CODY COUSINO / Photography editor
For the record, I like Joe Bauserman.
I don’t know the dude personally, nor do I plan on trying to be buddies with him anytime soon.
I don’t know what kind of leader the redshirt senior quarterback is in the Ohio State locker room or who he is at practice. I don’t know his attitude in the weight room or his dedication through the grueling 6 a.m. workouts in February.
Nor do I really know who Bauserman is off the field. I don’t know if he’s doing the right things or trading his John Hancock so he can get as tatted up as Lil Wayne.
I don’t know Bauserman. But what I don’t know about Bauserman helps me figure out what I do know.
I do know, at least for the time being, that he wasn’t involved in the tattoo scandal that started it all. He didn’t sell his Big Ten Championship rings or his practice jersey. He hasn’t been foolish enough to whip out of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center onto Olentangy River Road in his Nissan 350Z with ESPN’s cameras rolling on one of the darkest days in Buckeye history. Nor was he immature enough to be shooting an air-compressed gun off the top of Marketplace on a Sunday night.
I do know that Bauserman is 26 years old and his birthday was Oct. 4. I know that he used to play minor league baseball for affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And, like some of you will be quick to point out, I know that he hasn’t performed well on the field.
I know that Bauserman was almost more of a liability to the Buckeyes’ offense than an asset. I know that fans cringed when freshman quarterback Braxton Miller went down against Nebraska two weeks ago. I know that there’s a “Bauserchart” which exaggerated his incompletions. And I know that the offense is likely better off without him on the field.
But if you’re going to fault Ohio State’s misfortune on Bauserman, I know you must be, to some degree, crazy.
I know he’s not the future of the program. I know, as much as you’ve got to appreciate the time and effort he’s put into OSU’s team, he’s not who I’d want out there calling the signals.
It’s nothing personal; that’s just how football is. The best players on the field play, regardless of how much of a cretin they are off of it. Ohio State’s offense is clearly more effective with Miller under center, even despite his one completion in a win at Illinois on Sept. 15.
But to label Bauserman as the root of all evil and all problems is, for lack of a better word, stupid. A team doesn’t lose because of one person just the same way it doesn’t win because of one person.
It’s one thing to attack effort and entirely another thing to attack ability. The former is a conscience choice and the latter a result of genetics and developed skills.
Again, I don’t know Bauserman and I probably never will. But I do know that as long as the effort’s there, the ability (or lack there of) will always come second in my book.