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Joe Bauserman’s the man: Redshirt senior to start at quarterback for opening game

When the Ohio State offense lines up for its first drive of the 2011 season on Saturday against Akron, redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman will likely be under center for the Buckeyes.

“If we were taking the first snap right now, (Bauserman) would probably take the first snap,” first-year OSU coach Luke Fickell said at a Tuesday press conference on campus.

Bauserman had been competing with redshirt sophomore Ken Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham and true freshman Braxton Miller for the starting job throughout fall camp. Bauserman and Miller emerged from the quarterbacking quartet in recent weeks, however.

“Just talking with the offensive staff, we know we’re going to need them both (Bauserman and Miller),” Fickell said.  “We sat down with both those guys and made sure they understood that throughout this entire year we’re going to need (them) both.”

Fickell said he was impressed with Bauserman’s performance during fall camp, which included a 7-for-13, 120-yard passing performance in the Aug. 20 jersey scrimmage. Bauserman also threw one touchdown pass and one interception during the contest.

Miller was 7-for-19 passing with 126 yards and two touchdown passes in the scrimmage.

According to a previous copy of the Buckeyes’ depth chart, the starter at the quarterback position listed: “Joe Bauserman, Sr. OR Braxton Miller, Fr.”

Another depth chart released to media on Tuesday had both Bauserman’s and Miller’s names highlighted — the only other position to be denoted as such was at the kick returner’s spot, which has Jordan Hall or Chris Fields highlighted as starters.

“That doesn’t mean I haven’t been impressed with (Miller), as well,” Fickell said. “We’ve been impressed enough with him to list him in the ‘or’ category.

“The whole idea is that we want to continue to create competition and to make sure those guys understand that by saying ‘or,’ we mean ‘both.'”

Captains by committee

After electing to change the point scoring system for the Aug. 20 jersey scrimmage, Fickell again departed from OSU tradition and announced Tuesday that his team will select a new set of captains for each week of the season.

Traditionally, the team selects captains and those players retain the title for the duration of the season.

Junior defensive lineman John Simon, senior offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts and senior center Michael Brewster will act as captains for Saturday’s game against Akron.

“It’s something different, I understand that,” Fickell said. “It’s about the whole group of seniors, and I thought that for right now, for this year, it really does a good job of bringing the whole group of senior leadership to the forefront.”

Back in black

After joking that his sideline attire would be whatever his wife lays out for him, Fickell said that he and defensive coaches will likely don black clothes on game days so that the defensive players can distinguish them from other personnel on the sidelines.

“That’s not something I put a whole lot of thought into,” he said. “We’ll be doing signals from the defensive side, so usually we’re wearing something black.

“Nike determines a lot of what you do, anyway.”

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