Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller spent much time last week rehabbing his sprained left knee, and back-up Kenny Guiton also ended up with an ailment after taking over the starting role in practice — over-use of his right arm.
“I had to get comfortable getting all those reps and all those throws in a few days,” he said. “I took a lot of treatment on my shoulder. I hadn’t thrown that much in a while — since (preseason) camp.”
Guiton said running with the first team was “a little weird at first. But I told (receiver Philly Brown), ‘I’m actually getting comfortable with you guys, and I’m having fun.’ “
The good times might just be getting started for the fifth-year senior. He was named the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week and the Big Ten offensive player of the week after leading the Buckeyes to a 52-34 win at Cal.
He passed for 276 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 92 yards — a week after replacing the injured Miller on the opening drive and leading his team to a 42-7 victory over San Diego State.
Coach Urban Meyer expects Miller to return this week. And while the junior standout probably doesn’t have to fret about his starting job, Meyer can’t see sitting a player with such a hot hand and plans to give Guiton some snaps against Florida A&M on Saturday.
“Kenny Guiton has earned some time,” Meyer said.
Considering the caliber of opponent, that could mean Miller plays the first half, assuming he can go, and Guiton the second half.
“I never saw that coming,” Guiton said of the accolades. “My first thought was just to go out there and have fun with my brothers and win a game for the team.”
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Houston native was once a lightly regarded recruit with few scholarship offers. He was on his way to Prairie View A&M until the Buckeyes moved in because they needed someone willing to be a back-up for Terrelle Pryor and they’d been turned down by Alter’s Austin Boucher (now a Miami) and others.
Guiton always had a dream of one day starting, but he wasn’t exactly a model of dedication until Meyer arrived.
“I just think — just to be blunt about it — I had a childish mentality,” he said. “I wasn’t much of a leader on the team. If I was, it wasn’t great leadership. I think I just grew up and became a leader and am leading the right way.”
He credited Meyer for the turnaround.
“He’s a guy who knows how to bring the best out of his players, and he definitely did that for me,” he said.
Guiton has become one of the most popular players on the team, which is why he earned the rare honor of being voted a captain by his peers despite being a second-stringer.
And while Miller has more gifts athletically, there are some areas where Guiton has an edge.
“I think Kenny is a natural option quarterback. Braxton is not quite as natural pitching the ball,” Meyer said. “In the last two games, we’ve run more option than we’ve run in a long time.
“When you say the word distributer, he’s a distributer. He does a nice job of, ‘When something comes to me, I get rid of the ball.’ He’s very good at that. That’s not easy. For some quarterbacks I’ve had, that’s not very natural to them.”
The players feel they can win with either QB.
“To be honest, I feel both are pretty good runners and both are pretty good passers,” junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “Braxton might be just a little bit shiftier. … But both can squeeze the ball into a tight window (passing). Both can throw the ball over your head and both can beat you with their legs.”
Junior receiver Devin Smith, who caught two bombs from Guiton against Cal, said: “If I had to say one thing about the two, I would say Kenny probably is a little more patient in the pocket than Braxton is. But throwing-wise, they both can throw the ball very well. Braxton may have a quicker release than Kenny. But when it’s all said and done, both can get the job done.”
Buckeye bits: Shazier was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week after notching 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. But Meyer said Shazier also had about four missed tackles, which is why the Buckeyes picked freshman defensive lineman Joey Bosa as their top defender.
- While only two defensive players earned “champion” grades from the game, 10 did on offense, including right tackle Taylor Decker. “He’s come a long way since that first game,” Meyer said.
- The Buckeyes reached a three-year high of 608 total yards, but they gave up 503 — the fourth time since 2001 they’ve allowed more than 500, including twice to Cal.
Ohio State (3-0) vs. Florida A&M (1-2), noon, Big Ten Network, 1410