Tag:Taylor Graham
Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:49 am
 

Ohio State to use two quarterbacks in opener?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the race to replace departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State has had four possible candidates emerge: Senior Joe Bauserman (pictured at right), sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, and true freshman Braxton Miller. Each have their own considerable strengths and drawbacks, but the sense in the spring was that all four had a chance to compete for the role.

[READ MORE: Ohio State's four quarterbacks

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the race has worked itself out to an extent, and two quarterbacks -- Bauserman and Miller -- have emerged as the top two quarterbacks in the mix. This isn't much of a departure from the consensus opinion from this spring; Bauserman's got far more time in the program than anybody else, and of the younger players, Miller's by far the most physically talented. 

Since two's an easier number to pick between than four, this means we're closer to getting a starting quarterback designation from head coach Luke Fickell, right? Well, via the Buckeye RapidReports... no:

QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller are listed as co-No. 1 on the depth chart released Monday afternoon before the opener Saturday against Akron. Coach Luke Fickell has not said how long he’ll wait to designate a starter.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Ohio State used the tandem of Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine back in 1996 to considerable success; those Buckeyes went 11-1, beating Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and finishing second in the nation.

Moreover, there's hardly permanence to a Week 1 status when it comes to quarterback races. In all likelihood, this race will sort itself out on the field over the next month or so, and if it doesn't lead to a starter by then, then OSU's probably better off going with a platoon instead.

Posted on: June 9, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:41 am
 

CBSSports.com CFB 100, No. 2: The Fall of OSU



Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's fitting that Jim Tressel's nickname was The Senator. In Columbus and around the rest of the nation, that nickname was used as unironic praise, a testament to the Ohio State coach's maturity, open faith, and businesslike approach to running his football program. The name stuck because it fit. It also stuck because people conveniently forgot that Congress is and always has been one of the most reviled institutions in American history, one whose abysmal approval ratings are fueled by an institutional history of corruption, hypocrisy, and mistruths. Oh, Jim Tressel is a senator, all right. People just didn't really know it.

Back in 2010, Senator Tressel made the grave error of placing his players, his program, and himself above the law of the NCAA, and that's why we're here today (here's the full timeline). He found out that QB Terrelle Pryor and several teammates had been receiving impermissible benefits back in April, and hid the evidence from his athletic department. Astonishingly, there isn't a guarantee that the compliance department would have punished Pryor or would have withheld him from the 2010 season; after all, the department ordered memorabilia dealer (and purported Pryor payer) Dennis Talbott away from the program during the season, but Pryor was allowed to remain eligibile. 

So now, not only is Tressel out of a job and likely facing a mammoth punishment from the NCAA -- not an ideal situation for a newly unemployed, 58-year-old coach to find himself in, to say the least -- but Pryor is gone from the program now as well, right on the heels of a major NCAA investigation into his relationship with several prominent Columbus figures, and there's even been some speculation that AD Gene Smith's job is on the line too, along with president Gordon Gee

There's also a distinct possibility that the NCAA forces Ohio State to vacate some or all of the 2010 season's victories. Tressel knowingly used several players who, under NCAA statutes, were ineligible to play. And if the NCAA does indeed come down hard and takes away the 31-26 Sugar Bowl victory -- the bowl for which the "Buckeye Five" had controversially been allowed special eligibility -- oh, how the cackles of glee will ring forth from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and throughout the rest of the Southeast. The one thing OSU had been able to hang its hat on from the 2010 season that it never could before is that elusive bowl win over the SEC. It's one thing for Arkansas fans to claim that the Buckeyes only got that win by cheating, after all; it's another for the NCAA to agree with them.

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Still, it's worth reiterating that since the NCAA investigation is ongoing, it's impossible to know precisely how the story ends just yet. With Tressel and Pryor both gone from Columbus and thus no longer obligated to comply with the NCAA investigation -- though if Tressel ever wants to coach in the NCAA again, complying would be a wise idea -- the NCAA doesn't have as much to work with. That's not to say OSU's going to get off easy, though, since the NCAA probably has enough to justify significant penalties. How bad we're talking here remains to be seen.

As far as on the field goes, 2011 might be a little rough. Luke Fickell is the interim coach for now, and while there's probably a reason why Jim Tressel had named the 37-year-old his assistant head coach back in March, there's virtually no chance that Fickell has the gameday coaching chops, players' respect, or recruiting skill that Tressel had. No first-year head coaches do, for that matter. Fickell's going to have to make sure all hell doesn't break loose on that roster, keep as many recruits in the fold as possible, and also try to keep the team motivated for 2011 even if Ohio State receives some sort of postseason ban (an apt possible punishment, considering the strings pulled to keep Pryor and everyone else eligible for the game).

Meanwhile, under center, the loss of Terrelle Pryor could be disastrous. The long-running joke in Columbus was that the depth chart had been "Pryor and Prayer," and now Buckeye fans will have to prostrate themselves in front of the football gods in search of mercy. Left on the depth chart are four quarterbacks whose benefits scarcely outweigh their drawbacks at this point, and it's unlikely that any of them will be given a long leash in 2011 until a clear No. 1 QB emerges. Braxton Miller has the highest upside, but the kid is 18. Joe Bauserman was the backup last season, but he might not actually be any good -- and he's already 26. Neither Kenny Guiton nor Taylor Graham seems ready to start yet. Yes, this motley crew was going to have to take care of the offense for the first five games no matter what after Pryor was initially suspended by the team, but now there's no cavalry coming -- and Big Ten defensive coordinators know it.

