And Then, Troy Said to Braxton...

By Kyle Rowland on March 12, 2013 at 10:00a

It’s been six seasons since Ohio State last had a Heisman Trophy winner. For a school that’s won a record seven bronze stiff-arm trophies, a six-year hiatus seems like a lifetime. Fear not, the Buckeyes already have a frontrunner for the 2013 award. And the 2006 winner – Troy Smith – believes something magical is in the air. 

And then Troy told Braxton...The past and present, deep in conversation.

“I can’t rave enough about the kid,” he said, referring to Braxton Miller. “I would be doing him a disservice if I didn’t give him everything I know, which I will. I want him to be the best because we have a chance to do something very, very special here. We have to help the guys. We have to constantly let them know this is real and it’s achievable.”

During his five years at Ohio State, Smith was a part of 55 wins. Four were against Michigan, including three as the starting quarterback. Smith’s performances are three of the best individual acts in the history of college football’s greatest rivalry. But it’s that 56th win that eluded Smith and leaves a void in an otherwise notable list of accomplishments.

Jan. 8, 2007 was the date. The game itself was supposed to be a coronation. Smith would lead Ohio State to the national championship and be among the most beloved players in the program’s storied history, resembling the awe shown toward two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin. When Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, it appeared the script would be followed.

Instead, Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators ran roughshod over the Buckeyes. The loss was a gut-punch to Ohio State and set in motion a chain of events that would actually lead Meyer to Columbus. But it also extinguished a proper and deserving sendoff for Smith.

He spent parts of six seasons bouncing around the NFL and UFL. Now an employee in the athletic department, Smith is back at Ohio State. He won a national title as a redshirt freshman, but the Florida loss denied him the opportunity to win a national championship as the starting quarterback.

Now Smith can help the man who deprived his glory – Meyer – someone he’s grown to admire and the signal-caller that mimics his game.

“He’s a sponge,” said Smith, describing Miller’s eagerness to learn. “I want to try and help him, but I don’t want to take away anything special that we have here. I want him to stay entrenched into the Buckeye lore. When Urban and those guys need me to give him a little tutelage, I’ll be there.”

Paying forward is as ingrained into the culture at Ohio State as “Hang on Sloopy” and Script Ohio. It was a movement Woody Hayes started more than a half-century ago that has since been carried on by Buckeye Nation.

Smith is just the latest former player to return to Ohio State and lend a helping hand to the football program. His latest act of outreach came last week at Ohio State’s Pro Day, an event Smith took part in six years ago. He dusted off the arm and took to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center once more.

Super Bowl XLIX MVP?The Cleveland native has never shied away from the Browns.

“I can roll out of bed and throw spirals, what can I say,” said a grinning Smith last Friday, where he served as the personal quarterback for Jake Stoneburner, as well as tossing passes to Ohio State’s defensive backs.

Personnel from 28 NFL teams were present for the drills, and it came as no surprise that some scouts sought out Smith after he was done throwing. He had an anonymous role among potential first-round draft picks and quickly, though unwillingly, injected himself into the theme of the day.

His passes were crisp and his mechanics impressive. But even at 28 years of age, Smith has no plans for an NFL comeback.

“That was for Jake Stoneburner, that was for those guys,” Smith said. “I’ve always loved the Cleveland Browns, but I love the Buckeyes even more and I love Columbus even more. The opportunity these guys have given me around here, it doesn’t come often. And I have to cultivate it.

“But you never know. I’ve always loved the Cleveland Browns.”

Smith’s not-so-subtle mention of his beloved Browns has been a trend for the Cleveland native since his senior year in college. He famously donned a Browns jacket when the 2006 Buckeyes were honored at a basketball game and spoke openly about his desire to play in Cleveland during the lead up to the 2007 NFL Draft.

The hated Baltimore Ravens pulled the trigger instead. Smith was in line to be the starter until a bout of mononucleosis sidelined him. Joe Flacco took over and never looked back. In 2010, Smith went to San Francisco, where he compiled a 3-2 record as a starter. The 49ers, however, chose not to resign him.

Two seasons later, the Ravens beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

One could say Smith entered the league a few years too early. His style is now running rampant with success to back it up. Mobile throwers like Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton are all the rage.

