The New Two-Headed Monster?
Meyer teases two-quarterback plan for 2012
By Kyle RowlandPosted Aug 15, 2012
(From Eleven Warriors)
Urban Meyer won a national championship in 2006 – against Ohio State – on the arms and legs of two Florida quarterbacks: Chris Leak, the thrower, and Tim Tebow, the runner, proved to be a tandem too tough to corral.
Winning a national title in Columbus will be an impossible task for Meyer and the Buckeyes this season due to a postseason ban. But suddenly a two-quarterback system looks possible – or at least offensive creativity involving both Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton. Meyer said the tandem could rotate some and even be on the field at the same time.
“Braxton doesn’t know it yet, neither does Kenny,” Meyer said Sunday at Ohio State’s annual media day. “But I have it on a piece of paper. We’ll have that chat pretty soon. If they are both in the best 11, it’s our job to get them both on the field.”
It’s quite a reversal of fortune for Guiton, who appeared to have one foot out the door when Meyer officially took over the team following the Gator Bowl. Meyer has called Guiton’s change a “180.” The person Meyer saw in January was someone disengaged on the field and bad person away from it. Eight months later, the story couldn’t be more different.
Guiton mentioned the constant turmoil surrounding the team and Miller’s ascension affecting him negatively, going as far to say that he contemplated walking away from the game. Enter Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. The duo re-energized Guiton and brought back that love for football and competition.
It’s the second time Guiton has found himself fortunate to be a Buckeye. Coming out of high school in Texas in 2009, Guiton was deciding between Rice and Prairie View A&M when Ohio State came in and gave him a surprising offer. He jumped at the opportunity to be part of a major program.
Now a junior, Guiton has played sparingly, only attempting two passes in his career, but it appears more playing time is in store. He worked tirelessly over the summer on his velocity and throwing mechanics. So far, Guiton and the coaches like the results.
“Coach (Mickey Marotti) helped me out on that all summer long,” Guiton said. “I’ve tried my best to work on my velocity. It’s about getting your legs into it. I’ve been working on that and keeping my legs under me and not get outside my frame with the ball.”
Guiton has also tried to become a better leader. As an upperclassman on a team chock full of underclassmen and inexperienced players, Guiton is an asset. He can offer lessons on what failed him early in his career and what to expect at the college level.
“My biggest improvement has been coming out and having leadership with the team,” Guiton said. “I’m an older guy and I have guys looking up to me. I have to lead.”
After a rough spring, Meyer is much more encouraged with his top-two signal callers as the regular season approaches. The head coach isn’t one for excuses – a popular phrase of his is “dog ate my homework” referencing excuse makers – but the situation in the spring was nearly impossible for the entire offense, especially the quarterbacks. Not only were they forced to learn an entirely new offense, it is a complex system instituted by a different coaching staff.
“I think I can tell one of the challenges I had for Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton was to throw the ball a little bit, and they have,” Meyer said. “Not near where we need to be throwing the ball, but much different than what you saw in the spring, much different. I saw a team that went out and worked.”
In a scrimmage Saturday, the quarterbacks wore yellow, no-contact jerseys, altering the offense and its abilities. Meyer deemed Miller and Guiton “caged tigers.”
“We’ll open that cage on Sept. 1,” Meyer said in reference to the season opener against Miami (Ohio).
Staying prepared is of utmost importance for Guiton. The coaching staff has stressed that message, because if Miller goes down; Guiton will immediately be thrust into a starring role. In Meyer’s offense, the quarterback is the most important player on the field. If he’s inadequate, the entire offense becomes nonfunctional.
To keep Guiton on his toes, Meyer will ask him to recite a play and all the responsibilities. The first time it happened, Guiton was flustered and couldn’t even answer the question. Now his eyes stay on the field, as does his head.
“I know I need to always be ready,” Guiton said. “I know Coach Meyer has used two quarterbacks in his system, and that’s something we’ve talked about. I’m trying to work hard and let him recognize that I can do that.
“Every day I’m coming to work to try to get the starting job. That’s one thing I’m going to always push for. That’s the reason I came here to try to play.”
His time may have finally arrived.