Quarterbacks Joe Bauserman, Taylor Graham, Kenny Guiton and Braxton Miller all saw time under center during Saturday's annual spring game, which was held as a jersey scrimmage because of limited offensive line depth. Each quarterback had some good plays, and each made their fair share of mistakes.
The Buckeyes may be no closer to figuring out who will replace Terrelle Pryor while the senior serves his five-game suspension this fall, but Tressel will have film from 15 practices to look over as he attempts to narrow the field.
"It'll be interesting to strap all of their film through the spring chronologically and study them a little bit," Tressel said of his QBs.
Miller, a true freshman who enrolled early from Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne, had arguably the best spring game of all the QBs. He completed 7 of 12 passes for a game-high 73 yards. He also rushed for 19 yards on four carries and led the Buckeyes' No. 1 offense on the most impressive drive of the afternoon. Taking over at QB with the ball at his own 8-yard line, Miller completed 4 of 5 passes for 47 yards and rushed for another 4 in leading the Scarlet-topped offense on a 92-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Jordan Hall.
Miller later added a touchdown pass, a 15-yard strike to Corey "Philly" Brown.
Tressel said Miller had his best day as a Buckeye, thanks in part to a simplified playbook the offense utilized for the final scrimmage.
Miller's early progression has impressed his new teammates, including senior center Michael Brewster. Brewster should know about early pressure as well as anyone. The leader of the famed "Brew Crew" recruiting class of 2008 also enrolled early in hopes of making an impact as a true freshman.
"Quarterback and center are very hard positions to learn here, especially in three weeks," Brewster said. "If you can take a few things out of that, you're going to be doing well."
While many fans and experts mention Miller's mobility first when talking about his attributes, Brewster was more impressed with the youngster's arm.
"He's got a real quick release," Brewster said. "I heard the ball come off his hand one time like, ‘Whoosh!' I was like, ‘dang!' It was good to see him relax and play today."
Miller was not the only quarterback to have success in the spring game. All four quarterbacks threw touchdown passes. None were more aesthetically pleasing as the 68-yard touchdown bomb Graham threw to T.Y. Williams. The rainbow pass hit Williams in stride, and the redshirt freshman wide receiver was able to outrun walkon Vincent Petrella all the way to the end zone. The score capped an 8-play, 97-yard drive that saw Graham complete 2 of 4 passes.
Graham finished the day with 91 yards passing – aided by the long touchdown – and completed 4 of 9 attempts. Putting a slight damper on the day, however, was the fact that Graham was sacked five times.
"I think Taylor took a couple too many minus-yard plays," Tressel said after complementing the Illinois native on his "home run" pass. "We have to learn as young quarterbacks that you can't get sacked in the red zone and do those kinds of things."
Guiton completed 5 of 11 passes for 43 yards and led the Buckeyes to their first touchdown. Starting at the opponents' 25-yard line, Guiton completed an 8-yard pass to Jaamal Berry and then connected with Verlon Reed for a 17-yard touchdown on the second play of the drive.
Finally, Bauserman led the Buckeyes on two scoring drives. The first ended with a 22-yard field goal by Drew Basil and the second was capped by a 16-yard touchdown reception by Ryan Ross on the final play of the afternoon.
"We're all battling," Bauserman said. "We're all working hard and making strides. We're all getting better.
"Today we all played fairly well. We all made good plays, we all made bad plays. We're just moving forward."
Now the quarterbacks will work out over the summer with hopes to moving forward in their hopes of starting Sept. 3 vs. Akron.