I just received an e-mail from Brandon Castel. I tell you that for two reasons: 1) It makes my girlfriends jealous. Brandon is generally considered to be the most devastatingly handsome of the Ohio State beat media. 2) Brandon is polling his fellow reporters to see who we think will start at quarterback for the Buckeyes in the opener against Akron.
This is not the first time Brandon has done this. In fact, he compiled the answers of a similar pre-spring ballot in a very smart article on the Ozone’s website.
And Brandon has promised us anonymity, but unlike certain Michigan fans, I sign my work.
So here’s my explanation for why, unless someone emerges this fall, I’m voting for Joe Bauserman:
- Coach Jim Tressel’s preference to play his veterans has always been a little overstated, but the opener usually is a good time to reward those who have payed their dues. That’s true even this year when you start off shorthanded because of suspensions to five players.
- Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham both have spent time in the system, but each come with their own drawbacks. Guiton is talented, plays a style of game similar to Terrelle Pryor, but at times has trouble reading the field. Graham has a great arm, but is the least mobile of OSU’s quarterbacks. (Yes, you could say something similar about Bauserman, but he knows when to throw it away to avoid the sack.)
- Getting freshman Braxton Miller playing time, without making him the first string guy, takes some of the pressure off the youngster. Plus, it would be quite a lot to expect Miller to lead the team in his first year, especially considering that a handful of the team’s other leaders will be missing the first five games.
- Dispatch reporters Ken Gordon and Tim May make a very compelling argument that if you think Miller can win you games, why not start the clock on his development now? However, Tressel has always struck me as the kind of man who asks, “why?” not “why not?”
- I also wonder if this might be a consideration: If you start Bauserman and he struggles, it wouldn’t be hard to hand the team over to Miller and let him play the hero. On the other hand, it might be difficult to start Miller, and if he struggles, expect the team to have confidence in a senior who couldn’t beat out a freshman at the beginning of the year.
I should probably note that I’m less certain now of my vote for Bauserman than I was before spring drills. It is also, of course, possible that this discussion is entirely moot. Just because you’re the first quarterback under center doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get the bulk of the snaps, especially this season.
What’s really interesting to me is that Tressel has always liked to use more than one quarterback early in the year but this time around, there’s a very young receiving corp. Plus, because of his suspension, Tressel himself will not be there on game day to divide up the playing time. Other than what’s scripted at the beginning of the game, any moves as relates to the quarterback position will be left to the judgment of offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano.