August 28, 2007

Long time in the making

The starting quarterback derby is over at least for the first week when the latest depth chart came out and gave the nod to Todd Boeckman to make his first career start against Youngstown State. That doesn't mean that Rob Schoenhoft won't get any meaningful playing time in the game. The staff plans on playing both signal callers during the early parts of the game, but there can only be one starter and the St. Henry (Ohio) product is excited that he gets the opportunity.

"It is really exciting to know that I am going to be the starting quarterback here," Boeckman said. "I think that I have worked very hard and prepared myself and I have gotten better each and every day and I am progressing I think."

Boeckman is one of the old men of the team with only Devin Barclay and Ryan Pretorius older than the junior quarterback. With his years on the team the quarterback has soaked up lessons from his predecessors.

"I've learned from the past," Boeckman said. "I learned how Troy (Smith) handled himself and how Craig (Krenzel) handled himself and even Justin (Zwick), I have learned those little things. Take it one step at a time and take what the defense gives you."

After waiting in the wings for what has felt like an eternity what is it going to mean for Boeckman to run out of the tunnel knowing that he is going to be the starter?

"It's going to be a little different but I can't be too overwhelmed or too overexcited about the situation," Boeckman said. "I just got to go out there and stay focused, stay relaxed and be confident in my ability and confident in myself and put the team in the right situation."

But all the focus in the world is not going to calm the nerves leading up to the game and building to a crescendo the night before.

"I think that night before the game I probably won't sleep to be honest," Boeckman said. "It's a whole different feeling of being out there and the guy who is going to lead this team to open up the game."

There will be a lot of questions on the offensive side of the ball with so many offensive weapons gone from the team but personally what is the biggest question that Boeckman will have to answer come Saturday?

"Just going out there and being able to say that I am the starter and being able to play," Boeckman said. "I haven't been a starter since 2002 so it's been five years. Just see how I handle the different situations the defense is going to throw at me and the different looks they are going to throw at me. Just kind of put the team in the right situation and the right checks at all times."

With such a young can fans expect to see a completely revamped playbook that takes into account the loss of players like Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Antonio Pittman and most notably Troy Smith?

"It's not too much different but I just think at first we took it a bit slower and a little easier," Boeckman said. "I think the guys are stepping up well."

Of course with a new offense the best friend of a first year starting quarterback would be a strong running game and the Buckeyes have the potential for having a downright nasty running attack.

"It's nice that you have Chris Wells and Maurice Wells and a couple freshmen back there," Boeckman said. "It's nice to have those guys able to pound the ball in there. You don't always want to be in positions where it is third and long, that makes it tough even on the offense and I think the guys have the ability to break a big one at all times."

What does Boeckman expect Youngstown State to try and bring to the table defensively?

"I think that they are going to do a lot of blitzing and mix it up a little bit," Boeckman said. "You've got to take it play by play and just try to handle ourselves."

While many might think that the Penguins are going to be overmatched the Ohio State team is not going to buy into that belief and knows that Youngstown State is going to have nothing to lose and lay it all out there hoping to play giant-killer.

"You know that they are going to play hard," Boeckman said. "They are playing Ohio State and coming into the 'Shoe. Anybody who comes in here to play Ohio State is going to be really excited and they are going to be really pumped up and we just got to play our game and hopefully we can do well."

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