Guiton, Miller are Contrasting Leaders of OSU Offense
By Rob Ogden
When Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton enters the game, as he did during the Buckeyes' first drive on Saturday, the most notable difference isn't in the play calling or the quarterback's ability to run the offense — it's in the huddle, said senior receiver Corey Brown.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"Kenny's crazy. When he comes into the huddle he's loud, obnoxious," Brown said. "He's real confident with everything he does. He talks a lot of trash on the field. When he comes into the game he kind of hypes everybody up."
His presence in the huddle is nothing like that of starter Braxton Miller, who is calm and quiet on the field, Brown said.
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett is never in the offensive huddle, but the difference between the two quarterbacks isn't hard for him to identify, either.
"Every now and then I'll be talking trash to the offensive line and Kenny will stick up for them and be pretty vocal about it," Bennett said.
Bennett added that the talk is light-hearted, and makes practice a little more fun.
"He's not trying to cut deep. He's not trying to make me question myself but he's just messing around," he said. "I'm not getting mad about his trash talk, I laugh every time he says something. That makes the play more fun. He's saying something and I'm like 'alright now I gotta sack him' and I go a little harder."
Because of Miller's fearless style of play, the opportunity for Guiton to talk trash comes more often than it does for most second-string quarterbacks.
Despite never starting a game for the Buckeyes, Guiton has racked up 312 yards passing and five touchdowns in 14 games as Miller's primary backup.
He might finally get that opportunity to start Saturday when Ohio State heads west to take on California. Miller is day-to-day with a left knee injury after leaving during the first drive of Saturday's game.
If Guiton does get the start, he'll have the complete confidence of his teammates and coaches. That's according to offensive line coach Ed Warinner, who said the difference between the two quarterbacks isn't as noticeable when the ball is snapped.
Photo by Dan Harker
"You don't feel like all of a sudden half of the game plan page is eliminated because your second team quarterback goes in," he said. "We feel like that he's still very capable of executing just about everything on there."
Maybe the aspect of Miller's game that sets him apart the most is his running ability, but Guiton showed he, too, is a capable runner when he scored on a 44-yard run in the second quarter against San Diego State. Warinner said the play was originally drawn up for Miller.
"There are certain plays you might stay away from, but 90 percent of that game plan is still in play when Kenny is in the game," he said. "I just think that Kenny is so charismatic; he has leadership skills and guys like him, they are ecstatic to go out and block their butt off for him."
Guiton doesn't have a lot of experience away from the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium, though he did throw a 14-yard touchdown pass at Indiana last season on his only attempt.
He also ran three plays to finish off a touchdown drive at Michigan State, but did not attempt a pass.
The rest of the team has a way of rallying around Guiton, Warinner said.
"When one of your marquis players goes down, the mentality of every guy that's on the field is, 'I've got to play just a little bit better. I've got to be a little bit more locked in, do a better job to help pick up any slack that may be there.' "
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