Junior Bauserman Confident In Abilities

Kenny Guiton is the quarterback of the moment for Ohio State fans after his outstanding spring game, but Joe Bauserman still provides a veteran presence for the Buckeyes under center behind Terrelle Pryor. Bauserman said he's grown in his time at Ohio State and would be ready to take over should the need arise in 2010.

Joe Bauserman never was much of a reliever.

Before he was Ohio State's backup quarterback, Bauserman was a minor league pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for three seasons. During that time, he started 43 games but came out of the bullpen only once.

So it might not be that much of a surprise that the Strasburg, Va., native said it's tough to jump into the fray and immediately find rhythm as a reserve, as he attempted to do in six games a season ago in relief of Terrelle Pryor.

"It was good getting out there, but at the same time it's hard," he said. "When it's late in the game and you're standing for a couple of hours, you have to get re-warmed up. You have to get in synch with the same guys that you haven't been doing too much with, either. It's hard, but the more experience, the better."

That experience is why quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said midway through Ohio State's spring practices that Bauserman would be the man to replace Pryor should anything ever happen to the nation's one-time No. 1 recruit.

Whether the pecking order will change given Bauserman's two picks in the spring game and redshirt freshman Kenny Guiton's two-touchdown showing will be determined over time, but there's still no doubt the Ohio State coaching staff likes what Bauserman – the only quarterback on the roster other than Pryor to see game action – brings to the table.

"Joe has got a maturity level and a calmness about him because he's competed at a high level before," Siciliano said. "He doesn't get frazzled. He's very calm in the huddle. He's a good leader. He throws the ball extremely well. He's slithery enough to be able to get in and out of danger, and that's a good thing."

Bauserman's first action at Ohio State came in 2008 when he completed 3 of 6 passes in five games of duty. A year ago, the 6-1, 233-pounder had his best game in the opener against Navy, completing 3 of 5 passes for 36 yards. He also saw mop-up action against Toledo and Minnesota and played extensive time in the blowout win against New Mexico State, finishing the season 6 for 19 for 124 yards.

While those stats don't jump off the page, Siciliano was sure he'd have no troubles turning over the keys to Bauserman if anything were to happen to Pryor.

"I wouldn't lose any sleep," he said. "It's that simple. I would not lose any sleep."

When queried about the subject, Bauserman said he feels he would be up to the challenge as well.

"I feel good," he said. "I feel strongly about the way I practice nine times out of 10. You have bad days here and there, but I feel pretty good. If something were to happen, if it was me or Kenny I feel like we could both jump in and take it as it comes."

Should the chance to play come around again in 2010, Bauserman said things could be different. The experienced signal caller said he keeps advancing in his abilities each year he's in the program, making him more ready to play when the chance arises.

"It's just another year of development," he said. "You get more comfortable with what you're trying to do and understanding what the coaches want. Anytime you get more experience, the better you're going to be."

When asked how he's gotten better in his time at Ohio State, Bauserman pointed to his vision on the field and knowledge – both of the Buckeye offense and what defenses are trying to do – as the two areas in which he's grown the most.

"I'm just seeing everything and understanding," he said. "You know where you're going to go with it nine times out of 10 before the ball is even snapped. It just makes everything easier."

The hardest part might be sitting behind Pryor knowing that the call to take the field on a Saturday in autumn might never come.

"You just come out (to practice) and try to get better and try to get everybody else better, get timing with the receivers," he said. "You just never know when anything is going to happen, so you have to be ready at all times."

And while there were rumors a few years ago that Bauserman was considering a transfer, he seems perfectly happy biding his time – especially having already been through the real-world wringer of the professional baseball world.

"It's college," he said when asked about his experience at OSU. "You try to enjoy it. Everybody is like, ‘Stay in college. Enjoy every moment you can.' Everybody is trying to get out of here fast. I'm just going to sit here and take advantage of what I've got."

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