Breaking Bad

By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 11, 2013 at 11:15a
[clockwise from top left] OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH and OUCH

Braxton Miller will soon be playing football again instead of watching it from the sideline.

Once he returns to live action he is bound to get hit hard, because that is what defenses do to quarterbacks. Miller might have to leave the game again for a spell while all of us hold our collective breath.

He will eventually return. Later on, perhaps not until the game that follows, all of that same drama will repeat itself. This should all seem somewhat familiar to Buckeye fans by now.

Call it an unfair prediction or an educated guess based on ample precedent, but Miller's durability is a topic because his frequent game exits have forced it to become one.

We now understand there are three unique sides to the Buckeyes' enigmatic star quarterback: Off the field and behind the microphone there's the almost-robotic anti-Manziel who is no threat to embarrass himself or the university. He's boring. You're okay with it.

On the field and under behind center there's the athletic freak show with video game ability that led to him winning the Big Ten's highest individual honor as a sophomore.

This is the side of Miller you saw on all of those preseason magazine covers. He's as captivating as off-the-field Braxton is dull. You're okay with that side too.

The third side is what you see pictured above being attended to by staff on various stadium floors. Last year in East Lansing he thought he felt something in his knee and proceeded to drop a live ball on the turf without being touched.

It turned out to be nothing and he finished the game. A quick, fortunate whistle prevented the Spartans from scoring what could have been the decisive touchdown. Three weeks later he hit the ground hard against Purdue following a long run and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He turned out to be fine.

As a freshman in 2011 he went down awkwardly at Nebraska and had to leave the game with a comfortable lead, which of course resulted in Joe Bauserman's infamous night of inexplicable Jim Bollman pass-happy infamy.

Miller was back a year later for the revenge game with the Huskers and was tackled from behind following a long run. A similar play occurred against Michigan in the finale on the same side of Ohio Stadium. In both instances his spectacular long runs were punctuated by being gingerly led to the bench afterward.

Unfortunately, Miller's third side is this one we're stuck discussing while Kenny Guiton continues to unleash his cruel efficiency all over Ohio State's unprepared opponentry.

As the exits accumulate, Miller solidifies his reputation as the Buckeyes' Italian sports car: When he's not impressing the hell out of everybody he's in the shop for repairs lesser cars don't usually need. National pundits haven't taken to calling him Breakston yet, probably because they're too enamored by his two other sides.

Or perhaps they're just distracted by Guiton, who appears to be the Buckeyes' Toyota: Not all that sexy, but reliably operational. He played hurt for most of Saturday.

So the debate has been simplified: Is Miller's threshold for physical pain too low, or is he - as his teammates and coaches have insisted - actually tougher than he appears when he's routinely exiting games with non-or-slight injuries?

The answer might actually be more about us than it is about Miller. Look at Archie in the 1976 Rose Bowl:

The only one to win two

For those of you too young to remember this game (I'm one of you) that left hand cradling the ball is broken. There's no invisible cast covering it; that's how he played.

Griffin fractured it on the first drive diving to recover a pitch from Corny Greene that didn't quite go where it was supposed to. He played the entire game, rushing for 93 yards on 17 carries - and he definitely felt it. Broken bones have a way of drawing your attention.

You're probably old enough to remember Luke Fickell playing in the Rose Bowl 21 years later with a torn pectoral muscle. It was completely detached, gruesomely hanging inside his chest cavity rendering him a one-armed defensive lineman.

He played the entire game that way but had to miss all of those senior showcase games later in January. His teammate and game MVP Joe Germaine led the Buckeyes on the game-winning drive with his chin split open.

A year later Germaine could have filed assault charges against Florida State defensive end Andre Wadsworth in the Sugar Bowl. But he kept picking his battered body up off the Superdome concrete and kept leading the team.

The list of unbreakable Buckeyes could fill a Jack Park encyclopedia, and it does: Derek Isaman, like Archie, played with broken bones. He also sparred with Mike Tyson when Mike Tyson was Mike Tyson. Antoine Winfield gave up pounds and inches to everyone he ever faced and still got the best of them.

Craig Krenzel took monster hits and always popped up from them quickly. Troy Smith routinely absorbed beatings that probably rearranged his organs, but they only seemed to make him play better.

