Articles

Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

For Buckeyes, Future Should be Now

In college football, life for the guy before The Guy often doesn't turn out to be particularly glamorous.

Know who Chance Mock is? Texas' starting quarterback prior to Vince Young.

How many non-Oklahoma fans remember Kejuan Jones? He was OU's featured tailback before Adrian Peterson arrived on the scene.

Even after piloting Florida to a national championship, Chris Leak seems destined to be a mere supporting player in The Tim Tebow Story.

So, with superstar freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor waiting in the wings, it's easy to understand how a softie like Jim Tressel would be sympathetic to the plight of Todd Boeckman. After all, Boeckman stepped in last year after Heisman winner Troy Smith had moved on to the pros, leading Ohio State to another Big Ten title, not to mention a second-straight appearance in the national championship game.

It's not often that Homerism would encourage a football mind of Tressel's stature to follow in the footsteps of Mack Brown. But the Texas coach's national championship story should give Sweater Vest pause as he tries to figure out where to go now that USC has dashed his 2008 title hopes.

Back in 2003 Brown decided to start the season with the junior Mock behind center. Young was a raw redshirt freshman who ran like a gazelle and threw like one, too. As the Sooners were rolling to a big win in that year's Red River Shootout, Brown decided he couldn't keep VY on the bench.

Young played most of the OU game that year and took the majority of the snaps for the rest of the season. In the following offseason, Brown and his staff implemented a new zone read offensive scheme. Then, they turned Young loose.

The rest is sweet history for Longhorn fans. Texas finished 2004 with an 11-1 record and Rose Bowl win. The next year, Young quarterbacked the squad to a national championship victory over USC in one of the greatest games in college history.

By all accounts, Pryor looks like the second coming of Young. He even appears to throw a little better. Watching the USC defense harass Boeckman into mistake after mistake last weekend, I recalled Tommie Harris and company pummeling Mock in 2003. When Brown made the switch to Young late in the first half of that game, it was clear the coach was conceding that day's battle in hopes of one day winning a bigger war. Mock could win games; Young could win championships.

Tressel may think he's getting the best of both worlds with his current Boeckman-Pryor rotation. In reality, he isn't helping either.

Homerism has never been a fan of dueling quarterbacks for a variety of reasons. Urban Meyer made it work with Leak and Tebow, but it's telling that the spread guru has been a one QB guy lately. In the case of Ohio St., Tressel's system of alternation makes it difficult for either signal caller--or the entire offense--to establish a rhythm. There's also the matter of practice and game-planning.

Admittedly, Boeckman probably gives the Buckeyes the best chance to win a league title in this year's mediocre Big Ten. Just as Young did, Pryor would no doubt make the kind of rookie mistakes that can cost teams games in a place like Madison. Going with Pryor now, though, gives him the chance to make those mistakes in 2008; not in 2009, and ceratinly not in 2010. Ask Mack Brown and Vince Young how that worked for them.