The Opposing Quarterbacks Club
By John Kreinbihl
I had to go to Florida for a few days last week and I brought back a little something for my friend the doorman at the Club in an effort to stay on his good side and gain access to the meeting this week. And when I say I brought something back for him, I mean I took a clean, empty glass jar with the lid tightly closed from the cabinet under my kitchen sink and presented it to him as a jar of sun and warmth from the beach. When he opened the jar, I feigned total disbelief and went on and on about how he had just wasted all the benefits of the contents by opening it in the cold outside the club. He tried to apologize and stammered about how foolish he felt and then unbelievably, asked if by chance I’d brought more than one back home with me. Knowing there was another empty jar in the cabinet where this one had come from, I said yes, but that I’d hoped to keep one for myself. I asked him if I gave him the one I still had and he didn’t waste it, could I hide the microphones? He said yes. I said, “give me twenty minutes” and I went home to grab the other empty jar. When I retuned, he took the jar and handled it as if it was made of gold spun by magical humming birds and led me inside.
Here is the transcript from the meeting:
Moderator: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to this session of The Opposing Quarterbacks Club. The Buckeyes are back in action this week and we’ll have a returning member of the Club join us a little later. I’ll get the proceedings started with the roll call. Joe Licata?
Moderator: Adam Dingwell and Quinn Kaehler?
Kaehler: I’m here.
Moderator: What about Dingwell?
Kaehler: He’s around here somewhere. He’s been pre-occupied all week with preparations for our game at Hawaii on Saturday.
Moderator: You mean running the scout team and analyzing their tendencies?
Keahler: Not exactly.
Licata: Watching film and developing the game plan?
Kaehler: No, not that either.
Moderator: Then what is he doing?
<Dingwell races into the room, sits down and tries to catch his breath>
Dingwell: Gasp….I’m…gasp… here. Wheeeewwwww!!!!!
Moderator: Gee, Adam, I hope our regularly schedule meeting didn’t interfere with your other activities.
Dingwell: I’m sorry…just so much to do…so little time…<long, slow, exhale> there, that’s better.
Moderator: Has the coaching staff put a lot on your plate this week to get ready for the Rainbows?
Dingwell: I’m not the least bit interested in the game, I’m trying to figure how I’m going to get a stop at Pearl Harbor to see the Arizona Memorial; snorkel at Hanauma Bay; get lunch at the Side Street Inn in Ala Moana; do a little boogie boarding at Sandy Beach then see the sunset with a cold beverage in my hand on the deck at Jameson’s By the Sea in Haleiwa all in and still be at the game before halftime. These 5 PM HST starting times are a pain in the okole.
Kaehler: He hasn’t been at practice all week.
Licata: Seriously? How has that impacted the team?
Kaehler: Actually, this has been one of our best weeks of practice all year. If we beat Hawaii to get to six wins and become bowl eligible, there’s a good chance we’ll leave him at the Honolulu Airport.
Licata: You know, Hawaii just played two games in eight days on the mainland and had to travel over 10,000 miles.
Kaehler: We hope they are still getting over their jet lag when we roll into Aloha Stadium.
Licata: You better hope they don’t try and redeem some of their miles for touchdowns. What’s in your wallet?
Moderator: Well now that we have that resolved, allow me to continue. Jared Goff?
Goff: I’m here, but I’m wondering, does Dingwell need an assistant for this trip this week?
Moderator: Damien Fleming?
Moderator: Joel Stave?
Stave: I’m here.
Moderator: Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian?
Colter: Both here.
Moderator: Jake Rudock?
Rudock: Good afternoon.
Moderator: Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson?
Ferguson: We’re here as well.
Moderator: And finally, from Purdue, Danny Etling?
Etling: Boiler Up our most gracious host.
Moderator: Week #11 was a wild week indeed. We saw major upsets and some of the wackiest plays ever.
Goff: Licata, the safety in your game was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. How do they not review that play to get it right?
Licata: Even I have to admit it was bizarre but the ruling we got from the refs was it wasn’t reviewable because the points were the result of an infraction rather than the play. It made no sense to me but we gladly took the two points.
Stave: I guarantee that rule will be changed after the season and it will be referred to as the “Buffalo Rule”.