The under-appreciated Terrelle Pryor played injured (not hurt) regularly and wore one of Ohio State's greatest poker faces in holding back even the hint of a grimace. His worst injury came toward the end of the 2011 Sugar Bowl when he took damage to ligaments in his foot and ankle that was serious enough to require surgery.

OUCHBeanie Wells writhing in pain. Not an isolated occurrence.

Trainers taped up Pryor's ankle and he finished the game on one leg. For the second BCS bowl victory in a row he was Ohio State's MVP. He could not walk on his own, but he still played.

So is Miller's threshold for physical pain low? It's quite possible our threshold for tolerating his pain has been unfairly distorted by the freaks that preceded him.

We love our warriors. We worship at the altar of the tough guy, be it one-armed Fickell wreaking havoc on Arizona State's offensive line or Germaine throwing touchdown passes while covered in his own blood.

Archie was targeted and arguably took more hits than anyone in school history, and he played his final game as a Buckeye with that broken hand. If he can do it, anyone can. Right?

Miller isn't just felled by run-of-the-mill ouchies as it seems to some. It might just be that those guys capable of playing through significant physical trauma are the true freaks. They're the exception, not the standard for athletes. But for us, they're the standard. That's what we expect.

Beanie Wells was the last Buckeye star who seemed to be dinged up more often than we would prefer. He'd tweak his ankle, dent his shoulder, bang his arm and would have to exit games a little too often for our demanding tastes. That was the tradeoff for having Beanie's ridiculous talent

He once pulled a hamstring jumping over a player while covering 16 feet in distance. Beanie can't do super-human things without hurting his hammy? What is he, mortal?

What's confounding for us with Miller is that he's actually at his most human when we witness him in pain. The robotic, boring kid behind the microphone and the clairvoyant conductor of Ohio State's offense both appear to be neither mortal nor human.

Miller is actually at his most human when we witness him in pain.Miller just can't find it in himself to be exactly we expect: The uncompromising fulfillment of our immortal offseason fantasy. He's probably not going to play with blood gushing out of his chin or with a pectoral muscle flapping around in his chest. And that's just the beginning of what he's not going to do.

Miller is also not going to play with an unprotected broken hand, nor is he going to say or do something off the field that will make you cringe. He won't errantly launch 10 clock-stopping passes into the stands with a three-touchdown lead, he has zero chance of losing his competitive edge and he will never, ever become comfortable with exiting a game prematurely.

He will also never buy into the idea that an Ohio State loss is inevitable. Not while he's there, anyway.

Because that's who Miller is. He's the quarterback who isn't content to just be an efficient game manager. He's also a guy who often tries to do it all because he knows - just like you - that he's capable of doing it. Sometimes it gets him hurt.

There are three sides to this kid, and they cannot be separated from each other. It was a package deal from the outset. You have to take them all.

That's who the Buckeyes are stuck with at star quarterback. You should be okay with it.


Comments Show All Comments

rekrul's picture

Great article and I also think people are overly critical of Braxton and his history with injuries, there is a reason anytime he goes down the saying "Holding our collective breath" rings true.  It is because he can carry a team not just manage it.
In other news...

Not a huge Kobe fan but I liked this...

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

TheBadOwl's picture

I've dislocated my shoulder three times, it's no joke. One of the most painful things you can experience.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

rekrul's picture

This was more to show levels of pain different people can endure and poke a little fun at the not so injured players...

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

SPreston2001's picture

I know people like to make fun of Lebron but he's probably one of the most durable athletes in the game! The dude is built like a tank and trains like a beast!!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

 The dude is built like a tank and trains like a beast!!

And flops like a fish.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

kmp10's picture

ONLY to prove one of the points of the article let me say this: I've dislocated my right shoulder multiple times (read 10+). While the dislocation isn't comfortable, it is not, FOR ME, one of the most painful things I've ever felt. It most certainly hurts... but it's manageable pain until it can be put back into place (if that doesn't take too terribly long). The meniscus I tore in my knee hurt me more, initially, than the dislocation. The disks I've herniated in my back hurt far worse than the dislocated shoulder. I'm only posting this to point out that what is "one of the most painful things you can experience" to one man is not necessarily so to another. All of us have our own pain thresholds, and I don't know if Braxton's threshold is low, or if he's simply an injury prone player. Some guys get hurt more often than others. I was (and still am as an older guy) one of those people. Is it bad luck or cheap parts? Who knows. But there is no denying that Miller, from high school thru this his junior year in college, is one of the injury prone. 

jamesh111's picture

I to have dislocated my shoulders and have had multiple surgeries. The most painful thing I think is the doctors drilling the bones and pounding  anchor in to have something to tie the muscles and ligaments back with. The best part is when the guy that has only had to have teeth cleaned says your don't need those pain killers, be a man. FU! let me drill your bones and see how it feels. You can only understand pain if you feel pain. 

