More than a year ago, Tyler Tettleton was in a three-man battle for the starting quarterback job of the Ohio Bobcats. Today he became the program’s all-time passing touchdown leader when the ‘Cats hosted the Zips of Akron.
Tettleton surpassed Boo Jackson’s 38 career touchdown mark with a 13-yard pass to Donte Foster. He is also on pace to pass Sammy Shon for most passing yards in school history.
Since Tettleton has been named the starter, two things have become apparent. The first is that Tettleton is a great quarterback. The second is that despite success, Tettleton is remarkably humble; never taking the credit for his successes and always remaining focused on winning the next game.
“At the end of the year, we can talk about it (individual success) and reflect on all the stats and all that stuff but right now were just focusing on winning,” Tettleton said.
Head coach Frank Solich surprised some (but not all) with his decision to name Tettleton the starter during the summer of 2011, but Tettleton has proven Solich right and then some. Solich describes Tettleton as the ideal quarterback.
“He’s got the whole package. He’s got the ability to run. He’s got the ability to throw,” Solich said. “He’s what you look for.”Solich awarded Tettleton some playing time as a true freshman but Tettleton struggled mightily, completing just nine passes and throwing two interceptions. He did not throw a touchdown pass. Solich believes this experience gave Tettleton a great skill.
“He just goes right on to the next play, and that’s something we’ve tried to work very hard on getting everyone in our program to do. He’s a great example of that to our team.”
It’s more than the physical package that makes Tettleton so special. Solich credits Tettleton’s leadership and toughness as the most important skills in regard to the team’s success and his shattering of Ohio records.
“He’s not a loud individual. You don’t hear him out there yelling and screaming and jumping up and down and I think players appreciate that. They know he’s a very business-like guy and that’s what has been able to help him produce the kind of statistics that he’s produced,” Solich said.
Point is, Tettleton, a junior is already the greatest player in program history. Fittingly, he took sole possession of the passing touchdown record during Saturday’s homecoming game, with some alumni in the stands.
An alumni who won’t be present on Saturday, but will be watching from his California home, is the aforementioned Jackson. He’s believed that Tettleton would re-write the record books since the first time he met him in 2009.
“I already knew the potential he had, the extreme focus he had on the game his workout capabilities, his leadership roles. I mean even as a sophomore he was a leader for the sophomore guys. Even a couple of the older guys looked to him for comfort and leadership,” Jackson said.
After a year playing wide receiver and quarterback for the Marion Blue Racers, Jackson went home to help out coaching at his local high school, even helping to implement Ohio’s fast-paced no-huddle spread attack. Unlike Tettleton, Jackson did not have the benefit of playing in this pass happy attack, but he certainly tried to get Solich to make the switch. Jackson admittedly is a little jealous of Tettleton’s fortune.
“I was trying to push for it the two years I got there, but it didn’t work at as well. they didn’t really have the capabilities to get down to Troy, getting to the people they did to confront them about the offense and how they run and being able to implement it during the two years I actually played,” Jackson said. “They actually implemented it the year after I leave, yeah so he’s getting all the love now.”
Jackson believes that even if he had the same playbook as Tettleton, that even with his dynamic receiving core of Taylor Price, LaVon Brazill, Terrence McCrae, Steven Goulet and Riley Dunlop he wouldn’t have put up stats that Tettleton wouldn’t surpass.
“Honestly he’s a better quarterback than I am, I saw glimpses of that when I sat out a year with my labrum tear. When he came in I already knew the potential that he had, I already knew he was going to be great,” Jackson said.