Luke Fickell and the Ohio State Buckeyes have dealt with plenty the past few months. The NCAA investigations, suspensions to players, and the coaching changes in the wake of Jim Tressel’s departure — it’s all been a whirlwind for the young head honcho in Columbus. Now you can add a quarterback dilemma to the mix.
Fickell started senior Joe Bauserman in the Buckeyes’ first three games — a drubbing of Akron, a close victory over Toledo and then, most recently, a loss at Miami this past weekend. Now Bauserman is out and freshman Braxton Miller is in. He’ll start Saturday against Colorado and Fickell will see where things go from there.
Luke Fickell joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull and Fox to discuss the decision to bench senior QB Joe Bauserman in favor of the freshman Braxton Miller, whether he intends to play Miller the whole game this Saturday, whether he wishes he would have done things differently the past couple weeks, what his transition to being a head coach has been like, his young offense and how Bauserman took the news that he wouldn’t start.
You’ve announced Braxton Miller as your starting quarterback. Does that mean he plays the whole game?:
“We don’t know for sure yet. We’re going with Braxton and we’ve got to continue to move forward with what’s best with this group. … We’ve got a little bit of a plan for each. We’re going to go in, obviously, with Braxton and not telling him, ‘You’re on a leash,’ of any sorts or anything like that. We want him to be comfortable with what he’s doing. He knows we have confidence in him, but we also want Joe to be ready.”
If you could go back and change things, would you have used the quarterbacks differently in the past three games?:
“We’re moving forward. You’ve got enough things to do to spend any time thinking about what could have been. I guess maybe at the end of the year that’s when you have time to look back and reflect.”
How tough of a transition has it been for you given all that has happened in the past few months?:
“It’s different; it’s definitely different. I think anything that’s different is difficult. … The great thing is I’ve been with this staff for eight, nine years, most of them. So everybody knows each other, we know how to communicate. There’s no feelings outside of just making sure we’re doing what’s best for this program and this team. That’s made this transition possible.”
Was the decision to start Miller made tougher by the fact that you have so many other young guys on offense?:
“We can’t look at it like that. We’ve got to look at the whole group. Regardless of whether they’re young or not, they’re what we’ve got. Whether he had five or six senior wideouts or whatever, he’s still a freshman quarterback. The most important thing is that’s where we think we need to go and we continue to move forward. We’re not focused on anything other than, how can we get better and how do we get our best 11 guys on the field?”
How has Joe taken the news?:
“Joe took it good. It’s hard on anybody. It’s hard on us as coaches. … He’s obviously disappointed, but you would want him to be disappointed. … We talked two months ago with those guys that no matter what we were going to need both of them and how their relationship worked was going to be key to this team and helping each other grow. Things have a way of working themselves out.”