Final Post-Spring Overview — Quarterbacks
By Tony Gerdeman
With Urban Meyer's first spring now in the books, it's time to take a look back at how the spring went position by position. Who made moves, who didn't? Who solidified themselves, and who liquified themselves?
We'll start with quarterbacks, which seems to be a popular topic of discussion around Columbus these days. Those discussions are happening for good reason, as the Buckeyes could be poised for a very good run of signal callers over the coming years.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The Buckeyes enter 2012 with just three scholarship quarterbacks. Of them, only Braxton Miller has thrown a pass in an actual game in the last twelve months. While Miller is dynamic, he is at the helm of a brand new offense and not only is he still learning it, but so also is everyone around him. Kenny Guiton, for whatever reason, never saw the field last year, but that will change in 2012. Cardale Jones is a true freshman who still has a long way to go per offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
With Braxton Miller's potential, it's hard not to project big things for him. However, watching him last year it was clear that there was a lot of work that needed to be done. The question was how much work Tom Herman and Urban Meyer would have to do. Obviously they liked the possibilities, but there were quite a few layers that needed to be peeled off first. Miller's running ability is absolutely perfect for this offense, and complements the tailbacks very well.
With Guiton, his athletic ability suits Meyer's offense, but having only seen him in previous springs, there was simply no telling if he would be any type of quarterback that Herman or Meyer could rely on. With the unknown of Guiton, it wasn't an outrageous thought to think that Cardale Jones could come in and succeed Guiton for the backup job.
Photo by Dan Harker
After seeing Miller and Guiton perform in the spring, I was pleasantly surprised at how well both players had picked up the amount of offense that had been given to them. It showed that Ohio State had two round pegs that would fit pretty well into the round holes that are what Urban Meyer wants to do.
Last year, Braxton Miller's bad side was always taken into account by Jim Bollman, and while a young quarterback will always have a bad side, it would seem that there is more good than bad wearing number five for the Buckeyes this year.
The same can be said for Kenny Guiton as well. While no team wants to turn to their backup quarterback unexpectedly, it would appear that while Ohio State may not be deep at quarterback, at least they won't have to change their entire offense if Miller was to go down.
Photo by Jim Davidson
As far as Cardale Jones is concerned, it became pretty clear early on that the staff had no meaningful snaps for him because they needed every last one of them for Miller and Guiton. That may change a little in the fall, but if a quarterback is going to redshirt, why take away snaps from the guys who are actually going to play? Even though Meyer has said that he doesn't want players redshirting, this is certainly a case where it makes sense. If they choose not to redshirt him, however, it would seem to imply that they simply don't see having a need to keep him around for five years.
The next six months will be very important for Jones' future, who certainly came in expecting to compete for at least a backup job. Will he submit to the coaches' wishes, or will he ultimately succumb to his own?
It has been a while since Urban Meyer has had a breakaway threat at quarterback, but that's exactly what he has now in Miller. In fact, he has never had a starting quarterback as explosive as Braxton Miller. Nobody will expect Miller to be Ohio State's short-yardage back like Tim Tebow was for Meyer at Florida, but when a defense is expecting a Carlos Hyde to get the ball on those short-yardage plays, and Miller ends up keeping the ball, will those nine defenders in the box be able to leave the box fast enough to stop Miller from gaining the edge?
What people saw in Ohio State's Spring Game was just a fraction of Miller's capabilities, because he wasn't running the ball at all. Don't forget that Miller's 81-yard run against Indiana last season was the longest in the nation for a quarterback. With his new-found passing ability and always-there running ability, Miller could be in for a very big season this year. If he doesn't put up very good numbers this season, it was because he just wasn't ready yet.
Kenny Guiton will certainly get some snaps this season, and he won't simply be handing the ball off when he gets them. The staff will want to see what he can do, and they'll give him a chance to show them. The days of Ohio State quarterbacks being asked to simply not lose games would appear to be dead, and what a long, slow death it was.
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