COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback after spending his first spring with a pair of young contenders for the job.
Sophomore transfer Justin Fields and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin split time with the first-string offense during the Buckeyes’ spring game on Saturday. Day said both were still works in progress.
“I don’t think right now that we’re going to make a decision. It’ll continue through the preseason,” Day said Saturday afternoon. “These guys have to keep going. They’ll probably all have to play in some way, shape or form along the way.”
Fields — the former five-star recruit who transferred from Georgia after his first college season — took the first snaps of the afternoon. He completed only four of his 13 pass attempts, but one of them was a 98-yard touchdown bomb to receiver Binjimen Victor in the second quarter. Fields led his group to touchdowns on four straight drives after a slow start.
He said Saturday’s outing wasn’t his best performance of the spring. He gave himself a “C-plus” grade and said he has plenty of room to improve as he gets more comfortable with the new offense.
“Just getting the hang of the playbook and the receivers,” Fields said. “A lot of the concepts are the same, but it’s the route running and just the little details of it. Once I get that down it’ll take me to a different level and I can really start showing what I can do.”
Field also ran for 38 yards in a game in which opposing tacklers weren’t allowed to hit quarterbacks.
“Some of it’s hard when you’re not in a tackle situation,” Day said. “Is it a sack or is it not? Did he break out? Justin can create on the edge a little bit. We didn’t get a chance to see that as much.”
Baldwin played with the both the first- and second-string units Saturday. He completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts for 246 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Day said he was happy to see Baldwin make some good throws, highlighted by a fade route to freshman Garrett Wilson in the end zone in the second quarter.
Day said both quarterbacks will benefit from getting more of a simulated game look. Neither has started a college game before. Fields played sparingly in a backup role for Georgia last season. Baldwin was behind Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell on the Buckeyes’ depth chart.
“These guys should have been in high school this time last year. They don’t have that body of work,” Day said. “They’re still a work in progress. They’re still growing. They’re still making mistakes. To say where they are as a finished product, it’s hard to tell. We still have a long way to go.”