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The biggest consequence of Ohio State's fall from glory, though, might have nothing to do with Ohio State itself. Now, every compliance department is under increased scrutiny, whether from outside media sources or from within the program. There's no shortage of secretly terrified athletic directors who look at what's happening in Columbus and now have to double-check that their own athletic departments are actually on the up-and-up or if there's the possibility of serious malfeasanceColt McCoy's wife gave the city of Austin a collective minor heart attack when she went on the radio and described the uphill battle Texas' compliance office faces, but she stopped short of actually saying any violations had ever occurred. Is that because none had occurred, or she just knew better than to publicly admit anything? That's the type of million-dollar question every major football program faces now, thanks to Tressel and Ohio State.

And yet, regardless of what happens from here on out, the fall of Ohio State is still going to be an endless topic of debate in the 2011 season -- just as it has been already. Everyone's got an opinion on Tressel, and everyone's going to have an opinion on what the NCAA ends up doing to the Buckeyes. Once football season rolls around, all it'll take is one "how about this Ohio State situation" from a play-by-play announcer, and all of a sudden the guys in the booth have something to talk about for the rest of the fourth quarter of some inconsequential September blowout. Most of the opinions aren't exactly going to be positive, though Tressel will probably remain something of a sympathetic figure among the talking heads. He is not a crook, they will say, and they will be correct. Tressel is not a crook. He is a senator, and one whose senatorial hubris brought down his entire football program. Other powerhouses should take heed.

Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Ohio State passing game suspect without Pryor

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Ohio State Buckeyes held their spring game today, and even though the offense "scored" plenty of points in its 59-27 victory over the defense, it was clear that the passing game was far from perfect.

With starter Terrelle Pryor sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery, OSU coach Jim Tressel (at right, looking every bit as unusual in camouflage as you'd expect) made use of four backup quarterbacks in today's scrimmage, with each throwing at least nine passes. Taylor Graham made use of a picture-perfect 69-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Williams to lead all passers with 91 yards, but he was only 4-9 on the day. All in all, the four quarterbacks combined to complete just 20 of 43 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns -- one by each quarterback.

"We’re all battling hard to make strides," said senior quarterback and putative starter Joe Bauserman, who went 4-11 for 42 yards. "We made some mistakes and there were some good plays and some bad plays."

Kenny Guiton went 5-11 for 43 yards, and Braxton Miller added 73 yards on 7-for-12 passing.

Although the offense had 59 points on the scoreboard, only 40 were points in the traditional sense; the other 19 were rewarded for first downs and plays of 20+ yards. Moreover, those 40 points came against a secondary stretched thin by injuries, as 10 defensive backs (nine on scholarship) were forced to miss the spring game.

The question of quarterback play isn't exactly moot without Pryor around, either; even though he's likely to fully recover long before the opening of the season, he's one of five Buckeyes suspended for the first five games of the season, as is DeVier Posey, the senior leader of an otherwise inexperienced WR corps. Still, fortunately for the Buckeyes, those younger wideouts performed well today.

"We have young guys at receiver and they really came along this spring," said Tressel. "They are starting to understand. First, they have to know where to line up. Then they have to understand what to do. Then they have to figure out how to it against the best guys."

"They’re just out there practicing hard," added Posey. "It’s difficult since they haven’t even been here for an entire academic year yet. The older guys are getting them to understand how everything works here and just leading by example. I felt like a proud dad today seeing three of them score touchdowns."

All in all, there's a difference between "inconsistent" and just plain "bad," and what the Ohio State Buckeyes got from their passing game was inconsistent play. Four touchdowns and no interceptions is nothing to scoff at, after all, even against a depleted secondary. The quarterback battle is still going to take months to resolve itself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Buckeyes as long as those quarterbacks are getting as much practice time as possible.

In fact, the substandard performance may be something of a blessing in disguise if Tressel can use it as an impetus for a strong QB battle through summer and fall practice. Any coach can say a player needs to improve, but when he's got the stats to back up such a statement, there's some extra motivation, and that's the situation Ohio State's in now. Today wasn't a disaster for the Buckeyes, but hopefully it wa a reminder to the quarterbacks that there's a lot of work to be done between now and September.

Posted on: February 5, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Braxton Miller may start for Buckeyes this fall

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When Ohio State signed quarterback Braxton Miller on Wednesday as part of its newest recruiting class, many thought that Miller, a talented dual-threat like Terrelle Pryor, was coming to Columbus as the successor to Pryor down the road. That road may be a lot shorter than was originally planned. While we know that Terrelle Pryor will miss Ohio State's spring game as he recovers from foot surgery, we don't know how long he'll be suspended for the start of next season.

All we do know is that the Buckeyes will need somebody to play quarterback for a few games while Pryor is out, and according to quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano, that quarterback could be Miller.

"He's going to get a shot like everyone else will this spring," Siciliano told The Columbus Dispatch. "Because we don't have a guy cemented. He's got a special skill set that not everybody has."

Miller said he was in a similar situation when he entered high school, coming in his freshman season, putting in the work and being given the starting job. Of course, winning the job at high school isn't quite the same thing as winning the job at Ohio State. Especially when you consider that Pryor, nor any other freshman quarterback, has opened the season as the starting quarterback under Jim Tressel in Columbus.

Given that history, I'd say Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton or Taylor Graham have the edge in this battle. Though if Miller is impressive enough, who knows? Maybe Tressel will loosen the sweatervest a bit and give the kid a shot.
 
 
 
 
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