After Thursday's practice, quarterback Todd Boeckman was sent out to talk with the media. Despite grayshirting and originally intending on redshirting this year, Boeckman is looking good and may push for playing time. He is clearly excited about competing for time on the field and is determined to give it his best shot.
"Having a chance to practice out here is an amazing feeling," he said. "It is giving me an opportunity to show what I can do."
Here is a Q&A session with Todd on where things stand right now.
What are you feeling right now after sitting out for a year?
"I am so excited right now just to be out here and have the opportunity to play on this team. It is a dream come true for me. Having Troy go down today – which has definitely hurt us – it gave me a chance to have a feel for the number twos because I have been working with the threes the whole time. I think it just gave me a better opportunity to show what I can do today."
Do you feel like you are picking the system up more and have a chance?
"Last year I came in and I didn't know much. There was so much they threw at us those first couple days. Now, through this whole process of last year and then off-season, I am working on my mental part of the game. I think I know the offense better and have a shot at playing, but they [Zwick and Smith] definitely have the upper hand. They have been here for a year, and they have experience, and they are both great players. I am just pushing them to compete better and harder."
Will playing this year defeat the purpose of the grayshirt? Why not just come in and be a full member of the team and redshirt if you are going to play this season?
"I don't think so because I still was able to go through camp and practice – that whole two-a-days. I think, given the chance, if I redshirt this year it will give me more separation from those two. I think it was still a benefit for me because I was only off…I was able to dress for the first four games of the season and after that I was off until the bowl game, and I got to go to the bowl. I think it was definitely an advantage for me to have this extra year and get to know the offense better and to know all the aspects of the game, what I had to do mentally and physically."
But if you play – will that defeat the purpose? I know you want to play and that is the goal for every player, but wouldn't it have been better then to simply redshirt last year instead of grayshirt with the plan to possibly redshirt this year?
"It can be both ways. I think it was a benefit for me, but we will have to see how it pans out and goes from here."
Anything particular you are working on?
"I think the mental [aspect] definitely is a big part. Once you come here, everybody has the physical tools to be a great player here at Ohio State…Plus my feet right now. I want to work on them too and get them a little bit better. They are not real quick right now and I want to work on that."
Did the high school injury set you back in that area then?
"I guess so – a little bit. I definitely can improve. This game is so much faster in college. It is unbelievable compared to high school."
Every time the quarterbacks questions come up, Coach Tressel throws your name out there. Is that encouraging to you?
"Definitely. It is encouraging to me. I just go out there work harder because coach is noticing something that I am doing so I must be doing something right."
Do you talk to your dad (who was also Todd's high school coach) much about what happens in practice?
"Oh definitely. I call him a couple times a week. He is definitely interested in what I do, and he just loves football in and out. Since he retired last year, he just wants to know what's going on. I think he is actually coming up tomorrow, so he just wants to get a good feel for what I do and what the team does because he is football in and out."