A Backup To Believe In

By Johnny Ginter on August 13, 2012 at 3:00p

A couple of years ago I was on the sidelines for Ohio State's ridiculous game against Ron English's Eastern Michigan University Whatevers, where the Buckeyes would roll up over 70 points and basically make a mockery of the concept of restraint. But! Because the game was such a laugher, that meant one Kenny Guiton got a little time at quarterback towards the end of the game, and from my vantage point there wasn't a single person on the Ohio State sideline who wasn't thrilled for the dude.

A true Zen master

Kenny G actually had a pretty productive seven minutes against EMU; he didn't attempt a pass (and in fact has only attempted 2 in his entire career), but did have a 15-yard touchdown run that led to him getting mobbed by his teammates and a big ol' bear hug from noted violator of comparatively minor NCAA rules, Terrelle Pryor.

It was a sweet moment, because a) it's always nice when a backup, particularly a 3rd string backup, gets his due during a real game, b) Guiton has always seemed like a great dude who has never complained or given anyone any problems, and c) it gave OSU 72 points which was just hilarious at the time.

The problem for backups is that this is pretty much the most anybody ever wants from them. Cool, awesome, great, you got some garbage time reps. Now let's hope that you never end up having to do anything more than that because holy crap if you do we are screwed. Exceptions to that rule abound (see: Ohio State in 2011, 2008, 2004 hmmm this seems to be a trend), but in 2012, Ohio State has a pretty well-established starter who will cause mass panic if he goes down.

Which is why today it's important to learn about the venerable Ken Guiton and his fellow backup QB compatriots, our final line of defense against total chaos and the contenders for the Throne of Bauserman the Bad.

Guiton is a 6 foot 3 quarterback from Houston who was added mostly as an afterthought to the 2009 recruiting class; he had been ranked as a three-star QB, was listed at roughly 175 pounds, and gave a lot of unathletic Buckeye fans a small glimmer of hope that in some kind of theoretical throwdown, there was in fact a member of the Ohio State football team that they can beat up.

I already talked about the EMU game, and Guiton would have two more completely inconsequential appearances in 2010, against Purdue and Indiana. His profile on the official OSU website claims that he saw playing time against Nebraska last year, which I don't remember at all, but in any event he didn't accumulate any statistics of any kind in 2011. It's not really the kind of thing that instills hope that he can step in and lead Ohio State in a bowl ga—oh, right. Okay, so maybe the stakes aren't quite as high this year. That doesn't make Guiton's role any less important, and here's hoping a couple of early blowout wins will get him back in the flow of things.

The conquering hero of the 2012 Spring Game

Guiton's game is interesting, although if you had asked Urban Meyer for his assessment of said game back in March he'd probably just give a thumbs down and go "phhhbbbbttt." Meyer was admittedly not a big fan of the relaxed Texan QB when he got to Ohio State; Guiton has never been the Type A, rassum frassum kind of guy that Meyer likes to see in his QBs. But, neither is Braxton Miller or John Simon, and I think ultimately what won Meyer over on Guiton was his work ethic.

In any event, though Tim May once called Guiton a reasonable "facsimile" of Braxton, the truth is that he is (and was recruited to be) more of a poor man's Terrelle Pryor rather than a potential replacement for Miller. It's an important distinction, because while Guiton is a relatively fast quarterback who can do well in the option game, he's a long, gangly loper who would not likely hold up well to some of the punishment that Braxton sustained last year.

Which is fine, because if Guiton ever did have to see significant playing time, the offense he would run would likely be a very stripped-down version of what Miller is being asked to handle. If the Spring Game is any indication (which, to be fair, it rarely is), the coaches aren't afraid to let Kenny G air it out a little. Most of the attention was understandably focused on Miller back in April, but Guiton acquitted himself fairly well by going 16 for 24 and 185 yards in the exhibition. It's not a lot to go on, but my guess is that if you ever see Guiton in a game he's going to have a steady diet of screens and dump offs to backs and tight ends, which he should be able to handle reasonably well.

Catch up on everything you need to know ahead of the season kickoff.

There are two other QBs on the 2012 OSU roster, but they're both approaching Kermit the Frog levels of greenness. Cleveland Glenville product Cardale Jones delayed his commitment to OSU and attended Fork Union for a year before enrolling this January, so despite being a name floating out in the ether for quite a while he's still a complete unknown on the football field. He is huge though, at 6 foot 5 and 225ish pounds, and it's interesting to wonder what Tressel had in mind for Cardale and what Urban Meyer plans to do with him. Honestly I feel bad for the kid; he waited a year to enroll in the hopes of gaining playing time, and now finds himself likely a #3 guy forever. I would not be surprised to see a transfer here. And Justin Siems! He's there too. Very happy guy, that Justin Siems.

