The Choice is Clear

By Kyle Rowland on October 30, 2012 at 5:00p

Endorsements from prominent individuals and newspapers are highly coveted during election season. On Monday, Braxton Miller may have received his biggest of the year, from head coach Urban Meyer. 

A vote for Braxton Miller.

It may have taken nine games, but the Ohio State head coach is now onboard.

The discussions involving Miller and the Heisman Trophy began after he broke the Ohio State single-game rushing record for a quarterback in the season opener. Quite a way for a quarterback to get his feet wet in the debut game in Meyer’s offense.

But Meyer wasn’t buying the hype then and he scoffed at the idea as recently as two weeks ago. The ice was finally broken at his weekly press conference Monday when asked about it.

“When I get asked a question like that, I give my honest answer,” Meyer said. “Do I believe he’s a Heisman candidate?  I do. I didn’t say that before. But I do believe Braxton is a Heisman candidate.”

If any coach knows what it takes to win the bronze statue, it is Meyer. He’s coached one winner and three additional top-five finishers.

The similarities between Meyer’s other Heisman finalists – Tim Tebow and Alex Smith – and Miller are striking. All three are quarterbacks that have put up gaudy statistics in an offense tailored to their strengths. They also happen to be the heart and soul of the offense.

Miller has completed more than 56 percent of his passes for 1,527 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s also run for 12 touchdowns and tallied 1,093 rushing yards. Miller’s 2,620 total offensive yards rank 10th in the country.

Still, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has emerged as the front-runner for the award.

“I watched that Kansas State quarterback, and he’s a great player,” Meyer said.

USA Today and CBS Sports each release a weekly Heisman update. Miller had ranked as high as second, but he has since dropped to third in the USA Today poll and fourth by CBS. Klein is first in both.

Miller will have an opportunity to catch up. If Ohio State finishes the season undefeated, he’ll likely garner a number of votes by simply playing on one of the best teams. But games against Wisconsin and Michigan will also draw millions of eyes. Good performances translate into national acclaim.

“He has to play much better,” Meyer said. “However, just from sheer production of a team that's 9-0, it puts him in that category.”

Penn State tried to catch the Griffin and OSU off guard.

Master Motivator

Black Stripe. The Victory Meal. Bloody Tuesday.

Most of Meyer’s motivational tools have been known. But even as the season stretches into November, new things are being learned.

For instance, defensive back and special teams ace Adam Griffin won the scarlet shirt last week for the second time this season. The award goes to the player who gives the best effort.

“It just lets you know that all the hard work you put in throughout practice and throughout camp is paying off,” Griffin said.

He earned the distinction when he helped stop a Penn State fake punt in the third quarter of the Buckeyes’ 35-23 win. Meyer referred to the play as the game’s turning point.

But Griffin actually made a mistake at the beginning of the play.

“I was supposed to get us into a check on defense,” he said. “My job on that play was to not let the (gunner) get a hit on Corey (Brown) so he could go block the punt. But the guy that was supposed to hit Corey just released for a pass, so I turned and ran and covered him. As soon as he free-released down the field, I thought, ‘Aw, man, they’re definitely faking this.’”

They did, but Griffin’s heads-up play kept the Nittany Lions from converting the fake.

“That’s great that they think it was the play of the game, but it was just a small play I had to make to do my job,” Griffin said. “I was just fired up to make a play to help our team win.”

Ohio State took possession of the ball on the short side of the 50 and scored a touchdown to take a 21-10 lead. Penn State would never get closer than 11 points the rest of the game.

Roby has solidified himself as one of the nation's top corners.

Manic Monday

Monday was an awards-heavy day for the Ohio State football team. Along with Miller, who received a key endorsement in the Heisman race, several other Buckeyes were named semifinalists for national awards.

But linebacker Ryan Shazier actually won one. Wearing the No. 48 to honor a late friend, Shazier had eight tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception return at Penn State to win Big Ten co-defensive player of the week honors.

“It’s a major honor because I’ve been fighting my entire life to be one of the greatest players out there,” Shazier said. “I’m going to keep grinding, keep doing what I can to show everybody how good I am.”

Miller was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the most outstanding player in college football; Johnathan Hankins was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is awarded to the outstanding defensive player; Bradley Roby was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the best defensive back in college football.

Miller is sixth in the nation in offensive yards per game and leads the Big Ten in rushing. He’s just the third Big Ten quarterback to gain 1,000 rushing yards in a season, joining Denard Robinson and Antwaan Randle El.

Four Buckeyes have won the Maxwell Award: Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (1955), Bob Ferguson (1961), Archie Griffin (1975) and Eddie George (1995). 

Hankins is third on the team with 46 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. He also blocked a field goal against Purdue. Hankins tied a career high with 10 tackles against UAB.

No Buckeye has ever won the Bednarik Award.

