March 24, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The only downside Urban Meyer can find in Ohio State's unique quarterback competition is that in the end two deserving players will be disappointed.

Spring practice won't settle the Buckeyes' quarterback competition between Cardale Jones, the one who led the Buckeyes to victories in the Big Ten championship game and two playoff games; J.T. Barrett, who accounted for a Big Ten-record 45 touchdowns last season; and Braxton Miller, a two-time Big Ten player of the year.

Miller is still recovering from a second shoulder surgery and cannot yet throw at full strength. Whether he can come back and be the player he has been is not a sure thing. Barrett is also not 100 percent after a broken ankle, but he's coming along. Meyer said he was taking part in seven-on-seven drills on Tuesday during the Buckeyes' third spring practice.

Jones is the only one going full-bore as the Buckeyes head into their first practice in full pads on Thursday.

But it certainly looks as if the defending national champions can't go wrong.

''Everything is positive,'' Meyer said Tuesday. ''Talent. Quality of people. Value to the program. Investment in the program. Check, check, check, check. Negative? Two people are going to have to watch.''

Meyer said he has been thrilled with the relationship between the three players. They encourage each other, acknowledge each other's good plays and talk football during practice, Meyer said.

''That's not common,'' he said.

Ultimately, it will be up to Meyer to pick one player who will start against Virginia Tech on Labor Day night, when the Buckeyes open their season, most likely as the No. 1 team in the country.

It is not necessarily a decision the coach is looking forward to making.

''It's not like receiver, where you can put three of them out there,'' Meyer said. ''That's the one thing that's weighing a little bit. It didn't for a while because you're just so busy. But now I'm seeing what I'm seeing, and I have such great respect for all three guys.''

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