With Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton, Meyer Has Options (of the Good Variety)

By Jeff Beck on September 16, 2013 at 2:30p
64 Comments
Tuning up (pun intended)

It was born in 2012, during the fourth quarter of a terrible day in October. It then flourished two weeks ago against San Diego State before reaching full Paul Bunyan status on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay. The story of Kenny Guiton is now certified legend. Back-up quarterback turned captain, turned record-breaking starter is the stuff that rarely occurs beyond the silver-screen, but that’s exactly the script lucky 13 has penned for himself. 

Sitting behind Terrelle Pryor, Joe Bauserman (right?), then Braxton Miller, Guiton stepped in for the injured Miller to start against California and took full advantage of the opportunity to the tune of 276 yards passing with four touchdowns and 92 yards on the ground, defeating the Golden Bears 52-34 in the largest offensive output (608 total yards) of Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State.

The yard-a-palooza prompted E-mails like this from good friends:

"Kenny Guiton is putting together a legitimate Heisman campaign. Jeff, are OSU fans ready to forget Braxton?"

Just consider those two sentences for a moment. If you were told either would land in your inbox this September would you have replied with anything other than an emphatic "WHAT?!" The answer there is an unequivocal “no”, though today I’m required to honor it with a legitimate response. Guiton has forced me to. In just two games (and two plays of a third) he has amassed 630 total yards and 8 TDs. 

To be clear, no one is going to “forget Braxton”. Guiton’s heroics have been epic, but Miller is far too talented to languish on the bench. No one, not even Guiton is willing to dispute that. This from Kenny following his performance on Saturday:

“I'll be helping Braxton no matter what goes on. If my number is called, I’ll do the job that I can do.”

So, Meyer finds himself in a dilemma; a conundrum any head coach would love to have: one set of keys, two skilled drivers. Braxton will start when he’s 100%, but Guiton is clearly one of the best 11 on offense. Just listen to Meyer:

Full-Contact JazzGuiton would like to say hello.

"I think Kenny will get in the game a little bit. He’s throwing the ball better than he has and throwing the ball down field, so that’s something I’ll need to think about it."

So is there a way for Kenny G to ride shotgun?

One route for Meyer could be to utilize the two like he did with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow in 2006. Start one player and use the other in specific situations. In ’06 Leak was the starter, moving the team down the field with a strong football IQ and a decent arm. But, when the Gators needed short yardage, Meyer would tap Tebow for a change of pace. To be fair, the Leak/Tebow comparison isn’t a complete parallel. In 2006 Meyer had two QBs with unique, yet complementary skill sets. In 2013 Meyer has two complete QBs who have shown they can throw the ball while also keeping a play alive with their legs. So how do you utilize both to their full potential?

One option (upcoming pun intended) would be to bring in Guiton to run the option. As aforementioned, it’s one facet of the game Kenny G runs better than Braxton. Just check out exhibit A:

It’s certainly not out the realm of possibility to imagine Meyer giving the nod to No. 13 near the goal-line to help finish off drives and/or keep fresh legs in the game one play after a long Miller run.

One other possibility is for Guiton and Miller to take the field at the same time. I’m not a defensive coordinator, but I can imagine the thought of both Kenny and Braxton trotting out at the same time has got to be alarming for an opposing coach trying to dial up the right play. Utilizing Guiton (or Braxton) on motion sweeps with the opportunity to throw seems like a pretty attractive play-call to me.

Finally, Guiton could simply be used as a decoy; placed on the field in specific situations to give rival coaches pause. We know Meyer loves providing upcoming opponents with something to think about, so why not force them to spend time planning for the mighty Keraxton™?

Whatever Meyer chooses, Guiton has proven he deserves playing time. No backup QB in the country could enter a game and do what Kenny G has done. That’s a fact.

While Buckeye Nation anxiously awaits the return of Miller, there’s a certain solace in knowing they’ve got a Buckeye living legend ready in the wings; one who seems continually able to ditch the headset at the drop of a hat in favor of wooing us all with a little smooth jazz in the key of G.

64 Comments

Comments

D-Day0043's picture

Line them both up in the backfield and do something the game of football has never seen before, run a quintuple option. Two passing options and three running options.

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SaltyD0gg's picture

Look up UL-Monroe, they actually run that right now. To make it even crazier one of the QBs is a lefty and one is a righty. The possibilities are crazy.

