Tim Beck getting to know Ohio State's QB options

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There's obviously no reason to worry about having enough talent on hand.

To be sure, all Tim Beck has to do is count the individual honors piled up by the guys in his new meeting room at Ohio State or pop in game tape of any of his top three options.

There's no incentive to rush out a pecking order, either. For starters, Beck will have only one of the three trophy-winning passers completely healthy for spring practice while the other two heal from injuries ahead of what could be a monumental battle in training camp in August.

For now, the pressure to evaluate and oversee a three-headed monster in his new role as Ohio State's quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator is mostly off, leaving Beck time to get to know the trio of Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller as something other than the potential centerpiece of a dominant offense and a defense of a national championship.

"Right now I'm trying to meet them more as people, not as position, depth-chart type guys," Beck said. "Try to get to know them, let them get to know me.

"We're in a unique position. No. 1, I'm replacing a great guy [in Tom Herman]. He did an outstanding job here and I'm coming in here and have to bond with three super young men -- really, more than that. ... But I've got to bond with all those guys in that room. Before I could really coach them and reach them, I've got to get to know them."

Of course, Beck is already aware of what they can do on the football field, which is really no secret to anybody in college football given the résumés they have built with the Buckeyes.

Miller's dynamic rushing ability and pair of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Awards, Barrett's accuracy and record-setting 45 total touchdowns last season, and Jones' rocket arm and fairy-tale postseason run have been well-documented, and Beck didn't need a refresher course after coming over from Nebraska after the season.

It also didn't take long for him to figure out how much attention will be paid to him and the high-profile competition that will decide who will lead the Ohio State attack moving forward. At the moment, though, there's really not much that can be sorted out until Miller's surgically repaired shoulder allows him to throw again and the ankle Barrett broke in the regular-season finale against Michigan heals enough to enable him to run without limitations.

That leaves only Jones among that decorated group to take the first-team reps when practice resumes for the Buckeyes next month. And while that doesn't assure him of anything in the long run, odds are it won't hurt to have the first chance to make an impression on his new position coach, even while Beck and the rest of the staff take their time before making a decision.

"I think that one thing is they've all got a lot of game experience under their belt," Beck said. "Both Braxton, J.T., those guys, they've played a lot of ballgames, took a lot of snaps. You could just put the film on and have the opportunity to evaluate those guys a little bit -- and even, really, Cardale has played a fair amount.

"But there's still growth in all of those guys, there's no question."

There's certainly nothing wrong with the production each of them has already provided, and there is no shortage of evidence on hand to remind Beck just how much talent he's inheriting with the Buckeyes.

The key to Ohio State's success at quarterback the past few seasons, though, was finding the right way to balance it all while keeping the whole group both prepared and on the same page. That process starts with relationships before getting into fundamentals or reading coverages, and at this point that's where Beck is keeping his focus.

"It's an interesting group," he said. "The little bit I've been around them, they're great young men, hardworking. There's a tremendous bond among all three of them, which is a great tribute to Tom, what he was able to put together. They compete hard, because they want to win and they want to play, but they also help each other.

"I'm excited to get a chance to get to know the guys and look forward to seeing really what develops. I don't know, this is kind of a good problem to probably have right now, isn't it?"

It's probably the envy of every quarterbacks coach in the nation, and one more reason Beck has nothing to complain about in his new gig.