Needless to say I have some unusual habits, yet all these socially acceptable people can't wait to pick up hammers and smash their food to bits. Normal people are so hostile.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Paul Pierce should have been suspended for that. :/

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

zebiraross's picture

All good points, and even though it's annoying ill gladly deal with it. I love that UFM sat him the rest of the game. I think he sat him because of legit concern of his health, and because obviously we didn't need him. But at the same time, Braxton saw KG step in and not miss a beat. Considering the staff could keep KG in if Braxton goes down again he might think twice before overacting to a injury. Even the coaching staff hinted towards Braxtons low pain tolerance last year after Purdue.


droessl's picture

Great stuff as usual. What stood out to me the most was this:

It might just be that those guys capable of playing through significant physical trauma are the true freaks. They're the exception, not the standard for athletes. But for us, they're the standard. That's what we expect.

BenArazi4's picture

Its not that those guys are true freaks.  We can endure more pain than we think, we can go harder than we think, we can bounce right back up from what we think is impossible to get up from.  Fine, if you have a medical condition, Braxton doesn't.  Its a mindset, like Urban said, its whether you tap out or not.  Those guys aren't freaks, they're just mentally tough (and yes they're freaks.. physically).  We were all born the same way, when we hit our head we cried as toddlers, some parents yelled at you for crying, some caressed you even though you were more scared than anything else, some learned to deal with it and keep trucking, some wanted to quit when they jammed their thumb.  In football some guys are throwing up while they're running and some can't hack it to run to where they throw up.  Its called mental toughness.  That's why in the military they say boot camp is 80% mental and 20% physical.  Some guys go through with some serious injuries and still make it through, that's why some of the most mentally tough men in the world are in special ops.  I'm sorry but as someone who's coach used to run us till we almost dropped, played sports with multiple injuries and went through boot camp, Braxton does just not have that mental toughness.  Say what you want but I'm sure some will understand what I'm talking about.




yrro's picture

I'm going to have to disagree with that one. Child birth is universally described as the most painful experience possible. My wife, who is in no way particularly mentally tough, said it really wasn't that bad at all. She said that stubbing her toe was on par in terms of actual pain.
Stubbing your toe is on par with childbirth... I think that's a difference of experience.
Moreover, this tough guy mentality doesn't always make sense when you're talking about a football game. Look at RGIII - yeah, it's great he wanted to tough it out and play in the playoffs, but he was ineffective, injured his knee worse, and may have messed up their next season in the process. Sometimes you need to live to fight another day. We remember the warriors who won their gamble - what about the one who lost?
Especially at quarterback. Throwing a ball is one of the most complex motions you can make a person. I can't count the number of interceptions thrown by a QB with a bad hand/knee/shoulder because they tried to tough it out.
So, I'm ok with Braxton letting the medical staff determine if he's going to mess something up worse, because I care more about having him for the rest of the season than for the rest of the game.

awarren84's picture

I honestly think the biggest issue we as fans have with him is that he has never missed a start...You leave in an ambulance and you are named next weeks starter on Monday? Makes us wonder if it was necessary to leave in that said you can take this 1 of 2 ways.
1. He left in an ambulance and now he's starting the next game...He must be one tough SOB!
2. He left in an ambulance and now he's starting the next game...He must not have been hurt bad enough to need that ambulance.
So nobody can know the pain he goes through...but it is developing into a trend that we as fans are worried could cost us a game, BIG10 title, and or National Championship.

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

hit_the_couch's picture

It's not that he isn't tough; I never played the game but assume pretty much all these kids are tough as it's a violent game. It's that he's the most injury prone and uncertain QB we've seen at tOSU. 

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Or not why the third option?  Braxton Miller was taken to the hospital FOR SAFETY'S SAKE, and thank God, he was alright.
I would not second guess the staff's decision when it comes to making sure our franchise quarterback is absolutely and positively ok.
Take him to the hospital every single time if it is deemed necessary.

