, leveling with the room of reporters.
“I’ve got it worked out,” he said. “I’m just not telling you.”
Matt Barnes and Kerry Coombs, the defense play-callers in the previous two seasons under Day, did so from the sidelines, while defensive co-coordinator Jeff Hafley was upstairs in 2019.
Ohio State changing sideline signals for Notre Dame
Day said his staff would “change things up” with their sideline signals with Al Washington now the defensive line coach at Notre Dame.
Washington was the linebackers coach for the Buckeyes for the past three seasons before he was let go in January.
“Al did an unbelievable job when he was here,” Day said, “and he's a good friend of mine. I have nothing but respect for him. He’ll have those guys charged up. But certainly he knows a lot about this program and what we do, so we definitely have to be aware of that.”
Day and Washington were also assistants together at Boston College in 2013 and 2014 as part of Steve Addazio’s staff.
Ohio State's running back rotation of TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams
TreVeyon Henderson will be up first in Ohio State’s running back rotation, followed by Miyan Williams.
Day said the Buckeyes will lean on both of them against Notre Dame.
“They both had very good camps, and we're going to get both in this game,” Day said. “They have really done a great job in three areas. They've done a good job of running the football, and they’ve done a good job in the pass game and done a good job in protection.”
Freshman Dallan Hayden, the other of Ohio State’s three healthy scholarship backs after Evan Pryor suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month, could also appear.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman