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Saturday, May 1, 2010

OSU's next Troy Smith?

Even before he graduated from Ohio State, the buzz around Buckeye football nation largely revolved around who would be the heir apparent to Troy Smith as Buckeyes quarterback.  Smith has been in some circles regarded as the best quarterback to play for OSU in the last 20 years, and for good reason. For starters, in his 2 1/2 year career as a Buckeye he amassed a 25-3 record, which included 3 straight wins over talented Michigan squads, and nationally ranked Notre Dame and Texas teams as well.  Then there is the fact that he completed over 65% of his passes his senior year with 30 of them going for touchdowns against only six interceptions.  Many people would like to villify him for Ohio State's national championship loss to Florida in '07, but I think that criticism is unfair, especially given that: a) less than a couple of minutes into the game he lost his best wide receiver, b) offensive line play was shoddy at best, and c) a 27-14 deficit at half basically forced Jim Tressel and co. to abandon the run, allowing Urban Meyer to blitz like crazy, something OSU had not faced all season.  Regardless, even before the Baltimore Ravens selected Smith in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, the race to replace him was on.  And I think they may have finally found their guy....Kenny Guiton.

 Kenny Guiton has several things going for him that remind me of the situation Troy Smith was in back in 2002. Like Smith,  Guiton was the last quarterback drafted in his class, more to fill a need on the depth chart than anything else.  Don't get me wrong, the Buckeyes saw something about him they liked; Jim Tressel does not hand out scholarships on a whim.  OSU had their eyes on other prospects, and saw Guiton primarily as a safety net.  These other prospects would go elsewhere, and OSU would eventually offer their remaining spot to Guiton.  Upon enrolling at OSU, Guiton, like Smith before him, would be redshirted.  Guiton will now have an intense battle for the number two spot  behind Pryor along with Joe Bauserman, not unlike the competition between Smith and Zwick for the chance to backup Craig Krenzel.  And even though it was only the spring game, the late touchdown pass from Guiton to Taurian Washington had to remind a few people of Troy Smith's heroics against Penn State during his senior season.  That Pryor should have a hold on the starting spot for at least another season or two can only bolster Guiton's development much in the way that Smith was able to learn by watching Krenzel.

There is no denying that every year Ohio State fans expect their team to compete for and win a national championship.  Jim Tressel pretty much raised the bar to that level when he led the Buckeyes to one in only his third season as head coach.  Many people believe that this is the year the Buckeyes will win their eighth national title, led by qb Terrelle Pryor.  I myself believe that there will be another quarterback in the not too distant future who could lead them to the promised land, and his name will be Kenny Guiton.

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