Aside from his on-field production, Smith’s leadership skills were legendary. His Ohio State teammates responded to him immediately when he took over the starting job midway through the 2004 season. The Buckeyes never looked back. They lost four games over the next two and a half seasons.

“I can see why he won the Heisman,” Stoneburner said. “I can see why he was a captain. He motivated me better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Having him out there certainly made me look better. And I think he was more happy for me than I was for myself.

“That guy’s incredible. I was running fast as I can 40 yards down the field, and I didn’t have to take one single less stride. He hit me right in stride. I absolutely believe he could be in the NFL, and I think he believes it, too.”

Said Smith: “I totally have accepted the next stage of my life.”

But if a call comes from the North Coast, he’ll be taking it.


Comments Show All Comments

brandonbauer87's picture

If you think Troy Smith couldn't be better than Brandon Weeden you're lying to yourself. 

Jhesse17's picture

Plus they're the same age.

kevinfrenchfry's picture

THIS, lol.  I always liked what Herbstreit said about Troy Smith in 06.  After Texas won it all everyone was hot on VY and I'm not sure if it was because they were both black or what, but everyone was comparing Troy to Vince but Herby numerous times would say, "you know who he reminds me of...Drew Brees."

SPreston2001's picture

Actually Smith is a year younger than Weeden lol.

AcrossTheField11's picture

I'd take Troy over Brandon "Doopy Pantz" Weeden any day.  

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

MediBuck's picture

Seriously. I'd actually become a Browns fan if they signed him. He'd be an instant fan favorite. Why the management decided it would be okay to sign a 28-year-old rookie who played his whole collegiate career in a system offense with the best WR in college football that year and tab him to be the future of the franchise is beyond me. /rant

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

brian's picture

i think he would be better than Brandon once hes in stride and has had the time weiden has had. GO BUCKS


andyb's picture

Always loved Troy, Great article!

Colorado Buckeye's picture

He was definitely a few years ahead of his time... would have loved to see him land somewhere in the NFL where they would have utilized his skills they way they are with QB's today. One of the Buckeye Greats for sure!

Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever!

Hovenaut's picture

Cleveland Browns upper management.....


Savage45's picture

I love Troy, and would even watch and cheer for the Browns if they played him! By the way the Buckeyes were 4-1 vs. the piss and blue while he was on the team.
On the 2002 dvd "a time and change" they go behind the scenes on the road game in Cincinnati and Troy as a true freshman commands the attention at the table and tells a joke as Tress stops by. It's some candid Buckeye gold!

Larryp713's picture

Troy Smith may be my favorite Buckeye ever. Reading Ramzy's article a couple of years ago about seeing Troy in the Children's hospital sealed the deal for me. I love the line "I can roll out of bed and throw spirals, what can I say!" As a lifelong Brown's fan, I was crushed he didn't get picked there. I would love to see him get a chance, but it will have to be now. Thanks for the article, Kyle.



twalsh's picture

I always wanted to see Smith go to the Browns.

osubuck57's picture

Always loved Troy and how special he was!!Would have liked to see him have more NFL success,for himself,but glad he is a lifelong Buckeye and always tries to give back to the university and community.One of my favorites all-time!!


BullCityBuckeye's picture

Although he may be a bit rusty (doesn't sound like it though), the Browns wouldn't be crazy to consider Troy Smith.  Watching him play, I always thought that Troy Smith had a certain"it" factor and mentality that cannot be taught (i.e., intangibles not unlike one Russell Wilson).
Hell, Troy at 28 is even *younger* than Weeden. 

farmerbuck's picture

That's why i love this sight, such a great read! I have always like Troy and was always pulling hard for him in the pros. Greatguy and a devoted to the Buckeyes. If Braxton stays healthy, I think he is going to be unbelievable!!

You have to hate losing more than you love winning! GO BUCKS!!

tjbucvik23's picture

I am a Minnesota Viking fan. I've posted on a Vikings message board that I think Troy Smith would be a great choice for QB. Minnesota has terrible back up QB's and an unproven starter.
 I hope I can get other Viking fans and team management to consider him. Career QB rating of 159.7 according to wikipedia

Baroclinicity's picture

I thought troy had some decent games in S.F.  It baffled me that he never caught on anywhere...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

PharmBuck's picture

It really has never made sense why Troy never caught on anywhere. Looked great for Baltimore until he got sick, then led a very mediocre at the time SF team to a 3 - 2 record. You're telling me this guy isn't better than the Brandon Weeden's and Mark Sanchez's of the world??

