Is Henton OSU's No. 2 Quarterback?

Despite displaying some growing pains along the way, junior Todd Boeckman appears to be solidifying himself as the team's starting quarterback. As he has done so, however, the battle continues to be his primary backup -- and Antonio Henton might be gaining some ground.

Through the first four games of the season, the Ohio State coaching staff has been pleased with the progress of junior quarterback Todd Boeckman. In his first season as the team's starting quarterback, the consensus among the coaches is that Boeckman is growing well along with the rest of the offense.

As he solidifies his position atop the depth chart at the most scrutinized position in football, a competitive battle is being waged by the two players behind him on the depth chart.

And if Saturday's performance was any indication, things might be getting more and more competitive between sophomore Robby Schoenhoft and redshirt freshman Antonio Henton – although the depth chart might not reflect that just yet.

With the Buckeyes ahead 42-0 late in the second quarter, head coach Jim Tressel opted to give Boeckman a rest and inserted Schoenhoft into the game for a series. The five-play drive covered 22 yards and resulted in a 40-yard Ryan Pretorius field goal.

The quarter ended two plays later, and Boeckman led OSU to another touchdown on the team's first drive of the second half. After that, his afternoon was complete and the offense was entrusted to his backups.

For the remainder of the game, the Buckeyes had five offensive possessions. Four of them saw Henton under center, while Schoenhoft's lone second-half possession came when OSU regained the ball with 50 seconds remaining.

He ran two plays – both handoffs – as the Buckeyes ran out the clock.

After the game, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman it might be too soon to anoint Henton as the second-string quarterback, regardless of what his playing time might indicate.

"It might be a little too soon to put that kind of clamp on the deal," he said. "Whenever we do something different, everybody is like the daggone gossip column. Well, I'm not into the gossip column. Let's see what happens. Guys are going to play a little bit."

For the game, Henton was 2 of 4 for 20 yards with a long of 11, while Schoenhoft was 1 of 2 for 6 yards. On his incomplete pass, Schoenhoft threw the ball low on a medium crossing route intended for junior tight end Rory Nicol and drew a smattering of boos from the sellout crowd at Ohio Stadium.

Henton also rushed the ball seven times on a few designed runs for 31 yards with a long of 10.

"You've got to try to get them both some action here and see who is ready to do, what we can do with both of them," Bollman said. "Not necessarily who's ready to go, but what they can do."

Both times Schoenhoft got into the game, the Buckeyes were pressed for time. In addition to his final series, Schoenhoft's second-quarter drive began with 2:41 remaining in the half.

Alternating players during games that are well in hand also give the Buckeyes a bit more experience should the starter go down at some point in the season. As the team broke for fall camp, head coach Jim Tressel admitted that he should have found more ways to get Boeckman into games last season with seniors Troy Smith and Justin Zwick taking the majority of the snaps.

This year, it seems, extra effort is being made to ensure that someone will be ready should Boeckman suffer an injury.

Bollman said the coaches evaluate the body of work the players put in both during practice and games, needing to do well in one arena to merit playing time in the other.

"Just because one guy plays a little bit more here and there, you've got to let some of those things take shape," he said. "Obviously we felt like Antonio has been doing a good enough job that he ought to get a couple of pops in there."

Whether that job is good enough to keep warranting more "pops" than Schoenhoft remains to be seen. If that is the case, though, then Henton might indeed become the team's second-string quarterback, regardless of what the published depth chart might indicate.


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