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D-Day0043's picture

Really? Well, I guess that was a silly idea then. :-)

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D-Day0043's picture

You're right! That was freaking genius! I would put a back in the backfield as another option though.

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D-Day0043's picture

Bed posted a link below.

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45has2's picture

You're on to something there, my friend. I remember during the 1st TOSU game Urb broadcast with Spiels, our opponent ran an option with the QB pitching to the 1st running back and then he pitched it to the #2 man. Score. Both UFB and 36 said they had never seen that before. Chris then jokingly, or so I thought at the time, asked Meyer if he would put that in his playbook when he became the coach at TOSU.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

ChazBuckeye's picture

"One route for Meyer could be to utilize the two like he did with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow in 2006."

I think Urban needed some reassurance that Kenny G could do it in a starter's role and not just in the closer role like Purdue last year.  Now that he's done that, I can see this above happening, but not until the right moment.  I'm not trying to get too far ahead of myself and go off the deep end by saying it's a must do. However, Kenny G and Braxton will be on the field together by TTUN or possibly kept a secret until then.  This staff have some seriously smart coaches.  I can see them being strategic and systematic about it.  It's not going to happen unless it's a need or to be unexpected.  Which what better time than the end of the year.  I hope that's what they do...no diamond formation or however they decide to do it until that time I specified.  All I can say is I LOVE the idea!
 

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

kalabuckzoo's picture

Kenny gives Urban and Herman the ability to go full throttle with Braxton in big games (assuming he's healthy).  Not saying you run him into the ground to get hurt, but you can be confident in calling his number knowing that if something happens you've got a starter waiting in the wings.

SaltyD0gg's picture

Not since "Babyface" Joe Germaine carried the clipboard have I been so confident should the starter leave the game.
Assuming a blowout on Saturday, do we see garbage time for Jones or Barrett?

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buckeyedude's picture

If there ever was a game for Cardale(I ain't come to play school) and JT to get reps, it's this game. I hope they both see significant time. Good call, SALTYDOGG.
I think the question for me is: Does Urban run a play or two with Kenny and Braxton in the backfield at the same time vs FAMU to give opposing coaches something to think about, or does he save it for a tough game later on?

 

 

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

And risk the nightmare of both of them getting injured?  

BassDropper's picture

Anyone know what Kenny G's Tat says? Looks like "Family" but I cant really tell

DIRECTIONER

D-Day0043's picture

Lol! I thought he had the Houston Astros emblem on his shoulder. I kept looking at it trying to figure it out.

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BED's picture

Already tweeted this (h/t to @the_BBC for the google), but this could be done at OSU.

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Jangs78's picture

I would love to see us apply that same offensive package as ULM even if its only for a series or two. 

FitzBuck's picture

Very interesting.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

ih8rolltyde's picture

I must be wrong, but I always thought a forward handoff negated the possibility of a pass. Such as, the offense may only transfer the ball forward once per down from scrimmage. Was that rule changed?

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BenArazi4's picture

 
 
Start Kenny, redshirt Braxton, he still has a lot of learning to do and doesn't throw downfield, lead or run read plays as well as Kenny does.  Kenny's got the it factor, he's determined and a proven leader, Braxton needs to be more vocal, toughen up, read the option better and be a better leader in order to play QB at tOSU.  Braxtons a talent, and a dynamic playmaker, just needs to polish up on those things.

 
 
 

d5k's picture

You can't just redshirt him even if this ridiculous notion was the appropriate course of action.  He would have to get a more severe injury.
And we have yet to see a full game with a full playbook from Braxton... it is highly likely we saw a dumbed down version vs. Buffalo.  That was basically played as a practice.

OSU069's picture

Pardon my language but are you on crack?? You want to redshirt the guy that finished 5th in the Heisman standing last year.

BassDropper's picture

Braxton hasnt even played a full game, but from what I saw week 1 he was throwing the ball much better than last year. Kenny is a GREAT BACKUP, but Braxton is much better than Kenny...and thats not a slight on Kenny G at all. 

DIRECTIONER

FitzBuck's picture

"Cocaine is one hell of a drug!" - Rick James (super freak)

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D-Day0043's picture

Any time anyone can pull out a Rick James reference it deserves a up vote. There are only so many opportunities.

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buckeyedude's picture

Sorry. But that ain't Rick James.

If RJ got a dime for every time some disc jockey played Super Freak, he'd be a GAZILLIONIARE.

 

 

Maestro's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zadaQRP2w0o
Just watch this highlight a few times, especially the view from behind the offense.  You have to play that guy when he is healthy.

