We knew there would be some rumblings about the backup quarterback heading into this fall, we just didn't think it would be this backup.
22 year-old redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman stole the show in the 2008 Buckeye spring game, connecting with fellow soph Taurian Washington on two long scoring strikes (true, one was called back on a penalty, but you can't take anything away from the throw and catch). Bauserman looked so good on the afternoon that the large contingent of fans that see Boeckman as nothing more than a big-game disaster-in-waiting have already begun placing orders for their #14 bobble-heads.
Despite the clamor for the former pitcher, Boeckman had a decent game, connecting on 12 of 17 passes and showing good touch and zip on the short stuff. It was his two interceptions, including an underthrown bomb on the 3rd play of the game, however, that is providing the fuel to the debate over which quarterback is best-suited to lead the Buckeyes deep into the 2008 season.
Boeckman proponents will argue that he lead the team to the MNC in his first year under center, but the detractors will be quick to point out that he turned up limp against the stiffest competition last season and you'd be hard-pressed to find any Buckeye fan that wasn't at least a little bit concerned with the senior's knack for turning a promising drive into "let's pray for a three-and-out" with the flick of a wrist.
Maybe the short game skills that Todd flashed today will be enough to get the team back for yet another crack at it all -- especially when you consider that he'll be facing 12 defenses hell-bent on stacking the line and taking Beanie out of the game. And spring games of the past are littered with star performances that didn't translate onto the field the following fall, but it's at least comforting to know that should something happen to Boeckman, the team has another slinger ready to step up.
Other random thoughts and observations after watching the replay in a 320x180 window.
QBs Not Named Boeckman or Bauserman
Henton didn't have the best numbers (1/5) but his ability to avoid sacks was impressive. He had been getting reps with the third team in practice last week and the coaches are obviously seeing the same thing the fans got saw out of Bauserman Saturday. His outlook is a little grim and LiC hasn't even laced them up yet.
Saine was all but invisible on the day. He had a couple of runs early and then was part of a fake pass play to tight end Jake Ballard late in the game, but other than that, he was relatively quiet. Herron got a few more carries and impressed with his speed to the hole and his ability to make guys miss, leading the team with 30 yards on 10 attempts. Mo Wells got a couple of touches and really stood out in the return game, but nothing to write home about.
Backup or walk-on running backs were a large part of the meek Buckeye rushing attack on the day. Hilliard product Bo Delande saw a decent amount of action, while Marcus Williams lead the Gray with three carries for 20 yards. When you consider Beanie didn't sniff the field and hasn't really all spring, it's almost as if the staff has made it a goal to get into fall with a stable of healthy backs.
The aforementioned Washington was the beneficiary of Bauserman's good throwing afternoon, turning in four catches for 71 yards and the touchdown bomb. Hartline was the leading receiver for the Scarlet squad, snagging six for 82, including a nice bomb over Andre Amos. Hartline was the intended receiver on Boeckman's first pick, but the ball was clearly underthrown.
The Ghost turned in a solid performance with five receptions for 74 yards. His name was in the paper earlier in the week and evidently he decided that he didn't like that too much and was going to start to work his way back into the good graces of the staff. I was disappointed that we didn't hear much in the way of Stoneburner, but the opening kickoff is still a ways off.
The big story out of this spot is whether or not Washington is ready to step up and assume the #3 receiver spot or whether Small wants to fight to retain it.
With two starters out and a pretty seasoned group of defenders on the other side of the ball, the offensive line did a decent job, all things considered. Bryant Browning struck an early claim to the open right tackle spot with the outstanding work he did containing Cameron Heyward for most of the afternoon (Heyward finished with just three assists).
The tight ends got a little action, but the Vest certainly wasn't going to show anything unique or exotic out of them this early. Ballard had a shot at catching Saine's throw on the fake punt, but the ball sailed over his back shoulder.
There's good reason to believe that the Buckeyes may have one of the stronger defensive end units in the nation heading into this season. Wilson, Heyward and Gibson are going to wreak absolute havoc on opposing tackles. Wilson got through several times on the afternoon including a bump-sack on the black-shirted Boeckman. Gibson only recorded one assist on the afternoon, but his presence was felt.
The much maligned interior of the defensive line had a coming out party of sorts, with Larimore recording two sacks and Denlinger notching 2 TFLs and a sack. There was constant disruption out of both interior units on the afternoon.
The linebacker group was stung with the day's only injury when Jermale Hines went down in the 2nd quarter with an aparrent knee injury. Hines was able to walk off the field, but was later carted into the locker room for an examination of his right knee. The ACL bogeyman man have snuck and got Hines, but if any unit was stocked well enough to absorb an injury like this, it's the linebackers.
Marcus Freeman was 2nd on the day with two solo tackles and five assists, continuing to prove, in my eyes at least, that he's the best linebacker on this team. Etienne Sabino had a decent day as well. Sometimes you see a kid and know they can just play. Sabino is one of those kids.
Curtis Terry saw his action on the offensive side of the ball at fullback and turned in a worthy performance including bone-jarring block on Boom's touchdown run.
Andre Amos took advantage of Donald Washington's "issue" by leading all Buckeye tacklers on the afternoon with five solos and 3 assists. He seemed to be everywhere and provides the team with either a solid nickel or season opening starter, depending on Washington's outcome in the Court of Tressel. Oliver was the victim of Washington's first bomb, while Chekwa was the victim of his second bomb that was called back.
Pettrey's 48-yard field goal at the end of the first half was money and further proof that despite the return of Pretorius, the job is wide open.
The kick return game didn't show anything special, but Mo Wells could be an answer on kickoffs. He's solid, runs hard, and has been in the system for what seems like 23 years. I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn in a Dee Miller type season returning kicks.
- While the rain prevented the University from setting any type of attendance records (the lacrosse game fell short as well), 76,000 showed up to witness at least a half of the action.
- Some of the sloppy play can be attributed to the conditions, but the field held up pretty well.
- Chris was in the corner of the stadium that Pryor entered from and his quote is worth repeating: "The whole fucking place went bonkers."
- If you're a fan and you're crying about J.B. Shugarts' two offsides penalties, you need to chill.
- Several recruits were on hand for the game and the Buckeyes picked up a verbal from a stud defensive back. Maryland's Darrell Givens has decided to become the second top 10 corner for the 2009 class to sign with Ohio State.