I can’t remember the last time that the backfield positions at OSU were still so up in the air at this point in the year. We can make educated guesses based on experience, talent, and a number of other variables, but none of us can be certain as to what combination of QB and RB OSU will have on the field come September 3rd. Combine that with the fact that we have a new coach, and we’re all throwing darts to figure out who will be on the field. So, bear with me on these theories…
We always tend to remember and see things from our younger days through rose- colored glasses, so why wouldn’t Coach Fickell do the same? (I’m ditching the “interim” title for the time being)
Scenario A: (Back When I Was at OSU…)
Fickell had many highlights in his playing days at Ohio State, but it would be tough to top the 1997 Rose Bowl victory over Arizona State. A large part of what got this Buckeye team to the Rose Bowl was the interesting backfield dynamic. OSU used the legs/arm of Stanley Jackson (starting QB), offset at times with the cannon of Joe Germaine (backup QB that got significant playing time), and the speed and vision of RB Michael Wiley. (I realize that, technically, I should have Pepe Pearson in this picture instead of Wiley, but I really liked Michael Wiley for some reason)
THEN: Stanley Jackson, Joe Germaine, Michael Wiley
NOW: Braxton Miller, Taylor Graham, Jaamal Berry
Miller is the obvious choice to best represent Stanley Jackson in this scenario. He has the skills to bring the ball down and run, or supply an option attack, but hopefully has a more reliable arm than SJ. Graham, well, he has a lot to prove in order to fill Joe Germaine’s shoes, but I’ve seen what Bauserman can do and he’s no Germaine. Berry is the Wiley, in this plan, as he seems to fit his mold physically and in speed.
Scenario B: (The Early Years)
Born in 1973, Fickell grew up in Columbus in the Earle Bruce ’80s and suffered through many average seasons (by Buckeye standards). It’s tough to pick out someone else’s childhood memories, but you’d have to think that Art Schlichter and Keith Byars would be the backfield members that Fickell would have heard about the most in his younger years. Although the two never shared the field at the same time, they were, arguably, the biggest Buckeyes in the backfield in the 1978 to 1988 time frame.
THEN: Art Schlichter, Keith Byars
NOW: Joe Bauserman, Carlos Hyde
It’s certainly not out of reason for Bauserman to put up Schlichter-esque numbers (2551 yards passing, 17 TDs, 10 INTs), and serve as the safe choice for Fickell this season. Also, Carlos Hyde (6′, 238 lbs) may not break too many long runs, but he’ll certainly leave some opposing linebackers bruised along the way, a la Keith Byars in the ’80s, and get back to the “3 yards and a cloud of dust.” This scenario doesn’t have the flash of Scenario A, and it would also require other positions (TE Jake Stoneburner = TE John Frank) to step up. It wouldn’t hurt to have a Chris Carter-type WR on the team either!
So…what will Luke Fickell do?!
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