Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring is the time when a young man's thoughts turn to practice (and Henton)


Res ThaSequel is new to Old Columbus Town and once saw Thad Matta at a Columbus Pizza Hut enjoying the lunch buffet. Matta refused him as a walk-on despite ThaSequel's assertion that "he was a five, but could play the two." This clearly makes him qualified to report on Ohio State.

As Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch reported, Antonio Henton (and to a lesser extent Joe Bauserman--though he apparently has a quick release) will use the spring practices in order to get a leg up before [the] Terrelle Pyror arrives at school ready to live up to his monstrous billing. Indeed, Henton, Buckeye City's favorite forgotten son, is in a dilly of a pickle as he must now decide between battling the much heralded Pryor at OSU or seek his fortunes elsewhere.

It is a decision with no easy (and certain) answer. Though a January 28 article posted by Our Honor Defend reported that Henton is happy and staying scarlet and gray, that article was published before well before Pryor signed with the Bucks.

On one hand, Pryor could bust (or get injured) and Henton could become the starter next season. On the other side, Henton might turn into Scott McMullen or Jonathon Moxon--a talented player whose career is almost entirely eclipsed (save for injury circumstances) by someone else. Additionally, if Henton does transfer, he must confront the guidelines set forth by the NCAA and get permission to leave and all that.

Despite the overwhelming odds against Henton and significant playing time, he can stay at Ohio State and still succeed. Going to a smaller school will be precarious at best and obligatory Short North prostitute jokes aside, if Henton has built a niche within OSU, it would be foolish to break that now. Competition will almost certainly exist at OSU or anywhere, if not with Pryor than some other recruit. Transferring does not necessarily mean instant success at a smaller school, case in point Louis Irizarry, the former troubled TE who went to Youngstown State after OSU and fizzled.

It could turn out, that Henton could impress in these next few practices and entrench himself as No. 2 behind Boeckman. Instead of a Boeckman throw and Pryor run platoon, Henton could displace Pryor talk. But there are other options beside QB--namely receiver--that Henton could do. Should Pryor become Troy Tebow, a man of Henton's talents would still be welcome and utilized.

If Henton becomes a career backup, then it might not be the end of the world. QB Matt Cassel sat behind Matt Leinart at USC. Currently, Cassel backs up Tom Brady. Now, this is a rare occasion, but an important precedent to show that life as a career backup can indeed become a career.

However, with all the emphasis being on football, remember that Henton is still a college student. Remember that when various fans say he's stupid for not transferring. Not too get too preachy, but perhaps Henton just likes it here. Being 6'2" his NFL prospects for quarterbacking are slim to nil (to say nothing of his talent, which has yet to even be tapped). He might as well enjoy his college life regardless of if his future lies in football or not.
Rather than eat fortune cookies and read Tarot cards, Henton should stick to the gridiron and focus on playing well. He has precious few opportunities to prove himself now before Pryor-mania, and he should concentrate on these practices and worry about the future later. If he plays well in spring, the rest will work itself out. High scouting marks do not mean success: remember that Justin Zwick was also hailed as the savior and Troy Smith a mere "athlete."

On a much sadder vein, the Dispatch also acknowledged that Buckeyes wideout Dan Potokar's cancer did not respond well to treatment. I met Potokar last year and found his smiling enthusiasm was instantly apparent and appreciated. Ohio State is lucky to have Potokar on the team, and I certainly hope the best for Potokar and those close to him.

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1 comment:

Ridebuyer said...

well played, sir