During the Tressel era, most seasons began without the dreaded quarterback controversy that some schools seem to get into on an annual basis. While there have been a few instances of in-season shuffling due to injury or performance concerns, we have almost always had either a phenomenal returning starter (Krenzel, Smith, Pryor) or have known which youngster/patient elder is going to get first crack at the job (Zwick, Boeckman). And if this were still the Tressel era, Joe Bauserman would be the starting QB until the first loss.
But Coach Fickell is in a position that Tressel never was: he absolutely must win a significant number of games to keep this job–his dream job. That doesn’t necessarily mean Bauserman is not the answer, but his history of poor decisions in live game action and his career average of four feet per carry do not inspire excitement among the fanbase, who upon Pryor’s departure, immediately split into two distinct camps: Anybody But Bauserman and Don’t Know/Did Not Respond.
Fickell has already announced that both Bauserman and Braxton Miller will see time in the opener and that Bauserman will take the first snap. It’s probably too much to hope for that Miller takes the second snap and every snap thereafter, but at least we can rest assured that if Miller blows Bauserman out of the water performance-wise, he will be the man going forward.
Personally, I prefer a single quarterback system because I believe that continuity is one of the key intangibles to a successful football team. I don’t mind watching Bauserman and Miller battle it out against an Akron team that gives being terrible a bad name. If it carries over against a slight step up in competition when Toledo comes to town, I can deal with that, too. But if we’re heading down to Miami with an “OR” on the depth chart, I’ll start getting a little nervous.
That’s not to say that a two-quarterback system can’t work. The way that Urban Meyer (and, notably, new WR coach Stan Drayton) used Chris Leak and Tim Tebow was successful, but may not be applicable here as Tebow in that structure was essentially a fullback who could jump-shoot a TD pass if he had to. But for Ohio State, recent experiments with the dual-QB concept have been frustratingly unnecessary (Stan Jackson/Joe Germaine) or downright disastrous (Todd Boeckman/Terrelle Pryor @ USC).
If I was Coach Fickell, I would probably just start Miller from the get-go. I would have likely named him the starter as soon as I got off the phone from accepting the head coaching position (after chugging two beers simultaneously and crushing the cans on my head, of course). As it is, I feel like Miller is going to earn the job at some point in the season. The sooner the better.