There wasn’t supposed to be any quarterback debate with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The starting job belonged to Braxton Miller, but his injury and the strong performance from Kenny Guiton, the fifth-year backup, has changed the situation and possibly the Hierarchy in Columbus.
Braxton Miller might not have completely healed from his sprained knee ligament, but there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be healthy enough to play when Ohio State take on Florida A&M in what should be a comfortable non-conference win against an FCS opponent.
Guiton got the first start of his career for the Buckeyes as they beat California 52-34 in week 3, but he also put in a strong performance in week 2 when he came on for Miller as Ohio State beat San Diego State 41-7. His numbers so far this season? 449 yards, 7 touchdowns, one interception, and another 181 yards & a touchdown on the ground.
However, Gution, who has been a backup his entire career at Ohio State, doesn’t expect to start, or at least won’t be too surprised if he returns to the bench.
That’s the coaches’ decision. I’m happy with whatever they decide to do. I’m all with the team. I’ve been like that for 4½ years. Why change now?
The two are very different in style. Braxton Miller is your prototypical running quarterback, who is only above average when it comes to the passing game, especially the deep ball. Guiton is taller and has a much better throw downfield, exampled by his 90-yard touchdown connection with Devin Smith, the longest play from scrimmage in Ohio State’s 124 seasons of football.
Urban Meyer has two opposing mantras that clash in this case of a quarterback dilemma. A player doesn’t lose his starting spot because of an injury, but anyone can earn his way onto the first team. So what will it be?
If Kenny is one of the best 11, you have an obligation to get him on the field a little bit. Well, the obvious ones are one starts and one plays a couple of series. Another is if Braxton’s not healthy, then he’s kind of a guy we’d use in case of an emergency situation. Then the other is maybe a couple of plays with both of them on the field, being creative and trying to get your best players on the field.
So maybe there’s a chance we’ll see Miller as someone of a hybrid back for a few plays? Or Guiton lining up in the backfield and making himself available for the quick-pitch pass while rolling out? As Meyer said, this isn’t a dilemma, but a luxury.