Even before the departure of Terrelle Pryor, one of the big (if not the biggest) stories going into this preseason is who will take the reigns and become the next Buckeye quarterback? Talking about quarterbacks brings heated debate among football fans, and perhaps no debate is more spirited than when it comes to the ability of someone to evaluate talent and make a selection on who to get behind and root for. We've seen it a lot at Ohio State, even recently: Steve Bellisari or Austin Moherman, Craig Krenzel or Scott McMullen, Troy Smith or Justin Zwick to Pryor or Todd Boeckman.
This year the Buckeyes field four potential candidates in Kenny Guiton, Joe Bauserman, Braxton Miller and Taylor Graham. If you listen to the national pundits, it's Bauserman or Miller, with a lean toward Miller getting the nod roughly mid season, since the "experts" don't want to go out on a limb and say "start the freshman". They'd rather leave that for Luke Fickell to do and them to second guess and criticize.
It would be easy to say Braxton Miller is the most athletic and can be dangerous with his legs and his arms, based solely off his high school game footage. He also comes in as the "blue chip" recruit. However, you could probably make a pretty strong case that Kenny Guiton can be as effective with his feet as Miller, and he has been in the system and knows the ropes a little better. Taylor Graham, I thought, threw some fantastic balls in the spring game and looks to be the a stand in the pocket and be a "gun slinger" type utilizing all the weapons the offense has to offer. Graham also has the pedigree with his dad being former Buckeye signal caller Kent Graham. And then there's Joe Bauserman, who has the most practice reps, by a mile, over the other candidates. Joe brings a small sample of actual game experience, along with him having been around the block, so to say, playing minor league baseball. Attributes we hope can lead us to believe that acquired experience and maturity would be a big plus to his advantage.
All of that being said is what drives me nuts about this debate. Short of the spring scrimmage and a few spot snaps for Bauserman, we have no idea what any of these kids can do under the bright lights on a Saturday. Thank you, God, for giving us Akron and Toledo to work out some bugs in the first two weeks.
Who's my money on? Ok, for whatever it's worth, here goes nothing: I think you know what you're getting with Joe Bauserman. He's (hopefully) a guy that can stabilize the offense, get the ball into the hands of the loaded running back group, make some plays when you absolutely need him to. Conversely, he's likely be the cause of the offense to turn it over, in one form or another, at an average of at least one per game. Then you've got Braxton Miller, the young buck chomping at the bit to get in their and flex his muscles. If we all can agree that based on his recruitment and scout opinions he is the future, the only question then becomes "when?" Taylor Graham will need to play head and shoulders above Miller to get the spot before him. Why? Miller's recruitment. While they aren't going to let Miller fall on his face and look foolish if he isn't ready, they also aren't going to sit a five star recruit unless someone is clearly outplaying him. Because remember, other five star recruits are watching. And Kenny Guiton, poor Kenny Guiton, is going to have to "huck it, chuck it, football!" like Mike Vick to get a serious look. It just is what is for Kenny Guiton.
Cavs and Kyrie
I've come to terms with the reality that Thursday night the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to call the name of Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick in the NBA draft. I've read as much as I can possibly find time for on him, watched youtube highlight reels and scouting videos, I'm believing the hype that the kid should be a difference maker. So why then am I still getting an upset stomach thinking about the Cavs passing on Arizona's Derrick Williams? I'll tell you why, we've seen him play! I can be told by as many scouts and talent evaluators all day long about how Kyrie Irving is the next Chris Paul etc, the fact is I've seen a lot of Derrick Williams and not a lot of Kyrie Irving.
In many ways, it compares to the Ohio State quarterback situation. Coming into the NBA, both of these guys futures are up in the air. They could hit and miss like when Derrick Rose-Michael Beasley or LeBron James-Darko Milicic went 1 and 2. They could wind up being the best number 1 and 2 picks from the same draft ever. Though I drew the parallel, the big difference between the Ohio State quarterback derby and the NBA number 1 draft pick is that their is no "we'll get'em next week" to try and fix things if you screw it up. And, maybe most importantly, the two candidates aren't unknowns in major competitive basketball. At least one for sure isn't. The other played eleven games. One guy spent over 2000 minutes on the floor over two seasons. The other guy just a hair over 300 minutes during one injury plagued season. While their stats may be near equal as it regards points per game, rebound and assists canceling each other out since they play different positions, Williams body of work is over a two year period. Kyrie's body of work is that one injury plagued season.
I guess my biggest fear is, what if the Irving-Williams draft mirrors the Greg Oden-Kevin Durant draft? Durant was a scoring machine, played a full season at Texas and was ready to move on. Oden, on the other hand, missed most of the season with an injury but was considered by experts to be the guy with the most upside, the "difference maker". The Portland Trail Blazers picked number one, ignored the on court body of work, took Oden and have been kicking themselves ever since. Just something to think about.
By the way: If you haven't seen any film or watched any of Derrick Williams games, please I implore you, the kid is a human highlight reel! Go find some and check it out!
Oregon and West Virginia
I said a while back that I was told that Oregon was next for the NCAA investigation and that it allegedly had to do with recruiting. Today, the story broke, check the story here www.oregonlive.com/ducks What truly amazes me is the scandal involved, yet ESPN's College Football Live episode today doesn't even mention it. Second on their list of "lead stories"? Ejaun Price asking to be let out of his scholarship with Ohio State. And, absolutely no mention that he is the only incoming freshman not to report and ask out of his letter of intent. Instead, they gave only a grim "see, we told you they'd be losing players, guys jumping ship like it's the Titanic in Columbus!" tone to their voices discussing Ejaun and his apparent need to be near his cousin Dorian Bell at Pitt... which also wasn't mentioned.
And what in the world of burning couches went on at West Virginia last week?! To get you up to speed, Dana Holgorson was brought in to be the offensive coordinator for 2011 and assume the head coaching responsibilities in 2012 when Bill Stewart was slated to retire. Problem is, Dana has a wee little bit of a drinking/partying/staying out late and getting into trouble problem. Let's just say he listens to his music while watching television (if you don't get that Talladega Nights reference, I can't help you and you have bigger issues, probably need a therapist). So, apparently not too keen that his replacement has already been selected and the AD has packed his bags already for him, Bill Stewart decided he'd call a Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter and "confidentially" tell him to look into Holgorson's private life, since it's not exactly on the up and up. Well, if there's one thing we know about Pittsburgh people, they simply cannot keep their mouths shut. It's impossible. So Mr. Yinzer Gazette decides to start looking into Holgorson, then blabs that it was Stewart who told him to do so! Needless to say, Bill Stewart was fired and Dana Holgorson is assuming head coaching duties effective immediately. But now his reputation is tarnished before he even really gets started since everyone knows the guy still thinks he lives in a frat house!
The whole thing is completely surreal.
Special thanks goes to Ben Nesselroad (twitter @Ben_Nesselroad) for the tips on the WVA story. When he first brought it to my attention about three weeks ago, it looked like a potential scandal involving a litany of people, the least of them being Bill Stewart. Who would have thought he was the guy feeding the information.
Real quick shout out to the Indians for sweeping Pittsburgh over the weekend!!! I don't care if it's football, baseball, high jump or marbles... BEAT PITTSBURGH!
Metallica song of the week
"Ride the Lightning"
You can play the whole album or just the title track. The title track falls comfortably into my all-time top 5 of 'tallica tracks. Do yourself a favor, go to youtube and search "Metallica Ride the Lightning live Mexico City" and turn the volume up to 11.