I like cookies.

chirobuck's picture

Good big concern for next Guiton


^ best post ever ^

GABuckeye's picture

And replacing 4 starters on the offensive line means Braxton will probably take a few more hits.

nm_buck's picture

Awesome insights.  It's easy to blame a kid for not being tough enough... especially when the team relies on him so much.  I'm guilty as anyone in this.  Thanks for the perspective. 

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

Maestro's picture

I deal with people in pain everyday.  Each person is completely different and one thing I have learned is that no matter how hard I try I can't feel what they feel.  Pain is a tricky thing.

vacuuming sucks

burkmon's picture

Well said, Maestro.  I thought childbirth was bad until I had surgery on my big toe to remove a cyst.  No lie.  I thought I was dying everytime I had to lower my foot to walk  hobble somewhere.
Great article, Ramzy!  Thank you for putting this into perspective for all of us.


gobucks96's picture

Whatever. I played thru a hangnail and only cried twice...

gobucks96's picture

And all joking aside... I am not joking about the pain of childbirth.

Ahh Saturday's picture

I don't know why people make such a big deal about childbirth. I've been through it twice, and although my wife screamed like a little girl, I didn't feel a thing. 

gobucks96's picture

Lol.. My fingers took months to receiver while my wife squeezed them before she got an Eli.... And it hurt too!

Poison nuts's picture

Good stuff Maestro.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

biggy84's picture

With all the vitriol that is/was thrown at TP, i think his dedication to tOSU is overlooked. I had forgotten that he had to be carried to the podium to celebrate the win in the Sugar Bowl. Excellent article.

XUbuckeye's picture

Great read as always Ramzy. I think we as fans sometimes come to expect that athletes will be able to play through extreme injuries or pain, when in reality everyone handles it differently.

"So when you get knocked on your butt, get up, get over it, and then next time, kick their ass." - Woody Hayes 


I've felt all along that XBrax is just one big walking/running bullseye. Opposing defenses know (as Purdue showed last year) that if they knock him out it could adversely affect the flow of the game so naturally they're going to look to hit him hard if they get the chance. They know that might be the only way they're really going to beat us.
I have never ONCE felt Miller was being soft. Coach Meyer says he is "fearless." Unfortunately that tag comes with a price. He's not built like a Diesel or a Curtis Grant where he could probably take a little more abuse. Add to the fact that he is just so damned fast that the collision is going to be greater as well.
I am hopeful that the SDSU game showed that Kenny G can at least keep our offense in a good place when/if Miller gets dinged up. The question is what will happen if Braxton is knocked out of a big game? Can Kenny G deliver under those circumstances? I want to believe he can. I do have a feeling we're going to find out.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

BuckeyeSouth's picture

All good points.  I would put last year's Purdue game in the "big game" category, not so much that they were equally talented, but it became a big game due to the circumstances in which he had to operate.  At least to me, that game showed that KG could be the starting quarterback and we'd still perform at a very high level.  I know my expectations for the team wouldn't change with him in charge.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

rdubs's picture

It's funny to talk about a guy's durability who has never missed a start in his career due to injury.  He has missed significant time and even important significant time.  But for a guy who seems to always makes it back out the next week, there is a lot of hand-wringing over his durability.

chitown buckeye's picture

I agree he is always there to start the game. However, I would ask the question, can he be counted on for a full game? I can't confidently say he will play the entire game from week to week. Just because you make it back to "start" the game doesnt make you durable.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

biggy84's picture

I read an article in the Plain Dealer that stated he has left 6 games in his time at tOSU. I'm not judging him, just an interesting stat.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Still a huge Braxton Miller fan. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

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

Buckeye Black's picture

Hopefully you don't receive the comments I did when I brought this up last Saturday.

hit_the_couch's picture

Pain is mental, just gotta shut it off. I tore my hip flexor in a h.s. soccer game as the keeper (soccer players occasionally do get hurt). I stayed in and finished the game, couldn't kick with my left leg and kept the shut out against a good team then walked, if that's what one would call it, off the field under my own power.
Miller's a tough kid, but i'm sure some of this stuff is more precautionary than anything since he's pretty much the most important player on the field. I know he had some issues in h.s. too; in some situations he may need to try to man up a little more, if he hasn't already.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

okaycody's picture

Eleven warriors - where being a rabid fan and logical human, happens.

cbusbuckeye's picture

From what Meyer said post game it sounded like Braxton was begging to go back in and was held out. My crazy conspiracy theory on Urbans decision was that it was twofold, 1. hold Braxton out just in case, because we really didn't need him in order to win, and 2. show him that Kenny G is perfectly capable of running the offense in his absence in hopes of motivating Braxton to elevate his game/toughen up and not miss any more time. 

