Monday, November 24, 2008

I know my last post was titled "This is the game everyone looks forward too" and it is. The sad part is after the game, when you realize that the college football season is winding down. This was a great year! I wish that Boeckman would have got to play more but there's nothing I can do about's over now. Todd might not have got to play as much as I wished he would have. But, Todd has something that a lot of players don't have class. Both on the field and off the field. I hope that he won't just be overlooked like so many players are; but instead he will be remembered as the "classy guy" who never complained even when he was replaced by a freshman after winning the Big Ten and leading his team to the National title game the year before. Todd is everything an athlete should be and more.

Taking 1 for the team

COLUMBUS - If it seemed like he had been around forever, that's because the Ohio football journey of Todd Boeckman spanned a full decade.
It began when he quarterbacked his St. Henry High School team to the Division V state championship game as a freshman back in the fall of 1999. It concluded yesterday with a backup appearance in the fourth quarter of Ohio State's 42-7 pounding of Michigan at Ohio Stadium.
In his swan song at the Horseshoe, Boeckman completed all three of his passes for 64 yards, including an 18-yard TD strike to Brian Hartline with 13:16 remaining to cap Ohio State's fifth straight win over UM.
The play drew a sizable ovation from the crowd of 105,564, a nice sendoff for Boeckman, who received a different response from impatient Buckeye supporters early this season.
"I guess, personally, it felt pretty good to get out there just to get that back," Boeckman said. "To know that you can still go out there and make some things happen. It feels good to have people on your side and wanting to see you succeed and do things well."
Boeckman's ride had its ups and downs. His St. Henry Redskins, for instance, never again qualified for Ohio's prep playoffs after 1999, this despite his career 7,021 passing yards and 64 TDs.
Boeckman enrolled part-time at Ohio State and became what was termed a "gray shirt," participating in preseason practice in August of 2003 in the wake of the Buckeyes' national championship season. He enrolled full-time in January of '04.
Following a red-shirt season in 2004, he backed up Troy Smith and Justin Zwick in 2005, and then was behind Smith during his Heisman Trophy season in 2006. That's when OSU closed the regular season 12-0 and ranked No. 1 before being humbled by Florida in the national championship game.
Last year, Boeckman's term as understudy expired. He took the keys to the Buckeye offense and earned first-team All-Big Ten quarterback honors, guiding OSU to an 11-2 mark and a second straight trip to the BCS title game, a loss to LSU.
Boeckman started his senior season (his sixth year on campus) with the shadow of a prize QB recruit - prep All-America Terrelle Pryor from Pennsylvania. - looming large.
The 6-4, 244-pound Boeckman had completed 191 of 299 passes for 2,379 yards and 25 TDs with 14 interceptions in 2007. But, after struggling in Ohio State's 35-3 loss at USC, he lost his starting job and never got it back.
"What was hard was not being out there with my teammates," Boeckman said. "They were out there celebrating winning games. I'm excited for everybody and excited for this team, and it was kind of tough for me not being out there with them."
The Pryor era began on Sept. 20 when the Buckeyes hosted Troy. Boeckman was relegated to clipboard duty during games, pressed into service helping Pryor learn the offense, and was dubbed by some as the "best backup quarterback in thenation."
"I had to help him because I had to do what's best for this football team," Boeckman said. "Terrelle's a phenomenal athlete. I'm looking forward to see what he can do in the future.
"You can't divide a team or separate a team when something like that happens. I just figured the best thing for me would be to be a team player and do what's best for the team. Terrelle did some great things out there this year, and he's getting better each and every week. I'm excited for him."
Still, it was a bitter pill for Boeckman in his sixth year at OSU.
"When anybody loses their job to somebody else, it's going to be tough," he said. "But that's something you've got to fight through. If this is one of the worst things in my life that happens to me, I'll feel pretty good about myself.
"It's a great honor to be a part of this football team, and it's an even better honor to beat Michigan like this."
As rough as the ride was, the end came on a good note.
"It was very emotional being out there," Boeckman said. "It's been a tough year for me, but it felt pretty good to get out there and throw [for] that touchdown

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