Many have played the game of college football, but few have stood where Craig Krenzel has. As the quarterback at Ohio State, there is no low profile to be found.
"It's the spotlight, like it or not, so it is a very important position at a place where football is a very, very big deal," said Krenzel, who led the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship and was in the area Monday to play in a fund-raiser golf outing at Stone Oak.
Krenzel said the quarterback quandary the Buckeyes find themselves in now, less than a week away from the start of practice for the 2011 season, is a huge issue.
"For any school that has to find a new quarterback coming into a season, it's a big deal, but especially at a school like Ohio State that has done what we've done for the last nine or 10 years," Krenzel said. "When you try to be at that elite level and maintain national prominence it's a big story, and in this case it's a big story why we find ourselves in this situation."
A scandal involving players selling memorabilia for cash and discounts on tattoos exploded into an implosion with the program that cost iconic head coach Jim Tressel his job in late May, and sent three-year starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor scurrying for the NFL.
Pryor's abrupt exit leaves the Buckeyes with four quarterbacks, but precious little experience. Krenzel said that without any real tests facing live rounds, the jury is still out on all of them -- senior Joe Bauserman, sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham and true freshman Braxton Miller.
Bauserman, who played professional baseball before joining the Buckeyes and will be 26 years old early in the season, has yet to prove his age and maturity have football value, Krenzel said.
"Playing the position and being mature on the field is a whole lot different than being older or more mature in life," said Krenzel who works for the Arthur Krenzel Lett Insurance Group in Dublin, a Columbus suburb. "It will be interesting to see if he is the guy people thought he would be, the older and safer bet, but that's not necessarily the case."
Krenzel said Guiton is blessed with athleticism but is also "a bit erratic" in the passing game "which can be very, very dangerous at that level." He sees Graham, the son of former Buckeye and NFL quarterback Kent Graham as having the best "pocket instincts" and the most natural form, "but we don't know anything about him as a leader."
Miller, a highly-touted prospect who was expected to spend his first season as Pryor's understudy, has had a lot of build-up before joining the Buckeyes.
"He's the real hot shot coming in, and he's definitely a good athlete who can throw the ball. He's got a ton of upside and a ton of potential," Krenzel said, "but it's up to our coaching staff to try and develop that."
Possibly a bigger issue than who will start for the Buckeyes when they open the season against Akron is which player will be designated as the backup, Krenzel said. He sees Bauserman and Graham as traditional pocket passers, while Guiton and Miller offer more running options at the position.
"The part I find the most interesting is that we've got four guys, but we've got basically two different types of quarterbacks," he said. "I'd really only be comfortable with the two-deep if it's consistent with the type of offense you are going to be running. It's really unfair to ask the other 10 guys, especially your offensive line, to play two different styles of offense like that."
Krenzel said he is anxious to see the start of fall camp so that the evolution of the next Ohio State starter can move into high gear.
"Something like this quarterback situation is naturally going to catch a lot of attention because people want to know about it, they want to hear about it," he said. "At Ohio State, you stay in the spotlight, good or bad. Hopefully, we can get back in the spotlight for the good, for winning football games and for moving forward."
Contact Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6510.