2008: A Boeckman Odyssey

It looked like Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman might have to burn his redshirt year by playing in the Alamo Bowl. Fortunately for Boeckman and the Buckeyes, it worked out for the best. We caught up with Todd Boeckman's father -- Tim Boeckman -- for his thoughts on the situation.

Heading into the Alamo Bowl, there were two things Ohio State wanted to accomplish: Win the game and preserve freshman quarterback Todd Boeckman's redshirt year.

So, of course midway through the first quarter, down went starting QB Justin Zwick with a hamstring strain.

(For those of us that have watched Ken Griffey Jr. over the last five years, you don't just bounce back from hammies.)

Zwick was limping pretty bad and at that point it looked like Boeckman's redshirt year might get tossed out the window.

But OSU had a trick up its sleeve in the name of Ted Ginn Jr. Also, Zwick toughed it out, fought through the pain and helped lead the Buckeyes to a 33-7 romp over an overmatched Oklahoma State team.

We recently caught up with Boeckman's father – Tim Boeckman – and asked him what exactly was going through his mind when Zwick went down with the injury.

"Well, Todd had a lot of communication with the coaching staff and we knew they were going to try and hold Todd out of the game if at all possible," he said. "They told Todd the plan was to get Teddy some reps at quarterback and have him ready in an emergency."

Tim Boeckman, the athletic director/football coach at St. Henry High School, had a good grasp on the situation. He knew that it would be best for his son to not play in the Alamo Bowl, but as a coach he also knew Jim Tressel had to do what was in the best interest of the team.

As for Todd Boeckman, he probably knew that it was best if he didn't play, but 19-year-old kids come to college to play football. Not watch it. He was the No. 2 quarterback all of bowl practice and definitely had the itch to play, even if it meant burning the redshirt year.

"Sure, Todd wanted to play and if the team needed him to play to help win the game, we had no problem with that," Tim Boeckman said. "But it worked out for the best. The team won and Todd was able to save the extra year."

Boeckman grayshirted in 2003. He was able to practice with the team through the first three games of the season and rejoined the team during bowl practice. He will have nearly two full years under his belt learning OSU's system before his "freshman" season arrives in 2005.

"The grayshirt situation worked out great for Todd," Tim Boeckman said. "When they approached Todd his junior year of high school and asked him to do it, he was saying, ‘What are they trying to do?' But it's worked out for the best. It's been a perfect situation for him. He had the opportunity to run the scout team for two years, and then with the incident with Troy (Smith) he moved up to No. 2 and ran Ohio State's offense. It's a great situation and he's matured physically and mentally and is ready to take the next step."

Boeckman now has two years of separation between Zwick and Smith. With Rob Schoenhoft entering the fray this fall, the Buckeyes will have more depth and talent at quarterback than they've had in a long time.

"Todd is excited about it," Tim Boeckman said. "It's going to be a great battle between Justin, Troy and Todd. And Robbie as well."

Ohio State's coaching staff was pleased with Boeckman's development last season. They turned him loose for over 30 passes in the fall jersey scrimmage and he looked sharp. Nothing spectacular, but very poised and accurate for a young quarterback.

Boeckman was not expecting to throw so many passes at the jersey scrimmage, but the staff knew it was the final chance to get him some extended reps in a game situation.

"He was a little bit surprised they used him so much that day and threw the ball that much, but he had fun," Tim Boeckman said.

If it doesn't happen earlier, Boeckman is now projected to be OSU's starting quarterback in 2007 and '08. Schoenhoft will have something to say about that, but it should be a good competition.

Todd Boeckman threw for 7,021 yards and 64 touchdowns during his prep career at St. Henry. He burst on the scene as a freshman when he threw for 2,520 yards and 23 touchdowns and led the Redskins to the Division V state championship game. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament as a senior, but completed 95 of 177 passes for 1,415 yards and 15 TDs and was named first team All-Ohio.

He was also a first team All-Ohio selection in basketball and baseball.


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