Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Buckeye Quarterbacks Preview

Earlier in the year, I made three posts detailing the individual strengths and weaknesses of the three players vying for playing time at the Quarterback position for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2007 regular season, the three being Todd Boeckman, Rob Schoenhoft, and Antonio Henton. In short, I was one of the few to jump on the figurative Rob Schoenhoft bandwagon, whereas the majority of the Buckeye faithful were supporting Boeckman for his familiarity with the system or Antonio Henton for the inevitable Troy Smith comparisons. Due to those posts, I strongly toyed with the idea of foregoing the quarterbacks part of my preview, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyways for two reasons: One, those previews were written before the Spring game and practices, and two, it would not look good towards my season preview.

So, without any more babbling, here is the post-Spring edition of the 2007 Buckeye Quarterbacks preview, with a complimentary 1024 x 768 desktop background (click to enlarge).

Projected Starter:
Todd Boeckman
Redshirt Junior
6'5" 235 lbs

Despite never starting a game in his collegiate career -- and only getting to play in mop-up time when he did play -- Todd Boeckman has a strong lead on the starter's job that will only be relinquished as a result of injury. This is simply because of the fact that Boeckman has been a part of the team for a longer period of time than his competition, which is more often than not the deciding factor for Jim Tressel in close position battles. In addition to redshirting as a freshman and spending the next two seasons holding the clipboard, Boeckman grayshirted in 2003, enrolling in the winter as opposed to the fall, and gained an extra bit of college-level conditioning and maturity that could pay huge dividends for a quarterback at a major athletic institution such as Ohio State. At this point in time, the only measurement of comparison between Boeckman and his fellow quarterbacks has been the Spring game, in which Boeckman secured a tight lead on the starting job despite not doing anything spectacular in the game. He went 6-14 for 103 yards with, most importantly, zero interceptions. Boeckman was also the victim of numerous dropped balls in that game, including one deep vertical pass that would have been for over 40 yards if my memory serves me correctly. He showed arguably the best arm of the three in that game, and with a summer of practicing and a couple of tune-up games early in the season, Boeckman should be ready for Big Ten play when it rolls around.

The rest
Robbie Schoenhoft

Redshirt Sophomore
6'6" 240 lbs

Back in February, I declared Schoenhoft -- and not Henton -- the player that would eventually overtake the starting job at some point and solidify himself as the team's true starting quarterback. I still believe that, it just may have to happen through a lengthier, more natural process than I had thought (Boeckman's Graduation). I will not shy away from the fact that I believe his mixture of size, scrambling ability, and after watching the Spring Game, his leadership qualities would make him the most viable option for quarterback if he were a year older. However, he is most likely a year away from being ready for the college game on a consistent basis. He has all the tools to be great, but he just needs some more time to put them all together. If he pans out like I truly expect him to, then I think he will remind a lot of people of a stronger-armed Craig Krenzel. And remember, Krenzel won a championship.

Antonio Henton Redshirt
Freshman
6'2" 210 lbs

Despite probably beginning the season as the third man on the depth chart at quarterback, Henton will still get his fair share of licks at the collegiate level, if only because the fans will put an insurmountable amount of pressure on Tressel to play the guy that is already being dubbed as, "the next Troy Smith." However, in the Spring Game, Henton played much more like the freshman that he is than Troy Smith. He threw 3 interceptions on 8-16 passing, and also took three sacks (To Henton's defense, however, the offensive line did play poor in that game). Another lingering question regarding Henton is his maturity. In a newspaper article last January, Henton declared that if he were named the starter for the remainder of his college career, he would win the Heisman trophy hands down. As I pointed out in my pre-Spring evaluation, statements that bold are a big no-no in the world of the sports media, and an especially big no-no when Sweatervest is your coach. Henton's biggest advantage over the other two quarterbacks at this point is his mobility. Although Schoenhoft has the ability to roll out of the pocket and avoid sacks, Henton has the kind of legs that can completely change the structure of the game, which was shown by his 38 yards on 9 carries in the Spring game. Expect Henton to see time early, but when the season progresses and the games get close, chances are excellent that he will be watching with the rest of us.

Joe Bauserman
6'2" 215 lbs

Bauserman was initially a member of the 2004 recruiting class, but opted to try his hand at being a professional baseball pitcher instead. After that career path fizzled out, Bauserman walked on to Ohio State in order to give football one last chance. Most scouts say that he has one of the strongest arms that they have ever seen (hence the pitching), but his extended absence from the game raise a lot of questions regarding just about all aspects of his physical and mental capabilities. I highly doubt Bauserman sees the field this year, but he is unquestionably one of the most intriguing prospects on the entire roster.

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