Aside from being a right-handed quarterback, Joe Bauserman has very little in common with the man he has backed up the past two seasons.
Terrelle Pryor was flashy, talented and a bit troubled. He dominated the headlines both before and during his unique career at Ohio State. The understated Bauserman, meanwhile, has been a master at blending into the backdrop -- until now.
Pryor is gone, and Bauserman, a 25-year-old former pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization who walked on at Ohio State in 2007, suddenly is the Buckeyes' most experienced quarterback -- by far.
As the Buckeyes scramble for a starting quarterback not just for the first five games but for the entire season, Bauserman appears to be the safest option. In fact, if Ohio State turns to its Tressel-ball roots this season, Bauserman, who has been in the system for four years, is a good fit to call the signals.
He has thrown for only 320 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his career, hardly a résumé that pops off the page. But compared with competitors Kenny Guiton, Taylor Graham and Braxton Miller, Bauserman is a grizzled vet. If limiting mistakes is Ohio State's top goal for its QB, the team likely will turn to Bauserman.
"Joe is a real solid guy," center Mike Brewster told The Columbus Dispatch this spring. "He knows the offense, he's going to make the smart play, and that's what you want from your quarterback."
While Pryor created some division within the team, especially in the past few days, Bauserman shouldn't have trouble garnering support. Miller already is the fan favorite, an extremely talented but totally unproven young quarterback. But the fans won't make a decision on the starter.
A huge summer is underway for Bauserman and the Buckeyes. And after a career spent mostly backstage, Bauserman moment in the spotlight has arrived.