NorthernOhioBuckeye's picture

I think you are right. I coached for a while myself. One year, I had a kid that was a pretty good ball player but liked to be helped off the field (not sure why, maybe he thought the cheerleaders would feel sorry for him). After about the 2nd time in one game, I wouldn't put him back in. He begged me for about 1/2 of the game before I finally put him back in. He never got injured again. I'm sure he got hurt a few times, but I told the entire team; "There is a difference between hurt and injured. You can play hurt. If you're injured, we'll do something about that." 

Nkohl13's picture

My reaction to seeing our QB go down has really changed. When he would go down in the beginning my reaction was, "Oh shit! The season is ruined. His career might be over. I feel like I'm gonna throw up." Now when he goes down it's, "Dang it." He's pretty much got me used to seeing him come back after the next couple plays. Plus if he doesn't I'm not too worried about Guition having a problem.

chitown buckeye's picture

This is exactly how I have reacted as well. He has trained  me to plan on him being out for a few plays, rest of game, or be back to start the following week.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

INTLBUCK's picture

Excellent, excellent article.  Thank you for helping to bring this perspective.  Most of us have never "walked a mile" in Braxton's shoes, so all the criticism is pretty over the top.
On a different note, does any one else, in spite of our love and loyalty to Braxton, feel for Kenny G, hoping that he maybe gets enough of an opportunity and "eyes on him" to possibly get a shot at the next level?  Is that possible?

M Man's picture

I began the year by suggesting that the big difference in personnel, between Micihgan and OSU, was Kenny Guiton.  A personnel difference that went in OSU's favor.  I hope that both Guiton and Gardner are healthy in November.  But mostly, I hope Gardner is healthy.
Is Cardale Jones being redshirted?  Shane Morris' redshirt is burned.  He played in garbage-time versus Central Michigan.

hit_the_couch's picture

Jones was in the same class as Miller. 3 years ago Jones was grayshirted and sent to Fork Union. He came in officially on the 2012 class where he was red shirted; he should now be considered a red shirt frosh or soph(?); It's basically a Todd Boeckman repeat scenario.
You guys have to have Morris going; if I remember right, Bellomy tore his ACL, so there's nothing much if DG gets hurt.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

M Man's picture

Oh gosh I feel as... well, as stupid as a Michigan fan on an OSU board, for not knowing about Jones' redshirt year.
And yes you are totally correct about Michigan's crucial need to keep Devin Gardner healthy.  It is not an overstatement to me to say that Michigan's season depends upon it.  Yes, Russell Bellomy is out for the year with an ACL.  Yes, true freshman Shane Morris is the backup.  Yes, Shane's redshirt was promptly burned in the first game of the year, which tells you something about depth at that position.  And yes, Morris has a lot to catch up on since he was not an early-enrollee (coming out of Warren De LaSalle, which has no academic accommodation for early-departure graduates).
Morris looked decent, I'll say, in his few unremarkable series against Central Michigan.  Physically, he looks older than a freshman.  The tools are there.  The arm is rather amazing.  But he's a freshman.  A freshman QB.  Even the very best freshman QB's have issues.

Larryp713's picture

Cardale has already redshirted. I think they left Guiton in the game to get him as many reps as possible. Even to the last series, Coach was working with him on passes down field, recognizing coverages (Meyer almost came out of his shoes when Kenny missed Devin Smith on that deep pass).



causeicouldntgo43's picture

Up vote for using red font....

ep's picture

It seems that most of Braxton's injury scares are knee-related, minus Purdue last year.  I think they get a little more precaution than say, a shoulder, or even and ankle injury would.