Colter: What do you guys have planned for this week? Will the referees signal a touchdown the first time you cross the fifty-yard line?
Fleming: My favorite moments from this past weekend were USC returning every Cal punt for touchdowns.
Goff: It wasn’t every punt, just three of them.
Hackenberg: And the Trojans had scoring plays of 75, 43, 57, 93 and 79 yards. Where was your defense? Under house arrest? Volunteering in the community? Having a bake sale? It’s a miracle USC only scored 62 points.
Goff: We’ve had issues defensively all year and you can’t expect to outscore folks every week, but I do want the records to show I joined Colter as the only member to both throw and catch as pass this year.
Moderator: I didn’t know that Jared. Was it a TD catch like Kains’?
Goff: No, it was a little swing pass out of the pistol formation.
Moderator: Was it a big gainer or pick up a first down?
Goff: No, it was a one-yard loss.
Fleming: Really used all your moves didn’t you?
Moderator: In other games, Joel Stave, you led your Badgers to a big win over BYU and Jake Rudock your Hawkeyes got to the magic six win level making you guys bowl eligible with a win over Etling and the Boilermakers and Colter and Siemian, I’m sure it felt good not to lose for the first time since early October.
Stave: Who did you guys beat?
Siemian: We didn’t play.
Stave: So you didn’t lose because you didn’t play, right?
Stave: Are you planning on using that strategy for the rest of the year?
Colter: That was our last bye week. We play Michigan this week and we’re looking to changing things around and finish the season strong.
Stave: Here’s a fork.
Colter: What’s this for?
Siemian: I think it means we’re done.
Moderator: In addition to those games, Penn State traveled to Minneapolis and fell 24-10 to the Golden Gophers.
Licata: You guys lost to Minne Ha Ha?
Hackenberg: They are a tough team. I’d say they are the most surprising team in the league.
Etling: I’d say the most surprising thing is that Minnesota punted on every series they had in the second half—with the exception of running out the clock in the last eight minutes—and you guys didn’t make up any ground.
Ferguson: A few plays we didn’t make really hurt us.
Etling: Tyler, I know you’re trying to be a good teammate but the few plays “we” didn’t make were actually plays Hackenberg didn’t make. 4th quarter, 4th and 9 at the Minnesota 38, Hackenberg throws an incompletion and gives the ball back to the Gophers. Later in the 4th, it’s 4th and 10 at the Minnesota 16 yard line and Hackenberg throws another incomplete pass to give the ball back. Then, this is where it gets really good, with just over eight minutes left in the game trailing by two scores, the Nittany Lions have driven to the Gophers 1-yard line where they face 2nd and goal and Christian goes into full-scale Hackenandsuckenbergian mode and fumbles the snap. The Gophers recover and run out the clock. I heard those three plays have been rerun as “Instant Classics” on Comedy Central all week.
Moderator: Gentlemen, at this time we need to welcome this week’s guest, he is Nathan Scheelhaase, Senior quarterback from the University of Illinois. Hi Nathan, it’s good to see you again.
Fleming: How come he already has a jacket?
Moderator: Nathan was inducted in the Club last year as a junior following their 52-22 loss to the Buckeyes.
Licata: So you know what this place is all about and what to expect from us?
Scheelhaase: Indeed I do, so bring it on.
Moderator: Nathan leads the Big 10 in passing averaging 368 yards per game and so far this season he’s completing over 65% of his passes and thrown for over 2,400 yards with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6’3” 205 lb. Senior from Kansas City needs one TD pass to reach 50 in his career and with 338 yards he’ll become the second Illini QB to reach 10,000 yards of total offense in his career.
Goff: So this guy is a Senior and has experience against Ohio State, what are his chances of winning on Saturday?
Stave: I’d say slim to none and slim just hailed a cab and left.
Goff: With his experience I’m a bit surprised by that.
Moderator: Jared, you have to look a little deeper at the numbers to gain perspective.
Ferguson: And here’s the first number you need to be aware of—13. As in the number of consecutive Big 10 games Illinois has last over the past two seasons.
Ferguson: And 13 is also the number of consecutive Big 10 games the Buckeyes have won.
Goff: Double ouch.
Stave: To say these teams are on different trajectories is an understatement. OSU has won 21 straight games. In the same time period Illinois is 5-16.