So there you go; Ken Guiton is the clear backup at this point and heir to noted woodsman and naturalist Joe Bauserman. Can you expect a lot from him? Probably not, but "a lot" hopefully won't be what's needed to win games this year. What you see is what you get with Guiton, and what Meyer and the rest of the team are beginning to see is a collected, hardworking dude who will get you by in a pinch. In other words, exactly what you want from your backup quarterback.


Comments Show All Comments

Rapping Bum's picture

He should've started ahead of Bauserman last year, imo.
edit:  He should've at least played in the Illinois game.  I was screaming at the television.

Help is on the way.

CC's picture

I should have started ahead of Bauserman last year.  I was at the Miami game and I kept wondering why he was throwing it away.
After watching TP (say what you will about his passing) it was tough to get adjusted to Bauserman.

hodge's picture

Big fan of Kenny G, never understood why the staff didn't give him a chance earlier in the Nebraska game collapse debacle quagmire travesty retina-scorching-aberrition-of-football after Bauserman proved content to sling the ball into the nosebleeds every series.
Also, EMU's coach is Ron English.

Sarah's picture

I don't want to know why Johnny had Ron Franklin on his mind. I hope he doesn't start calling everyone around here "sweet baby."

Johnny Ginter's picture

DAMMIT i specifically tried not to make that mental mistake and i did it again, sorry about that

painterlad's picture

Argh, there goes another brain aneurysm.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

Abe Froman's picture

More therapy.....please make it go away.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

osu07asu10's picture

Always been a big fan of Kenny G. Liked him when he signed out of HS because he jumped at the chance to be a buckeye, knowing full well what lay ahead of him.
Never has shown discontent, has been a model buckeye on and off the field. Count me in the camp that would love to see him get some reps and do well (not at the expense of a Braxton injury).
When all is said and done, I would love to move Kenny G into my All-Time Favorite Back-up Buckeye, ahead of a one, Mr. Scotty McMuffin.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

schooey's picture

Good for Guiton. But it seems a shame if Jones transfers. I have grown used to the dual threat quarterback that can run over people, like Prior. Jones is just not good enough, huh? It would be a disaster to come down to third string but it would also be nice to have one as good as Jones. 

rampageripster's picture

I think you underestimate Cardale... it'll be interesting who wins the battle between Cardale/Barrett next year... it's interesting because I think Urban would prefer not to have a QB start all 4 years, but it's a talent wins out sort of deal with Braxton.  Cardale knew he would have to wait his turn, so this will bea  test to his fortitude.  Does he have enough fire in him to go out and out-compete a true freshman next year for the #2 spot?  I think he does.  Does he ever start? If Brax stays all four years I lean towards no, but who knows.

Cause I couldn't go for three

MediBuck's picture

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Jones on the field a few times this year or next. I'm not certain how fast he is, but he's definitely more a battering ram of a signal caller than the more spry, svelte Miller or the gangly Guiton. Given the fact that many of the Meyer playbooks have featured a rather large fullback-turned-QB managing the offense, and his red-zone troubles as of late, he could definitely use a bigger body at the goal line. Whether he stays or not will depend on if Coach Urb can convince Jones that he could be the next Tim Tebow.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Well put. I agree that Cardale could be an "A and B" gap runner where as Braxton might not be able to take that type of punishment.  I know guys got after him about the Tweet after the spring game, I think with his size and arm strength he could be a perfect fit.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Deshaun's picture

Hey, don't forget about Kenny G's 2 rushes for 4 yards in a 45-7 season opening win over Marshall in 2010. What are the chances JT Barrett takes a redshirt in 2013 with an entrenched starter and solid backup already in place? How often do Elite 11 finalist QB's get redshirted?

buck-I.8's picture

A redshirt seems probable, but with Urban, it's hard to predict. For what it's worth, though, a Shane Morris redshirt year seems to be in the plans up north

cinserious's picture

Type- A qb =tim tebow, a real public speaker type. Braxton, guiton, and John Simon are more the hard working lead-by-example types. Which they do tend to work just a hard a the type A's or more, but aren't as vocal.oh well Braxton's a beast, Simons a beast and tebow is an anomaly. It all works put in the end as OSU wins and plays for MULTIPLE national championships. Getting to the NC game won't be a problem but winning it will mean w have to outdo the sec types, which Meyer will have no problem with.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.