Poison nuts's picture

This is a great point. Save for Purdue & the water cooler stand head-bonk at MSU, many of his injuries are related to his knees. Since most of his game has to do with the freakish ability to run & cut better than almost any human alive, I'd say it's valid to have him out if there are knee concerns...the things he does best are completely related to his legs/knees.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

iloveu2chris's picture

Great article, its tough sometimes I torn my rotor and most of the time it was hurting but sometimes you reach for something and DA#N you really feel it. I guess as long as he keeps coming back and he have Kenny G OSU will be good.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I'm just glad we have Kenny G to take charge when Braxton goes out.

boojtastic's picture

Braxton is the hero we need. Not the hero we deserve...or something.
I guess what I'm saying is that he's Batman.

jthiel09's picture

Just saw a design for a Braxton's jersey for the Michigan game this year ...


4thandinches's picture

I think Miller is a little more cautious than we think he should be. What I mean by this is that he may take something little or small and not want to push his limits and make it worse. He feels if he can stay off of it for a minute or two he can get a better picture of how bad it really is. Better to go off the field for something small than to stay on th field and make something small worse.  

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

Larryp713's picture

Great article, well stated description of the enigma that is number 5.
I personally think that Braxton is terrified of having a serious injury, and so when something is not right (and as an incredible athlete, he knows when his body is not behaving) he is cautious, makes sure that he can trust everything before getting back into it. That is not to say he can't take the pain, he is just being cautious. This goes along with side 1, that carefully crafted non-football Tressel Jr in front of the media and fans. I can respect this.
The fact that he was begging to play with a huge knee brace on, in a game that was well in hand, shows what a competitor he is. I think he can and would play with pain if he was allowed to. In fact, the way he goes, he probably plays hurt a lot more often than we know.
I do wonder one thing, though. Watching Dontre Wilson take some great shots and pop back up, it seems to me that he knows how to go with the hit, preventing torque on joints and other parts of his body. This instinct, to relax your body as it is being knocked in another direction, is a great talent for football players and other athletes. I think Braxton and Beanie, even TP, had problems rolling with the hits, and instead, offering resistance that exacerbated many impacts. Just a theory, but it would explain some of this.



cbusbuckeye's picture

You're exactly right IMO, Braxton knows he's one bad knee twist from never playing football again and is aware that his style of play makes an injury such as that more likely.  It's frustrating to see him leave what seems like every game but I can understand why he does it. 
I also agree that he's a tremendous competitor and if the B1G or Natl Championship is on the line he would be staying in until they have to cart him off. 

lsjSnail's picture

Braxton spinning every time he is tackled really screws with his lower body. He needs to learn how to go down for sure.

BenArazi4's picture

Maybe to a degree Dontre may know how to avoid hits better than Braxton but its all toughness!  Pain is mental, Dontre's just a tough kid, cause I've seen him take some shots already, some kids can hack it and some kids can't.




Larryp713's picture

Playing with pain, and playing injured, are two different things. I wouldn't want Braxton to play with a sprained MCL that could heal in a couple of weeks. To do so would expose himself to a more serious injury that could cost him a season. Braxton is a tough kid by all accounts, and since we don't know him personally, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.



Brashbuck's picture

Kenny G rocks, no question.  But it seems to me some fans are getting carried away and are viewing Kenny and Braxton as equivalent.  I don't know what the ceiling is with Kenny at the helm full time, but it feels like something less than 14-0.  IMHO, to have any chance at the MNC, Braxton has to be the QB at least most of the time.

Poison nuts's picture

While I don't view them as equal, I do see Kenny as more of a traditional QB. I think Braxton is possibly the greatest athlete & football player I've ever seen, but I do see value in Kenny G not being such a tremendous athlete, which forces him to be a disciplined QB & execute plays as they were designed. The fact that he can't just take off if needed, makes him more prone to a more disciplined approach. Which one is better? Braxton IMHO, but when Kenny comes in, I have total & complete confidence.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Goalscorer9's picture

Oh Goodness, a T-bone analogy made it on 11 warriors.  He's going to be so proud....

Goalscorer9's picture

Maurice Clarrett was another one that always seemed to be dinged up.

Menexenus's picture

Was thinking the same thing. 

Real fans stay for Carmen.

SPreston2001's picture

Lol the dude was a starting running back at 18 yrs old with a freshman body lol. He got dinged up but to take that kind of punishment right out the gate your freshman year is easier said than done!!