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ScarletNGrey01's picture

X-Brax.  No one jukes better than that kid.  No one.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

cinserious's picture

Except for maybe Rick James in his prime.

Gone ham, be back soon...

ChazBuckeye's picture

No way in hell would he be redshirted....he's WAY to important to OSU's mission which is a B1G title and possibly more.  I do agree that Kenny G has impressed way more than I thought he ever would.  That being said, I could in now way shape or form see #5 not on the field if he's healthy.  And I bet he is now or will be soon;-)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

iamcbs's picture

I'm completely on board with all of the love "Smooth Jazz" is getting, but let's not get crazy. The B1G POY is injured and sitting on the bench, when he's healthy there is no more dynamic player at that position in the country. So while it's nice to ponder and armchair coach, X-Brax 360 is the man, period!!

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QBYBuckeye's picture

Earl Bruce just mentioned on radio that Youngstown ran a "Side-saddle T" formation with both QBs under center at the same time making the defense guess which one had the ball.  This could be lots of fun ...

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buckeyedude's picture

both QBs under center at the same time

That would be a very crowded place, unless the center had a VERY BIG BUTT. Just sayin'.

 

 

Buckeye80's picture

I just don't see where Kenny G runs the option better than Braxton. He made several wrong reads Saturday night. He made several great reads too, but I just wonder why everybody thinks he runs it better. 

D-Day0043's picture

He did not make several wrong reads, sometimes the defense just has it covered and it doesn't gain much. You can tell the difference, because when you make the wrong read it results in negative yardage. I only counted 3 missed reads. Miller usually misses almost a dozen per game.

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Buckeye80's picture

I said several wrong. You counted 3.  Several = 3.  LOL

BenArazi4's picture

 
 
He did have a couple of mistakes, but those are fixed with game reps.  It is clear who is more comfortable in the offense and Kenny G makes the right read almost all the time.  Braxton is hesitant to pitch and usually keeps for fear of a turnover.

 
 
 

BassDropper's picture

Kenny G is head and shoulders above Braxton when it comes to the option...imo that is the only part of his game that is better than Braxton. 

DIRECTIONER

D-Day0043's picture

One could argue he has better touch and accuracy on his passes. Miller just drills it in there.

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buckeyedude's picture

I think another place that Kenny is better than Braxton is surveying the field and identifying open receivers. Braxton tends to get "tunnel vision" and he just "locks in" on one receiver, and the opposing DBs read his eyes for an easy pick, in some cases.
Braxton needs to relax a little, and not lock in on one receiver. It's like he knows who he's throwing to before he breaks the huddle, and then he forces it in to a player that is double teamed, while missing the guy on the other side of the field that is wide open.
Kenny scans the field for the open receiver.

 

 

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

I always wonder why Braxton appears nervous or stressed when he is playing.  If they are about to sack him, he can break their ankles and gain some yards.  If a receiver gets open downfield, he can throw a 50 yard deep ball accurately.  If it's a short pass, he has the accuracy and velocity on his throws to complete it.
You would think it would be as relaxing as Sunday dinner.

cinserious's picture

Kenny scans the field for the open receiver.

...Almost like Terminator scanning for clothes.

 

Gone ham, be back soon...

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Seriously LOL?  Have you been watching the games?  Kenny G runs the option as well as any college QB I remember seeing.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

Guiton is the best I have ever seen at running the traditional option.  He is great at the zone read as well, but is he or Braxton more likely to rip off a 75 yard TD run at any given moment?

Buckeye80's picture

I'm not saying he doesn't run it well.  I love Kenny G!  I just think Braxton is our best player, and I want the ball in his hands.  I just don't see why everybody seems to discredit/forget how good Braxton is. 

lsjSnail's picture

He pitches a very catchable ball and does it at the most favorable time. Miller looks like he did last year so far in the read option. Kenny had from what I remember one bad read to Wilson resulting in a one yard loss in which he should have kept the ball.
Edit: It also doesn't help Miller's case when the RBs are not in good position to pitch the ball to them. Last year Hyde seemed almost ahead of Miller a lot of times.

45has2's picture

Ask Urb because he thinks so as well and is quoted as saying so. IMO, Brax is such a dynamic athlete that his 1st option is always himself. Therefore, his pitch timing isn't always optimal. Brax also thinks he can always save the play. Sometimes he can and it's +50, sometimes he can't and it's -8 or 12 which makes for a very syncopated offensive rhythm.  Kenny doesn't hesitate to throw the ball safely away, maintain field position, get positive yardage on the next play and keep the chains smooooothly moving.