Colter: Here’s where the numbers really get interesting--39, 56, 42, 24, 52, 35, 31, 45, 31, 52, 17, 20 & 50.
Goff: Are those the yards of Nathan’s TD’s passes this year?
Colter: Nope, not even close. It’s the number of points the Illini have given up each game in their league leading, 13-game losing streak.
Keahler: So Nathan, the problem seems to be more on the other side of the ball.
Scheelhaase: I’m not throwing my teammates under the bus, but let’s face facts, there is no “D” in Illinois.
Moderator: Nathan’s done a lot of good things at his time at Illinois, but he hasn’t had much help. His coach, Tim Beckman, raves about his abilities and he says Nathan has great “pocket awareness”.
Fleming: Meaning he has a sense of where the pressure is coming from, the ability to step-up and keep his eyes downfield?
Rudock: No, more like keys & coins in the right and cell phone in the left.
Dingwell: Well, how did you play last year against Ohio State?
Scheelhaase: It wasn’t one of my better games and the guys here last year really gave it to me good. I don’t remember the exact statistics.
Moderator: I have them right here. He was 19 of 34 for 96 yards. His longest completion on the day was for 12 yards. The Illini had 170 yards in total offense and gave up 570 to the Bucks.
Scheelhaase: Thanks for having those numbers so handy my friend.
Moderator: Just doing my job, Nathan.
Hackenberg: With numbers like that, how did you score 22 points? 96 yards passing is Fleming territory.
Scheelhaase: We had a couple of field goals, got a TD late in the third quarter and returned a fumble for a TD in the last five minutes of the game.
Moderator: This will be the 100th meeting of these two teams and OSU leads the series 64-30-4.
Licata: So you guys win a third of the time.
Kaehler: Or put another way, they lose two thirds of the time.
Scheelhaase: Plus it’s a trophy game. We play for the IlliBuck trophy.
Dingwell: What the hell is an IlliBuck?
Moderator: The IlliBuck is the second oldest trophy in the Big Ten. OSU and Illinois have played for the right to hold on to the trophy since 1925. Originally, the trophy was a live turtle, to serve as a symbol of what the teams would hope to be a long rivalry. The trophy is now a carved wooden turtle with scores from each game on its back. The rivalry also used to include the smoking of a peace pipe at half time by honor societies of both schools.
Goff: That makes sense. If I was playing a game and my reward for winning was a turtle, I’d smoke something at halftime too.
Licata: So let me see if I have this correct. You’ve lost 13 Big Ten in a row; you’re playing a team that has won 13 consecutive league games and you’re pinning your hopes on a turtle trophy? Have you seen OSU play this year? They score quickly and they score at will. I’d think you want a cheetah or a gazelle, something fast for your trophy, not a turtle. Why don’t you ask an octogenarian with a walker to play as a slot receiver? You’d probably get better results than a turtle.
Scheelhaase: The trophy was here long before I arrived and it will be here long after I’m gone.
Fleming: Have you beaten OSU in your career?
Siemian: I know it’s a home game for you, do you think that will help?
Scheelhaase: Did that help you?
Moderator: As long as we’re talking streaks, did you know Ohio State has won the last nine games played in Champaign?
Siemian: So that’s a no. How about the fact that OSU had a bye last week, does that bode well for Scheelhaase?
Moderator: Urban Meyer’s teams are 35 and 2 following an off week. The only loses where to Miami when he was at Bowling Green in 2001 and to Michigan when he was at Florida in 2007.
Siemian: Interesting, only “M’ teams. Maybe you should go by Millinois this week.
Scheelhaase: No thanks, got any other bad ideas?
Hackenberg: Do you want Dingwell to play instead of you?
Scheelhaase: And take his Hawaii trip away from him? I couldn’t do that, it would break his little heart. Look guys, I know what we’re up against and all I can do is go out and play the best I can. If we win, that would be outstanding, but if our best effort isn’t enough, then I’ll be back here. Making fun of the guys from Indiana and Gardner from Michigan is about as good as it gets. Plus, I think I get some hardware if I show up again next week.
Moderator: That’s right Nathan, in fact, your “Year 2” pin is being polished as we speak. That’s all the time we have for today guys. Good luck in your games this week and we’ll see each of you back here at the same time next week. We are officially adjourned.