Ohio State Jersey Scrimmage Insider: Bauserman Ready to Start?
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If Saturday’s jersey scrimmage was any indication—and it usually is—Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell is prepared to move forward with a two-quarterback system to start the season.
Heralded freshman Braxton Miller will likely be a part of the equation at quarterback as the Buckeyes look to replace Terrelle Pryor, but senior Joe Bauserman appears to be the choice to start the season-opener again Akron.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bauserman took the first snaps of Saturday’s scrimmage and spent about 75 percent of his day working with the first-teamers (the other 25 percent was with the second group).
The offense seemed to get the better of the defense—at least using Jim Tressel’s scoring system—thanks to a pair of long plays.
One of those plays was a perfectly thrown pass from Bauserman to Devin Smith. The freshman wideout got behind cornerback Doran Grant and was streaking down the left sideline when Bauserman hit him in stride. The safety came over to drag Smith down near the five-yard line after a 55-yard reception.
Bauserman also had the only interception of the day, although he defense had a few other close ones. He threw behind wideout Philly Brown in the red zone and his pass was intercepted by cornerback Travis Howard near the goal line.
Unofficially, the senior was 7-of-13 (53.8%) for 120 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman. With the one touchdown and one interception, Bauserman’s quarterback rating was 141 Saturday.
The Braxton Watch
Braxton Miller had the other long pass of the day, connected with Chris Fields on a 58-yard touchdown pass. It wasn’t a great ball by Miller, but Fields made an exceptional play to come back for the ball. The defense was so surprised he made the play that Fields ran right by C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant for the touchdown.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Miller also connected with freshman wideout Evan Spencer on a 27-yard touchdown pass. He would have a first down inside the 10-yard line on the previous play, but T.Y. Williams dropped a catchable ball in traffic.
Miller spent about 75 percent of his time with the second-team offense (playing against the second-team defense) and 25 percent of time playing with the ones. He finished the day 9-17 passing for 126 yards and the two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 154, but he also made some fancy plays with his legs.
The quarterbacks were only allowed to get hit for half of the scrimmage (although that didn’t stop Bauserman and Kenny Guiton from taking big shots later), and Miller made a few electrifying runs that would have brought 106,000 fans to their feat.
Backups to the Backup
Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman said after the scrimmage that Guiton hasn’t been officially eliminated from the quarterback race, but the time is rapidly approaching where they will have to focus all of their attention on two guys.
That doesn’t bode well for Guiton or Taylor Graham, who didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do Saturday. Unofficially, Guiton was 4-10 passing for 29 yards while Graham went 3-4 for 25 yards. The two rotated primarily with the third-team offense and will probably make their biggest impact on the scout team this fall.
Senior wideout DeVier Posey was back on the sideline Saturday for the jersey scrimmage after missing Thursday’s practice. He was dressed in full pads, but did not participate in the scrimmage.
Other key players missing from the offense were tailback Jaamal Berry and tight end Reid Fragel. Berry is battling a hamstring injury, which Bollman said isn’t too serious, and Fragel is still getting over his knee infection.
Tough Day for the Backs
Photo by Jim Davidson
With Berry on the sideline, Jordan Hall took the first snaps at running back, but split time with Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith. Senior Boom Herron got most, if not all, of his snaps with the second and third-team offenses, and was the only guy who looked good running behind those offensive lines.
Statistically, Rod Smith had the best day, rushing for 17 yards on six carries, but it wasn’t a great day of run blocking for the OSU offensive line. Even when they did get to the second level, Andrew Sweat and Etienne Sabino weren’t missing tackles.
Smith had a few moments where he looked special, but Hyde was the guy who seemed to attack the hole with a violent aggression. Much like Tressel used to say about Beanie Wells, get Hyde’s feet to the line of scrimmage and he’s going to pick up 5-6 yards.
Photo by Dan Harker
It has not been an easy transition to college ball for big Chris Carter. After coming in overweight, Carter somehow managed to add weight during summer conditioning. He dropped some of it before camp, but he just isn’t anywhere close to playing shape.
While the other three freshmen— Brian Bobek, Antonio Underwood and Tommy Brown—spent the day with the second-team offensive line, Carter was still stuck at right tackle with the third group. He still didn’t fit in.
Whether it’s bad footwork or just his massive size, Carter could not stay with the OSU ends Saturday. He got beat a few times by Michael Bennett, Steve Miller and Darryl Baldwin and quickly resorted to all-out holding. He started roping the defender around his chest, waist or even neck, but that didn’t always work. On one play he was holding Baldwin just long enough that when he came free he was in perfect position to level Guiton.
Offensive Line Depth
While it is becoming abundantly obvious that Carter won’t be ready to help the Buckeyes this fall, Bollman said they are planning to have one or two of the other freshmen ready to play. They don’t have many options because of the suspensions, but Bollman didn’t seem worried about the offensive line depth.
He mentioned the 8-9 true freshmen have played on the line at Ohio State over the last decade, specially naming Mike Adams, J.B. Shugarts and Marcus Hall. There is no telling if this group is in the same league as those three, but Bollman mentioned Bobek and Underwood as guys who are stepping up. Bobek has been the second-team center behind Michael Brewster and Underwood is playing behind Shugarts at right tackle.
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