Ohio quarterback Quinton Maxwell warms up during practice in Walter Fieldhouse on September 6.
Quinton Maxwell got down on his knees and started to roll.
The Ohio quarterback held a football, still wearing his helmet as he steadily rolled across the field at Peden Stadium. The roll seemed endless as Maxwell started on one end of the field, traveling to the end zone that faces campus.
The rest of the team had left – practice was over. But he needed to make sure he ended practice perfectly.
“You got 50 yards of rolls for every interception you throw in practice,” Maxwell said. “I made the right reads today, I just missed the throws. And a couple of tipped balls turned into interceptions so I had to roll.”
Maxwell, a redshirt freshman from Richmond, Missouri, will do anything to fix his mistakes on the field.
He doesn’t like to mess up, but when he does, the mistake must be fixed immediately.
Just ask wide receiver Andrew Meyer, who sometimes stays after practice with Maxwell to work on timing and chemistry.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Meyer said. “After practice the other day, you saw us together because we missed a completion, so he wanted to make sure we got at least six of those completed after practice.”
No down time in high school leads to discipline and intelligence
Before Maxwell’s college football days, he was a four-sport letterman at Richmond XVI High School. Along with playing football, Maxwell ran track, and he played basketball and baseball.
Maxwell, an accounting major, graduated fifth in his class out of 110 people, boasting a 4.24 weighted GPA. During his senior year, he took AP Calculus, AP Physics and earned a dual credit in personal finance. He is also a fourth-generation Eagle Scout.
“He hasn’t had a whole lot of down time in his life, and he prepares that way,” Scott Isphording, Ohio’s quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, said.
Isphording said Maxwell maximizes his time in the film room and weight room, and he takes a lot of notes in team meetings, as well.
With Maxwell’s schedule filled in high school, he wasn’t able to fully concentrate on becoming a better football player. In track, Maxwell ran the 4×400-meter relay, open 400-meter, open 200-meter and participated in the triple jump. He played pitcher and center-fielder in baseball.
“Now I get to truly enjoy going to school and being a college football player,” he said. “I get to focus on football every day.”
He said he doesn’t regret playing multiple sports in high school – he truly enjoyed playing them, he said.
But with those feelings of peace also came some growing pains as Maxwell entered the college football scene.
Richmond XVI High School has 484 studentsenrolled from grades 9th to 12th. Maxwell came from a small school, and he didn’t immediately adjust to the fast-paced college game.
“The game was way too fast for me in my head,” Maxwell said. “So I just had to watch a lot of film, study all my notes and really learn from the older guys last year.”
Now, Maxwell goes through his reads as quickly as any quarterback on Ohio’s depth chart. He scopes the field during 7-on-7 drills, looking for the best option to throw to. And when he finds that option, the football quickly comes out of his hands.
A backup QB with a starter’s football IQ
Maxwell is Ohio’s No. 2 quarterback, with Greg Windham being the starter. He is going to continue developing, but his football smarts are where they need to be.
“Football IQ wise, he’s there,” Meyer said. “He can start right now. I think just experience-wise is why he’s not starting right now, but his IQ is up there with anybody’s in the MAC.”
Windham will likely be Ohio’s starter for the entire season. He has the most experience of any quarterback on the depth chart – but Maxwell isn’t far behind.
Last year, former Ohio quarterback JD Sprague was the Bobcats’ No. 2 quarterback. Last season, he played in seven games, throwing seven touchdowns for 921 yards. Sprague left the program in August because of health-related concerns.
“There’s a good chance the No. 2 quarterback is going to play,” Isphording said. “And meaningful snaps no matter how well the starter is doing.”
Maxwell will have to wait for his chance to play – but he is not going to let that discourage him from preparing as if he were the starter, either.
“The last couple of years we’ve had to play two quarterbacks due to injury, which sucks, but I mean it happens,” Maxwell said. “And I’ve got to be ready to make plays and I can’t miss a beat.”
Working to be ready
After Maxwell finished rolling across the field, he walked off carrying a bag of footballs, still dressed in helmet and all.
He had completed his day.
In the first game of the season, Ohio lost to Texas State in a 56-54 triple overtime thriller. Maxwell didn’t see any time in that game.
Despite Maxwell playing near his hometown in Missouri – Richmond is about an hour and 20 minutes from Lawrence, Kansas, – he didn’t play in that game, either.
“Something happens with Greg or they say, ‘Hey Q, you’re in and go in there, don’t miss a beat, execute the offense,’” Maxwell said. “Don’t try to, just play within yourself and just don’t try to do too much, and the rest will take care of itself.”
And if Maxwell earns the opportunity to get in a game for the Bobcats this season, Ohio’s coaches are confident that he’ll be ready.
“I’ve seen a guy that’s really worked hard to give himself an opportunity to get on the field,” •wide receivers coach Dwayne Dixon said. “He’s a guy that if we had to have him in a game, we would feel confident that he knows what he’s doing.”