Kenny Guiton Becoming Quarterback OSU Needs Him to Be
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last year when the Buckeyes broke summer camp in preparation for the season, the talk at quarterback surrounded Joe Bauserman and freshman Braxton Miller.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bauserman took the starter's reps, and Miller, Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham split the rest. Gradually, however, Miller was given more reps throughout camp because it was clear that the coaching staff wanted to use him on the field.
At the time, Guiton said the right things, adding that he never felt disrespected by the talk of everyone but him.
"I haven't done anything for everybody to think that Kenny Guiton should be all this and that," he said back in August.
"But I do feed off of it. It motivates me to know that people aren't saying your name. You don't have anything to lose. They're not expecting anything out of you anyway, so I just go out there and play every day.
"It's hard. But at the same time you've got to show the coaches that you can handle that adversity and persevere."
In one of the most disastrous quarterback situations in recent Ohio State history, that perseverence led to Guiton seeing time in a grand total of one game last season.
If he couldn't see the field in a season like 2011, then it looked like the writing was on the wall. Even though he kept working, there were other things that he wasn't doing, and it didn't take long for Urban Meyer to notice.
"At the time I was just down about everything," Guiton said. "But I've always been a hard worker, so that's one thing that I never stopped doing. I was down, but I just had to keep working."
It also didn't take long for Meyer to have a positive impact on the Houston, Texas product.
"I had to grow on Coach Meyer," Guiton said. "When he first got here, I guess I wasn't into it anymore. I got down on myself. I just had to get upbeat to life, I guess you could say. I finally came through with it, and I had a great winter."
"After I got called out a few times, I just had to catch up and just do the things that I knew that I could do, and show him that I could do it."
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but through his works, Guiton seemingly did enough to cancel out that first impression for Meyer.
"He was a guy that I was not a big fan of when I first got here and he’s had a nice offseason," Meyer said prior to Spring practices opening.
"I probably shouldn’t have brought that up other than to say I like him better than I did. He’s taking his profession real serious and I like guys who do that."
Just as Guiton heard Meyer when he "called him out", he's also heard the Buckeye coach when he's delivered accolades.
"It's a great feeling to know that he's probably not big on you, then after a while, he's like, 'Okay, this Kenny Guiton may be somebody that can do something.' It's a great feeling.
"It helps my confidence a lot. I go out on the field ready to go now. So it's like I've got a whole new fresh start, so let's just pick it up and keep it going."
While still undoubtedly the back-up quarterback for the Buckeyes, Guiton hasn't stopped battling to start, and hasn't changed his mindset at all.
His renewed focus isn't just talk, because it has also produced results on the field, and quite noticeably so.
"Kenny has played better than I thought he would," admitted quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
"He has really shown some strides from when we got here in January in the offseason work, and then out on the field. Kenny's a really sharp kid, so what he may be deficient in a little bit athletically than what Braxton is, he makes up for in being really sharp and understanding what we're trying to do."
However, it wasn't just Meyer who has turned Guiton around, because Herman needs some credit in that regard as well. The new offense that both Meyer and Herman are developing is what some quarterbacks might consider a "dream", and it appears that Guiton doesn't want to wake up from that dream any time soon.
"I love it, man," he said. "It's up tempo. You keep going and you don't stop. So I like it a lot. All of the reading of defenses, and everything, it's pretty fun."
For the first time in a while, Kenny Guiton is having fun on the football field, and the results are abundantly clear. For Guiton, however, that says as much about the coaches as it does about him.
"It tells me that you have to get the right coaches, and it seems like we've got that around here."
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