Troy Smith to Start for the 49ers!

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This Sunday, Troy Smith will take the first snap for the San Francisco 49ers against the Broncos—in London, of all places, which is either fate or simply a very bizarre place to play a football game. After starting QB Alex Smith separated his shoulder, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary (more evidence of the hand of fate) bypassed second-string QB in favor of the third-string Smith.

Hans Hetrick

For Buckeye fans, Troy Smith’s two-and-a-half years as Ohio State’s starting quarterback is etched into the apple-sized football part of our brains with a laser. During his 2006 Hiesman Trophy season, the Buckeye offense was a clock. They ticked their their way down the field to 450 points without a hitch, scoring a red-zone touchdown 78% of the time. And when the clock slowed down, Troy danced around a couple of defenders, ran to the back of clock, and wound the offense up. He always made the right decision.

He could adjust and change his plans inside of one stride. He was well spoken. He threw a beautiful spiral. He had ice in his veins. In fact, he was 11-2 against ranked teams and 3-0 against Michigan. His nickname was the “Wolverine Killer”. Buckeye fans, let’s unite, watch one of our favorite sons, and send some good vibrations to him over the pond.

We haven’t seen much of Troy since he left Columbus. He started twice for a conservative Ravens offense and put up some ho-hum stats. But he still carried himself with the same ease and confidence he had inside the Horseshoe. He didn’t make a bad decisions, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Smith might not be stepping into the greatest situation this Sunday in London. The 49ers, a surprisingly tough team in 2009, are in the cellar of the NFC West with a 1-6 record. Singletary is not your run-of-the-mill, Xs and Os, brainiac, modern-day NFL coach. He makes wild decisions based on gut feelings and a genuine heartfelt love and loyalty to the players on his team. With his team struggling and back to the wall, Mike might not be completely clear headed.

This week’s practice marked the 1st snap Troy has taken with the first team offense. Many NFL pundits are calling Singletary’s decision a last gasp for a drowning team. Smith, “doesn’t have a strong arm and at barely 6-feet tall has trouble finding throwing lanes”. But they don’t know Troy like we do. They don’t know how crafty he can be. They didn’t watch him spin out of the arms of a Penn State lineman and throw a 60-yard bullet to Brian Robiske streaking across the endzone. They haven’t seen him cooly pick apart Michigan’s defense in a 42-39 thriller.

Smith is one of the few quarterbacks that began as a dual-threat quarterback and transformed himself into a pure passer. After watching him evolve into a smart and confident man at Ohio State, it’s hard for Buckeye fans to believe he can’t figure it out the NFL.

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