From the very first snaps at today’s practice one thing was on everyone’s mind: Who’s going to grab the starting QB spot? All four QBs on Ohio State’s roster were front and center, being analyzed down to the smallest details. Bauserman, Guiton, Graham and Miller each took their reps with no clear front runner to start the day.
For what it’s worth, Bauserman took the majority of the first team snaps. It’s clear Fickell lacks experience when it comes to his choice at QB this season, which is why he’s probably preferring to see a lot of Bauserman, who has the most experience, even if Bauserman only has 47 total snaps since 2008. By the practice’s end, Bauserman had done little to separate himself from others. His passes were usually short throws, preferring to dump it off to his running backs, particularly Jordan Hall. Needless to say the Bauserman for Heisman train has still yet to leave the station. But one thing that is clear is that Bauserman displayed a poised, confident approach when leading the offense. Clearly experience was on his side.
Following Bauserman was Kenny Guiton. Don’t ever get it twisted, Kenny G has a lot of talent, a strong arm, great height, and a terrific attitude, but he clearly lacks accuracy and that word again: experience. Guiton made some nice throws every once and a while, including a long gain to DeVier Posey. Guiton has the tools and is a great teammate. After every series he ran, you could find him complimenting and encouraging teammates, just really trying to be a leader. You could tell Guiton really believes he has a shot to win that starting spot, and I really like the guy, but he still needs to develop his game and refine his skills.
The next QB taking snaps was a little bit of a surprise, Taylor Graham. Many have already come to the conclusion that Braxton Miller will be the guy at some point this season, but people’s assumptions didn’t help out Miller at all this practice. Graham got the nod to take his snaps before Miller, and that’s about the most notable thing I can really say about him. Graham struggled a lot, throwing lazy passes or completely missing open assignments down field. You can see what the coaching staff likes about him: He’s big, and has a great arm. But his passing still needs work. His red-shirt season last year was his time to master the playbook, but he still looks lost when he’s under center. I don’t expect to see a lot from him at any point in his stay at Ohio State, but he certainly does have the tools to compete.
Last but not least, drum roll please, Braxton Miller. The perennial favorite of most to eventually take over the starting QB position at some point this season found himself taking snaps behind everyone. Miller is certainly talented and has the upside that makes coaches drool, but he needs some seasoning. His passes were mainly short throws, but he did eventually showcase his arm with a great completion to Posey. I was even fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of his scrambling abilities and I couldn’t help but be impressed. No one denies he has the talent and the ability, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we didn’t see Miller start the season. Miller still needs to develop his ability to pass in the pocket and to get rid of the ball quicker. It also appears he has a nasty habit of occasionally throwing into coverage. It’s clear that none of the before mentioned QBs have Miller’s talent, but Miller still has to get the play book down and become a more effective leader. At this point, look for Bauserman to most likely continue getting first team reps unless Guiton or Miller can separate himself from the bunch.
Besides the QB battle, today’s practice also seemed to be aimed at torturing Buckeye nation with the loss of DeVier Posey for 5 games this season. Posey made plays look easy and he made it clear what the Buckeyes will be without for their first five games. It didn’t matter who was throwing it to him, Posey was coming down with the ball and making plays down the field. It was a message to the younger receivers that they would need to step up this season because Posey’s loss was felt as early as today.
While the offense had its moments, the defense shined today. The offensive line had a lot of trouble containing the defense whether it came down to pass protection or run blocking. The defense is going to have to be the heart of this team this year because of the offense’s lack of experience. But without a doubt the defense has some great talent. Dionte Allen is looking like a guy who can make some plays; he was typically the one drawing the assignment of Posey. Doran Grant was also playing very physical and tough in the passing game, at one point even knocking down big-bodied T.Y. Williams.
In the running game, Hyde and Hall look like they’re going to be getting the majority of the snaps for the offense in an effort to replace Dan “Boom” Herron. Both made some spectacular plays, running around defensive lineman and through helpless defensive backs. If there is one position the Buckeyes have depth at, it is definitely running back. Hyde, Hall, Jaamal Berry, Rod Smith, and Herron, once he serves his five game suspension, will be a great combination of players to have in the backfield.
Overall it was a very intense practice speared on by chants from coaches of “don’t let them dictate our tempo,” or “make a play for once in your life.” But these intense chants created an atmosphere that was competitive, and the team will need it if they hope to find some answers for the various position battles going into this season.