Quarterback Rotation could be misleading.

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Last updated: 04/13/2011 4:52 PM
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Is Spring QB Rotation Misleading?
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senior Joe Bauserman might be taking the bulk of the snaps with the first team offense this spring, but that doesn’t automatically mean he is in the driver’s seat to win the quarterback battle at Ohio State.

Not according to Head Coach Jim Tressel.

“I wish it was definitive,” Tressel said during the Big Ten conference call Wednesday.

“I wish someone was just head and shoulders above another, but at this point I don’t see that.”

The Buckeyes have been rather consistent with their rotation at the quarterback position this spring, with four players battling to be the starter while Terrelle Pryor is serving his five-game suspension.

Joe Bauserman
Photo by Jim Davidson
Joe Bauserman

With Pryor sidelined by a foot injury suffered in the Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas, Bauserman would appear to be out in front of the group. He is a fifth-year senior who has backed up Pryor for the past two seasons, and many assume that he will be given every opportunity to start the opener against Akron in September.

That might be true, but it is hasty to believe that just because he is getting the most work with the first-team offense now that it will automatically carry over to fall camp.

“I think until we get to the fall, you can’t put total onus on the quarterback’s performance in the spring game or spring scrimmage,” Tressel said Wednesday.

“There will be some guys who the world was set up better for them than other guys. I think we need to keep evaluating every little thing they do.”

Things would certainly seem to be set up in favor of Bauserman right now. He gets an opportunity to work with the first-team offensive line as well as the team’s only two established pass-catchers in DeVier Posey and Jake Stoneburner.

Kenny Guiton
Photo by Jim Davidson
Kenny Guiton

Sophomore Kenny Guiton is working with the second-team offensive line, which actually includes a number of guys from the first-team because of the low numbers this spring. He is also throwing the ball to young guys like T.Y. Williams, Verlon Reed and James Louis, but Taylor Graham and Braxton Miller are not always so lucky.

“I think every rep is important and quarterbacks need to feel that way,” Tressel said.

“But also in spring practice there is limited number of linemen and limited number of receivers, so the world doesn’t look perfect every time you’re back there.”

Miller, in particular, has flashed moments of brilliance this spring, but he has also been saddled with the burden of working primarily with walk-on receivers like Chris Roark, Tony Harlamert and converted defensive back Taylor Rice.

Braxton Miller
Photo by Jim Davidson
Braxton Miller

Although the deck may stacked against him, Miller should have every opportunity to stay in the hunt for the starting spot heading into the fall, which Tressel called “two-times” as important as spring ball.

“I hope you couldn’t lose the quarterback battle in the spring, but maybe you could,” Tressel said.

“If you looked at the whole body of work and it just wasn’t what we needed it to be. And with the reality that the reps will be harder to earn come preseason, but I think we also have to be fair and look at the scenario each one of them was under and evaluate them as best we possibly can.”

Right now, that evaluation is a day-by-day process. Each new practice seems to bring out the best in a different quarterback as all four look to impress Tressel and his coaching staff.

“I kind of fluctuate each day. I thought yesterday, probably the guy that had the best day was Kenny (Guiton),” Tressel said Wednesday.

“But we don’t have a game tomorrow, so we don’t have to make that decision. What you’re trying to develop is that consistency over time.”

The Buckeyes may not have a game until Sept. 3, but Tressel certainly doesn’t want to wait that long to figure out who his starting quarterback will be. Every practice that goes by is another opportunity to get someone ready to play while Pryor is not on the field. 

“I think it is critical by the end of 15 practices that we do start thinking about some sort of a pecking order because when we get back in August the repetitions are going to be diluted a little bit because Terrelle will be back in there,” Tressel said.

“You’re not going to be able to spread them out like we have been this spring.”

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