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again," said Meyer. "Do it a little harder next time."

yrro's picture

I sort of get the impression that he's an awesome leader as *the* guy, but he's not the best teammate as a backup QB. Which is where he's going to be anywhere he ends up right now.

dlb72osu's picture

TSUN fans hate him even more than Craft. In three games he accounted for over 1000 yards total offense. Let that sink in...averaged over 300+ yards EVERY game against OSU's biggest rival. Simply incredible!

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

kevinfrenchfry's picture

Troy got the shit end of the stick in the NFL, he was doing well for the Ravens, when something out of his control squandered that.  Then he went to the Niners where that joke of a coach Mike Singletary who had no clue what he was doing with his players (see: Vernon Davis then, see: Vernon Davis NOW).  He really should get a call from the Browns.  They dont have to pay him much, the guy is a native son, and they have the most cap room in the league that you know they aren't going to use too much of.

Jhesse17's picture

I hope NE calls him up. Not convinced that Ryan Mallet is a worthy successor for Brady.

O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Troy is an absolute gamer. C'mon Haslam and Browns front office, how can you not get this guy a shot? OSU fan base ready to get excited to see Troy in uniform again...and he's a winner!
Hit 'em up:

Davep160's picture

My fondest recollection of Troy Smith (In person) was during the spring game his Freshman year.  All of the upper classmen had their chance, and they finally put him in.  And I have to admit, I really didn't know who he was back then.   He rolled left and threw the ball 70 yards...there wasn't a QB on that team that had his arm.  
Fast forward to when he was playing Notre Dame in the bowl game, he was asked what he admired most about Brady Quinn.    He said "Arm Strength",  And I know for a FACT that Brady Quinn couldn't throw the ball half as hard as Troy Smith.  

81Alum's picture

Love Troy Smith, always have, always will. IMHO, the guy is one of the best if not the best QB ever to don the Scarlet & Grey...and I've seen a lot of them from Schlichter to the present. Great human being as well.
When Troy says Braxton can be the best, I believe him. Meyer/Herman have gone on record saying Braxton has no ceiling. Boy, would I love for Braxton to reach his potential when he is still wearing the S&G.

Poison nuts's picture

Be pretty cool to see him in a Browns uniform....

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

D. Anthony's picture

Not being a homer here or trying to make excuses but Troy went to 2 of the worst places possible at that time. Baltimore was, especially at that time, all about the defense...and the offense schemes were all very run heavy. San Francisco had a subpar coach (Singletary) who again was all about the D, and the offensive schemes weren't a good fit at all for a QB like Troy.
Surprised Troy at his age is saying he's ready to move on.

D. Anthony

hodge's picture

I'd imagine that he's tasted enough disappointment and understands that his chance right now with OSU's athletic department is probably going to be more fulfilling than fighting for a backup role on an NFL team (which is his most likely fate; though Weeden's his age). His was basically cursed throughout his NFL career, I can't blame him for wanting something better. 
Personally, I'd love to see Herman take him under his wing an begin to tutor him into our next quarterback coach. 

Poison nuts's picture

Agreed. He's already a leader. He's a Heisman trophy winner. I have to believe he has great potential in coaching, and to me, it looks like that's where he may be headed...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Colorado Buckeye's picture

Bravo.... that is a brilliant idea!

Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever!

RBuck's picture

Surprised Troy at his age is saying he's ready to move on.

Sounds to me Troy has already moved on, unless the Browns call.

Long live the southend.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

I spent a week in Westminster MD during Troy's training camp with the Ravens. He was the clear starter and a fan favorite. I remember standing with Ray Lewis at the end of one of the days and he raved and raved about Troy. I wanted that redemption for him so badly.
My heart was simply broken when he got sick and couldn't start. He will always be one of my all time favorites and although I would love to see him in the NFL, I am super excited he is back in Columbus.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

D. Anthony's picture

Angelheart... your avatar makes me cringe as it was designed to make fun of tOSU for losing The Championship games, like the Bills...glad to see you have the Buffalo connection, otherwise it wouldn't make sense...also, I went to Gulf Coast CC in Panama City back in the day for baseball.

