With spring practice kicking off this afternoon at 3:30, Kenneth Guiton and Joe Bauserman will resume their battle to be the primary backup for starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Bauserman enters the spring having served as the primary reserve last season, but Guiton apparently caught the eye of the OSU coaching staff while going through a redshirt season last year.
Now Guiton is hoping to put himself into position to be one play away from seeing game action.
"That's the game," he said. "That's how I like it. I'm just going to keep working hard. I'm going to try and get the second spot. I'm one play away. It's a battle like anything else. I'm going to try my best and hardest and however it comes out is how it goes."
The last member of OSU's class of 2009, Guiton was hastily recruited by the Buckeyes after they missed out on a handful of other quarterback prospects. Had OSU not entered the picture at the 11th hour, Guiton said he would be suiting up at Prairie View.
Early on in camp, however, head coach Jim Tressel singled him out as a player who had impressed him with his raw skills. Pryor described Guiton as entering OSU with a better arm than he had as a freshman.
Looking back on the early going, Guiton said he felt he was far behind his teammates in a number of categories.
"When I first came in, I don't think my arm was anywhere near college level," he said. "Right now I think I'm all right. I still don't think I'm there, but I think I'm all right."
The hardest part about learning the offense, he said, was "all the signals. That's the only thing I had problems with. The plays, I'm OK with that."
One thing he was not OK with early on was redshirting. The thought of sitting out for an entire season took some getting used to.
"It was very hard," he said. "At times I got mentally discouraged and I talked to my mom a lot. She told me it's for the best to redshirt. I was all right with it after a while."
Last season, Bauserman saw limited action as Pryor's backup. In six games, Bauserman completed 6 of 19 passes 124 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The former minor-league pitcher showed off his strong arm during spring practices but was not able to have those skills translate much into on-field success.
As the third-string quarterback last season, Guiton said he could navigate campus in anonymity. The same could not be said for Pryor.
"He came to (on-campus dining hall) Marketplace one time and there were three girls coming up to him wanting to take pictures with him and he was like, ‘No, take a picture with (Guiton), he plays too,' " Guiton said. "They were like, ‘No, we want a picture with you.' I thought that was real funny."
Asked what was the biggest thing he had learned from Pryor, Guiton said, "Work ethic. He's in the weight room 24/7 and he's in the film room. He's always talking about football and talking about other players. We watch ESPN all the time. He's always talking about college football and the pros. I like his work ethic. I need to start working just as hard as him."
Although he was destined for a redshirt barring injury, Guiton still made the travel squad and was on the sidelines for each game last season.
"I had a fun year and got to travel," he said. "I had a lot of fun with it. I had to get stronger so I felt like I really needed to redshirt.
"The away games were probably the best. You can't even explain how it feels. I love it. It lived up to what I thought it was going to be."