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November 30, 2023

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Boeckman likely to replace Smith as OSU quarterback

By Rusty Miller The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Roughly half of the starters are missing from Ohio State’s 12-1 season in 2006. Yet no one wants to talk about any of those vacancies except the gaping sinkhole at quarterback.

It’s not every day that a team has to replace a Heisman Trophy winner, in this case Troy Smith.

In his stead, the Buckeyes will take a long look at three players. None is a lock to own the starting job, although Todd Boeckman has the inside track over Rob Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton. Former blue-chip recruit Joe Bauserman, a vaunted prep quarterback who spent the past three years playing minor-league baseball, is in the Buckeyes camp and trying to make the transition from diamond to Horseshoe.

“Joe hasn’t been here much, but I’ve been happy with the way he throws the football and he’s innately bright about the game,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. “The other three have shown that they have carryover from the spring, but we always talk about decision-making. I can make decisions in shorts. Now when the silver helmets are flying at me, I probably wouldn’t do very well. That’s what we’re anxious to see.”

So all four are getting a crash course in replacing Smith. The replacements combined to complete a grand total of three passes last year (Boeckman 2, Schoenhoft 1).

Smith passed for 2,542 yards and 30 touchdowns; the holdovers had 24 yards and zero scores.

“It’s hard to replace a Troy Smith. By awards, he’s the best QB in Big Ten history because he’s the only one to ever win the Heisman,” offensive tackle Kirk Barton said.

Jim Bollman, the Buckeyes offensive coordinator and line coach, believes that even though there aren’t many starters back there are still a lot of candidates everywhere on offense who played quite a bit.

Well, except for one position.

“I feel fortunate that a lot of these guys have got their feet wet before,” Bollman said. “Not all of them – especially everybody’s concerned about that with the quarterbacks – but I think everywhere else other than that position the people who are fighting for the jobs have had some substantial game time.”

Boeckman, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior, and Schoenhoft, a 6-6, 240 sophomore, are cut from the same mold: big, strong, not that mobile. Henton, a redshirt freshman, is a better runner than the other two and not all that dissimilar physically from Smith.

Smith was considered a runner when he first came to Ohio State, but soon impressed the coaching staff with his powerful and accurate right arm. In time, he restrained his inclination to break from the pocket to run and became a quality passer.

Boeckman, from the same small Western Ohio high school (St. Henry) that sent Bobby Hoying to the Buckeyes and on to the NFL, relishes his first chance at being a starter.

“It’s nice knowing there’s not somebody ahead of you already, an established starter,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a little bit different. It’s going to be a change. I think all of us are looking forward to it and we’re going to have a lot of fun with it.”

Tressel, Bollman and the rest of the Ohio State staff are keeping a close eye on the competition.

“I don’t worry about their arms. In fact, sometimes I worry a little bit about them having so much confidence in being able to make all those throws that that’ll be the quickest way to the bench, to make some of the wrong throws,” Tressel said. “But I’m confident that if they’ll develop in decision-making.”

Boeckman said the quarterbacks are no different from anyone else answering those employment ads for positions in the Ohio State starting lineup.

“These guys are a bunch of young players, a lot of guys who haven’t had much of an opportunity to go out here and play,” he said. “It’s been hard for them to show their talents. Hopefully, we’ll go out there and do what we know how to do.”

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