Roby leads the nation with 18 passes defended and 16 broken up. He has two interceptions on the season, including a pick-six against Nebraska. Roby has two additional touchdowns this season – he recovered a fumbled punt snap against Miami (Ohio) and recovered a blocked punt in the end zone at Indiana. Roby had a season-high nine tackles and a blocked punt at Michigan State.

On the season, Roby has a team-high eight champion performances.

Antoine Winfield, in 1998, and Malcolm Jenkins, in 2008, are the only former Buckeyes to win the award.



Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Nicely done Buckeyes!!!  Nicely done!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Doc's picture

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time we weren't talking about national awards for the team, or any individuals.  This is what good coaching and a lot of hard work does.  Good job Fellas!

I'm hiding baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

buckeyepastor's picture

No doubt he deserves to be in the top 5.  I think it's Klein's award to lose, at this point.   As great as Miller has been, Klein has been a little better, and against slightly better teams.   Klein shredded Oklahoma and a pretty stingy Texas Tech defense.   He also gutted WV like a fish, but though their team is ranked their defense is awful.    Miller should be in NYC in December.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Miller is definitely top five Heisman material - and he will get the invitation to the Downtown Athletic Club.  Book it.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Doc you said it all in that first sentence."What a difference a year makes." Last year if you were on this site telling everyone, "don't worry because next year Urban Meyer will be leading the Buckeyes." "Well have a real chance at going undefeated." "Braxton Miller will be in the running for a Heisman." " Roby will be a top pass defender." etc. etc. You would have been declared a troll and been beaten severely with the BanHammer!!! What a difference a year makes.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

BoFuquel's picture

Brax is gonna finish 3rd, Te'o wins AJ 2nd.K-State will run into some unforseen problems somewhere.Bama will thump ND in the NC game.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

cbusbuckeye's picture

Te'o isn't winning. ND will lose to USC and his campaign will be over

osu07asu10's picture

Te'o doesn't have as good of stats as Shazier, let alone the best statistics for a linebacker in the nation. I certainly understand the award is about more than stats, and that leadership is taken into account. However, I believe for a defensive player to be considered/win the Heisman, they need to have eye popping gawdy stats and Te'o doesn't and won't have those.

It's a nice story, but he won't win. I still think Optimus Klein takes it, with Braxton finishing 2nd.


Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Optimus Klein wins it.  Only because after THE GAME, Miller will be sidelined for the remainder of the season while Klien will still have ATLEAST a Conference Championship game for all to see.  Its unfortunate for XBRAX...he is DEFINATELY the better overall player. 

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

noahzhang's picture

Actually the Big 12 doesn't have a conference championship game this year.

Boxley's picture

Uhhhmmm, the voting for the Heisman is prior to the major bowl games, so Klien's performance in a bowl game would not factor.
However I do agree it is Klien's to lose at this point.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

buckeye76BHop's picture

I'm not so sure ND will lose or not to USC especially if they get blown out this weekend against Oregon (and USC very well could).  I can see these five being there; C. Klein, M. Te'o, K. Barner, AJ. McCarron, and our own B. Miller.  That will be how the voting goes as well unless something major happens with one of may be an undefeated season or not.  Personally I don't see any other team and it's leader who have plowwed through their schedule so far then KSU (and I don't see that stopping anytime, not even this weekend against the Cow-pokes).  Klein wins it hands down IMHO.  I thought this after week 7 when he accounted for "7" of his teams TDs (4 rushing and 3 passing...and had over 300 yards passing). Just a little impressive at any level of football...have to admit.   

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

ziplock007's picture

Gotta love Tress
Always did, always will... Let's not forget he won bowl games (minus 2 of 3 NCG), and dominated the B1G AND Michigan.
But, I just know former offensive guys like Boeckmann, Beanie, Pryor, Ginn Jr., and many many more are jealously saying things like

  • 'where was that O-line when I needed it'
  • 'Wish we had Herman... might have been drafted higher'
  • 'They do so with so little, sort of the opposite of... Damn you Bollman!!!!'

Looking back at all that NFL talent on offense (and defense), Tressel could've Sabanesque if he only had an effective offense instead of... Damn you Bollman!!!

sir rickithda3rd's picture

Once urbz gets all his horses here its over for the nation. He's already winning in the big

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Boxley's picture

So, apparently this guy Meyer, can actually coach up guys to their potential? Who would ever have thought that?
This also means the cupboard was not left empty for him to start with either. So, apparently that guy Tressel could recruit too, hmmm.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

MAVBuck's picture

Lets hope we see the #5 retired in the ring of honor in a few years

osubuckeye4life's picture

Posluszny won it twice! Was it 06 or 07 that Lauranitus got robbed? Both years? Granted, he won a ton of hardware. I still find it crazy he didn't win the Bendarik. I find it crazy no buckeye has ever won the Bendarik award yet 4 PSU players have.