Guiton's Development Key For OSU Offense

Urban Meyer was thrilled to have a top-notch quarterback on the Ohio State roster in Braxton Miller when he took over. But the head coach has been about equally as thrilled with the development of the No. 2 signal caller, Kenny Guiton, which could allow the OSU offense to thrive in 2012.

The Ohio State football team believes it has one of the true game-breaking talents in the college game in quarterback Braxton Miller.

But the quarterback position isn't just about one guy at a place like Ohio State, and there's where first-year head coach Urban Meyer is happy to have a guy like Kenneth Guiton around.

The emergence of Guiton – both in a leadership sense and on the field in Meyer's quarterback-centric spread offense – could allow the Buckeyes to be much more flexible as the season begins.

"I like Kenny Guiton, so we're going to be more – I don't want to say reckless, but we're going to be more aggressive because I have trust in two quarterbacks," the former Florida head coach said. "The year we had Chris Leak and Tim Tebow they both kind of fed off each other."

That's not to say Guiton is going to split time with Miller or have any specific packages drawn up for him – a la Tebow, whose rugged running style served as the perfect complement to Leak's passing talents as the Gators won the 2006 national championship. The two quarterbacks on the Ohio State roster are too similar for that.

What it does say is that there is a level of comfort within the program with Guiton, who has risen from a late throw-in to the 2009 class to an upperclassman and a leader who has earned the respect of one of the most decorated head coaches in the sport.

But it didn't have to be that way. Guiton has always been described as one of the most popular players on the team thanks to his quick smile and infectious personality, but after losing a fall camp battle for the quarterback spot last year and watching Miller and Joe Bauserman split time, Guiton saw his enthusiasm for the sport wane without him even realizing it.

"I was into football and everything," the Houston native said. "I just saw Braxton come in and he did a great job during the season, so I don't know, maybe I was a little down and (Meyer) saw it. Maybe I didn't even know."

That was not going to work on a team coached by Meyer, and the head coach quickly set about making sure his top backup at the most important position on the team was on board.

"It was good having him come in," Guiton said. "I feel like he got the best out of me, especially in the spring, and then telling me what I needed to work on over the summer. After he's seen that I took all that in and did it, he said I made a 180."

Indeed he did.

"You talk about a 180, Kenny Guiton," Meyer said. "His time in Columbus was limited the way he was doing things. Now Kenny Guiton is on my leadership team, which is one of the biggest turnarounds I've ever seen in six months. To go from where he was in January when I walked through the doors and did my homework on him to where he is right now, I'm really proud of that guy."

With that, Guiton was able to insert himself as a key member of the team. Though he lacks Miller's off-the-charts escapability and athleticism, he does boast the ability to run the spread offense.

That is true both in his ability to run the football – an important part of Meyer's offense – and when it comes to making the quick reads that are required of the quarterbacks in the offense.

"I love Kenny Guiton," offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said. "Kenny is a guy that can survive a lot on mental reps. He's a really sharp guy that understands the offense and understands the tempo. Lacks, obviously, some of the physical tools that Braxton has but makes up for it in the way that he plays mentally."

"Definitely feel like he's got a little more velocity on his ball, he's worked on his arm strength and his mechanics to speed up the velocity on his throws. Yeah, we feel like we have two guys that are capable, but one is certainly ahead of the other."

That last part is the fundamental truth of the current arrangement. Though Guiton's impressive offseason has earned him the confidence of the coaching staff – one that won't be afraid to turn to his should they need to – he is still the clear No. 2 guy behind Miller.

That's fine with Guiton, who is going to continue to do what he can to push Miller and help the team.

"I understand my role," Guiton said. "Every day I'm coming to work. I'm coming to get a starting job. That's one thing I'm always going to push for because the reason I came here was to play. I'm comfortable with everything and I understand it also."

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