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buckeyedude's picture

I so agree with your point on Braxton. Sometimes I think he tries to carry the team himself, instead of letting his teammates help him out.
I've seen this in high school all the time, where you have a freakish athlete that always feels he has to do everything himself to win the game, and the other players just slack off because they know it's pointless to do anything.
I'm not campaigning for Kenny to be our permanent starter(yet), but I think he utilizes his players much, much better than Braxton, who feels he has to do everything with his legs.

 

 

 

d5k's picture

Our red zone offense was the best aspect of the offense last year with Braxton and Hyde.  I don't think that is where the ol' right hander will add value.  I think that just means some trick formations when Meyer mused about Kenny coming in.  Of course Joe Schmo Buckeye fan is going to be completely overreactive and now you will have a talk radio QB controversy where there really isn't one.

Jeff Beck's picture

To be clear, there is no QB controversy in my mind. Braxton is the starter. ABSOLUTELY. I just think with what Kenny has proven the coaches can start to get creative.

Boxley's picture

Well the ol right hander was 6/6 in the red zone Saturday, you really cannot do better than that. He is far more poised in the pocket, and actually looks at more than one receiver.

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bucks_4_life's picture

I love Kenny G and his smooth smooth jazz and I have the upmost confidence in him running the offense but he is not Braxton Miller.  While the play above was a very nice play by KG I'd put money on it that Braxton scores on that run.  (side note: I love the block by Linsley!!  I could watch that guy fly for 5 yards all day long!)

The juice is worth the squeeze

D-Day0043's picture

This^^^
i love watching a big old lineman knock the hell out of a defender down field.

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bigbill992001's picture

On that clip above, if Kenny cuts left at the 25, theres a big ol' lineman down field looking for someone to hit and Kenny prolly scores on that play.

bucks_4_life's picture

I couldn't agree more! That is the biggest difference between Braxton and KG... Braxton makes people miss, KG just ran right towards the defender.

The juice is worth the squeeze

cinserious's picture

Guiton was trying to utilize his downfield blocker instead of just accepting the daylight.

Gone ham, be back soon...

Denny's picture

Maybe you should set up some email filters, Jeff.

Taquitos.

Jeff Beck's picture

Ha. Maybe you're right.

elitesmithie's picture

I hate to make this comparison, but could we see something in the ScUM game similar to what they did last year with Denard but actually pass the ball. 
It seems we could have both in the Shot Gun and have Wilson and/or Hall in the Wing/Slot come down pre snap on either side or behind(Pistol). 

harleymanjax's picture

With Braxton being such a dynamic runner I would love to see Kenny G in the shotgun, Braxton on one side and Hyde on the other! The defense would be so keyed up to stop Braxton and Hyde on the read option I could see Kenny G running untouched all day!

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ScarletNGrey01's picture

Coming in cold off the bench for a couple of plays has to be rough, you are not warmed up or into the flow of the game.  Having two QB's in the backfield might be interesting for a play or two every once-in-a-while, but it adds a split second to the time to get off the ball that a single QB dropping back doesn't have to worry about.  In my mind it would be a great luxury IF (a big if) the bucks could have a sure lead at the end of the third quarter, then send Kenny in knowing you will not miss a beat, probably still put up some scores, and keep Braxton healthy, one less quarter for him to possibly get injured.  Last season he seemed a little tired at the end of the season, and we didn't even play in the post season.  Man, all the weapons Meyer has at his disposal, blows the mind.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

mtharp's picture

The double QB read option is insane. I love lets see more

d5k's picture

It really doesn't seem functionally different from the read-option / bootleg play action game.  Adding a run-pass option to the QB keeper on the inside zone read option is very similar to the ULM play.  The threats are that you can pass from the pocket, run it inside, run it outside, or roll out and still pass all from the same look.  We do this with some play action sprint outs but not where the initial running look is a read as far as I know.

T4EHill's picture

Braxton, Guiton, Wilson, Hall and sometimes Hyde on the field at the same time?? That could be insane!!

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elitesmithie's picture

If nothing else, Meyer knowing Kenny G is so good, he can feel more comfortable calling plays to Braxtons strength such as running and not fear injury. Even if Braxton gets injured there won't be a huge drop off. There is probably more of a drop of when we limit Braxton due to fearing injury.