D. Anthony

doodah_man's picture

Troy. Is. Buckeye.  Paid his dues, keeps paying them forward. That is all.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

stittracer99's picture

Troy Smith = Buckeye Hero

CC's picture

This article is great for so many reasons.  I love that we have such a great heritage and a site which can help us remember.

jthiel09's picture

Hodge that's a great point ... it would be cool to see Herman work with him and see if there's a possibility of T. Smith being a QB coach. I could see that and it'd be great for the program too given Urban's style of offense.


Buckeyeneer's picture

Great article Kyle. Thank you.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

dubjayfootball90's picture

Atta boy, TROY! good man right there. GREAT buckeye!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

buckeye76BHop's picture

This is why I love Troy Smith (doubt you'll ever see anyone else back helping JT Barrett or whom ever becomes Braxton's predecessor).  At least he's given back to OSU by helping the current QB who has a great opportunity, like Troy said.

“I can’t rave enough about the kid,” he said, referring to Braxton Miller. “I would be doing him a disservice if I didn’t give him everything I know, which I will. I want him to be the best because we have a chance to do something very, very special here. We have to help the guys. We have to constantly let them know this is real and it’s achievable.”

Flame me all you want...I'm right.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

BrewstersMillions's picture

1) Go to Article
2) Highlight the entire article.
3) Press CTRL + C
4) Open Word
5) Press Control + V
6) Hit F5
7) Click on "Find"
8) Type in "Pryor"
-No results
Why bring it up? Its just pointless. Instead of praising Troy, you continue your scorched earth policy towards Pryor-who for the record isn't allowed around OSU so can't help Miller if he wanted to.

chitown buckeye's picture

Wouldnt you think Braxton would come back to help?

"I'm having a heart attack!"

BrewstersMillions's picture

Depends. If he's in the pro's (like Pryor) he wouldn't because he doesn't have the time-If he isn't (like Troy) maybe.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

doubt you'll ever see anyone else back helping JT Barrett or whom ever becomes Braxton's predecessor

Braxton's predecessor is in Oakland. I think you meant successor.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Dougger's picture

Great article Kyle. First time I saw him live was a crappy day in the shoe against PSU, close to a tie game he rolled right, then got flushed all the way left behind the 50 and launched a bomb to the TE for the touchdown... it was only a 46 yard strike but it really looked like 60 easy from where he threw it... he was just the man.. what else can you say?

I like football

buckeye4life050233's picture

It was actually a throw to Brian Robiskie, but yeah....that play was like woah this dude has some kind of of the awesome highlights on his heisman reel......

ARMYBUCK's picture

I agree that Troy is probably ready to move on because he doesnt want to be a backup quarterback but the bottom line is he WOULDNT be a backup in Cleveland.  One of my all-time favorite buckeyes, I have always wanted him to catch on with Cleveland.  No better time than now...anyone know if Haslam frequents this site?  He should!

PDoggett73's picture

I think the browns should pick up Troy Smith and Justin Zwick and they can split time at qb.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Don't worry though, any loss in which Zwick and Smith split time will still be Ryan Hamby's fault.

MediBuck's picture

Troy will always be one of my favorite Buckeyes, and it was truly a gut punch to see the way his career ended. That 2007 BCS NC is one of only two Ohio State games I ever turned off before its conclusion. I hope to see him slinging it again in the NFL, but otherwise wish him the best of luck in his new job.

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

DigDugOSU's picture

Only time I've ever cheered for them damn ravens is when I got to see my boy troy rolling out and throwing rockets....I always loved that throwing motion of his, just wish he could of caught on somewhere.   I was so pumped when the Steelers picked him up last summer, but I guess he has just moved on from the NFL and is ready for the next chapter. 

mjs1902's picture

I love reading articles such as these. I am a big Troy Smith fan and still wear my OSU Smith Jersey. Having him work with Braxton Miller can only help Miller in the long run. I live in Baltimore and I was so happy when the Ravens drafted him and also so sad when he got sick and lost the starting position to Flaco. As for playing for the Browns, I would hope that this would happen, but for right now Troy being at OSU is a big plus to the atheletic department and The Program.

andretolstoy's picture

Shoot I want to root for the Browns. Getting Troy and, now, Beanie would do wonders for morale IMHO.