Spring practice didn’t exactly end the way Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Brown envisioned. Ready to try and prove his mettle in the team’s spring game, Brown injured his finger and had to sit out to recover.
Now back at full health, Brown focused on the leadership side of quarterbacking in the weeks following his injury and feels it will reap benefits as he embarks on a quarterback battle with junior Kyle McCord this fall.
“Probably just leadership, honestly,” Brown said. “I wasn’t able to do anything (because of my finger), wasn’t able to do much of the lifts but being able to be in that locker room and that weight room and being able to vocalize myself and get guys going.”
Coming back from the injury presented its own set of challenges, even if the recovery process was relatively brief.
“It was different throwing the football,” Brown said. “Even gripping the football was a little different, a little awkward at first, but that went away after a week of throwing. I was pushing it back home even while I wasn’t totally cleared, just trying to get back to it.”
While he rehabbed, Ohio State strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti ensured that he was taken under the wing of some of the team’s top leaders. He and McCord both embraced louder voices during some of the loudest times of the offseason — weight training.
“Coach Mick has been able to give me that voice as well,” Brown said. “Working with him every day and getting me around, lifting with the right guys and being able to vocalize myself to guys like (Marvin Harrison Jr.) and Cade Stover and our linemen has been really helpful to me.
“I feel like I’ve always had those leadership qualities but coming in as a freshman behind C.J. Stroud it’s like, ‘What are you going to vocalize as?’ I haven’t done anything on the field.”
That sort of inner focus is something that Brown is prioritizing throughout his joust with McCord for the starting signal caller spot. He’s not worried about looking over his shoulder at what his counterpart is doing, a mentality likely aided by the fact that the two share a close bond, per them both. Brown stated that his focus is on winning games, whether that’s under center or from the sideline.
“I’m just trying to go out there and help this team win, whoever it is (that wins the starting job),” Brown said. “We’re just trying to be the best versions of ourselves every day. We’re not going to worry about, at the end of a practice, ‘Oh he did this or that better than me.’ It’s, ‘How did I perform? Did I get better today? What was I really working at today?’”