If I Was Coach Fickell [Quarterbacks Edition]

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.


  1. I think he is starting Bauserman because he is the senior and therefore deserves the start. I do think the OOC schedule will be a continuation of the QB battle and I do think Miller will win out over those 4 games.

    This year, the Big Ten season is all that matters for OSU.

  2. I would have went with Kenny Guiton :). I wish all the QBs would get some time with 1st string offense during these first few games.

  3. If Tressel was at the helm, starting Bauserman would have been a foregone conclusion, a nod to his apparent “loyalty” to his upperclassmen. But since Fickell and Bauserman are almost the same age, Fickell often mistakes Bauserman for one of the grounds crew.

  4. man I haven’t posted in a long time so here I go!

    Bauserman must go!!! He is Boeckman…just not as good! Miller is Pryor, just with more accuracy(ok not a big)! Put the kid out there…what’s the worst that happens?? We don’t cover? It’s time for a FRESH start…and I’m with SYR…if Miller just stinks it up for a few games, go with Guiton!

  5. I remain a defender of Cooper’s two quarterback system.

    While I agree that it cost OSU the UM game in ’97, it also was responsible for winning at least a half-dozen other games. Jackson and Germaine were such different style players, but their stats are nearly identical. The offensive formations were the same, the plays were the same, but they had different strengths/styles and that drove defensive coordinators NUTS.

    Plus, it allowed Germaine to fit right in as #1 when Jackson got hurt or was out. One shining example was Purdue in 96 – Purdue was up by 14-0 in the first couple of minutes. Then a Purdue loser tries to twist Stan Jacksons leg off, right in front of the ref – Stan furiously kicked back in pain… and the ref ejected STANLEY. Enter the iceman Germaine, who cooly scored 42 points in retailation.

    If it wasn’t for Shawn Springs tripping in that rabbit hole in ’96, leaving Tai Streets open for the winning TD reception, then Cooper would have won the national title with that two-quarterback system. But it has to be done right… you can’t have two entirely different quarterbacks and sets of plays… that’s why Pryor took over from Boeckman.

  6. Yes, the Germaine/Jackson (“Jackson 5, Tito!” – Brian Regan) system technically “worked,” but the frustration comes from the fact that it’s incredibly likely that a Germaine system would have also worked, and possibly would have worked even better.

    Your Purdue example suggests exactly that. Even knowing that Jackson would never be in the game again, the defense was powerless against Joe.

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