The greatest challenging facing Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell is choosing a quarterback to succeed last year’s Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor. Fans and coaches love the competitive spirit on the practice field this fall, but a team needs to know who is going to fill the pivotal role of quarterback so they can adjust their offense accordingly to his ability.
But that is not the only problem he faces. Since Head Coach Jim Tressel lost his job suddenly on May 30th, Luke Fickell has inherited a program with national aspirations that will remain under extreme NCAA scrutiny for the near-term. Having lost their three-year starting quarterback in the scandal, they will also suffer the loss of several key players who face a five-game suspension at the beginning of 2011. Choosing a 2011 Buckeye Quarterback is a decision that could determine whether Fickell himself survives more than one season.
Coach Fickell seems undaunted by the task and assures the decision will be made in a straightforward manner – he will choose whoever performs the best on the practice field. Candidates for the job include Joe ‘Baseball’ Bauserman, a senior; Kenny Guiton, a sophomore; Taylor ‘Legacy’ Graham, a redshirt freshman and Braxton Miller, a true freshman.
Traditional thinking suggests that he will go with the senior as starter while training one of the underclassmen as back-up. Joe Bauserman has held the back-up position for two seasons and seems a natural choice to succeed Pryor. However, expectations are high and many believe he should not be given the job without proving himself. All are inexperienced in the sense that they have not run many plays in front of 106,000 screaming fans in Ohio Stadium or on the road for that matter.
Coach Fickell hopes an obvious leader rises to the occasion, but it is still a fairly complicated decision. Each candidate has strengths and weaknesses that must be considered. In the final analysis, it is necessary to determine what the team needs most and which guy can provide it. Toughness and consistency are also very important in addition to intangible leadership qualities.