Ahh Saturday's picture

For whatever reasons, at this point in his career, it is clear that Braxton gets hurt, and there's nothing we can do about it.  My biggest worry isn't that he's going to miss parts of games (clearly he will), but rather that he will begin to change the way he plays to avoid injuries.  When injuries get in your head, you cannot compete at your best.

fear_the_nut70's picture

As I sit at a desk everyday (and as such, my most serious risk is carpal tunnel syndrome), I will not criticize players who are exposed to violence I can only imagine.  Still, comparing Xbrax to other football players, it would indeed appear he has a low pain threshold. 
Whether that is true or not, my issue is why a designed run was called for him in a game we most likely were going to win by 4 td's?  Far be it for me to criticize Frank who has two rings (I have one, but my h.s. class ring carries much less cachet).  But as a fan, I wonder if the above is true, and given that we have a stable of really good backs, maybe designed QB runs should only be called when the game is on the line against an opponent that really could beat us. 
I will never forget Urban's first spring drill where he had Brax and Kenny square off in the circle (UFM later said maybe the head coach has some mental issues half jokingly) and am aware of his "next man up approach," but I have to wonder, shouldn't we be protecting Braxton wherever possible, especially if he has a low pain threshhold as UFM has acknowledged? 
This team isn't like last year's team where Brax had to run over and over to beat a lesser team like Central Florida.  If he really is a better passer and we have a plethora of good to great running backs, why call a qb run against an inferior opponent?

CincyBuckeye04's picture

It's a great question. However, I read somewhere that the play call was actually a pass and Braxton ran because he knew we needed the 1st and it was the only play that was available to him to make at the time. I'll try to find whatever article it was that said it.

fear_the_nut70's picture

I would appreciate that.  It looked to me like a delayed QB draw, but looks can be deceiving. 

CincyBuckeye04's picture

Here you go Fear. It's towards the middle. Meyer is quoted saying it was a pass all the way. I agree with you though. Looked like a run to me, but maybe Braxton had in his head that he was going to do whatever he could to get the 1st with it being 4th down and all.

Jabba the Hoke's picture

My thinking is that if Hyde is playing, he pushes the pile to convert the third down preceding the 4th down play. Just my opinion, but Hyde definitely give us a better chance to convert those 3rd and 3-4 plays.

chitown buckeye's picture

My thoughts on the subject:
Players all have a different threshold of pain and I think the same can be said of us fans in how we define "tough". Everyone has their own definition of "tough." MY definition of "tough" is that of the players you described in the article. Germain bleeding from the chin continuing to play (fight) on. Archie playing with a broken hand, Fickell torn pec, Dustin Fox broken hand, TP. Those players that get up quick from a hard, awkward hit and try to walk it off first before looking for medical attention. The QB's who get hit or taken down hard and hop up and are "begging" for more in a taunting way to the defense that just tried to take their head off. This is how I define "tough."
Sure those guys mentioned in the article and countless others have set the bar high much so the expectations are for everyone to play that way. Physically, all these guys are freaks, Braxton, and every other player but its a mindset that sets those others apart. By my definition, Braxton doesn't fit what I would call tough. That doesn't mean he is a pu$$y, or a million other names he has been called, to me he just doesn't handle hard hits to the level of what I define as tough. He is a strong, fearless runner who will cut the ball up field but if he gets dinged, he is coming out to get it checked on. I'm ok with that, I will take the greatness he brings to the playing field and hope he doesn't take a hard shot. 

"I'm having a heart attack!"

JBuckeye's picture

You put into words my thoughts better than I ever could.  I played the game, but never at the level that these kids play it at. I'll never call him a wussy or anything, but he also won't be on my list of toughest Buckeye players ever.

jthiel09's picture

Guess we are just used to being spoiled with such tremendous athlete's that we often forget these guys are humans. 


CincyBuckeye04's picture

I think we can all agree that questioning someone's durability is NOT the same as questioning someone's pain tolerance/toughness. We are going to question why Braxton seems to be getting hurt on a more frequent basis these last two years. It is only natural. I just hope we can do that without having to always preface the fact that we aren't questioning his character or will to play.

hspbuy1's picture

Nice write up Ramzy, excellent tales! I can't imagine the pain some of the players go through.


Doc's picture

Dang, I thought this article was going to be 1500 words on Heisenberg and how he was going to get out of the shoot out this week.
Excellent article, as usual, Ramzy.  Quit teasing us BrBa fans ;)

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

BuckGuy003's picture

Spoilers dude...

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

You could also be missing the point completely.  What I mean is that pain tolerance may be non-issue, in fact it may have nothing to do with him getting hauled to the hospital or taken to the locker room.  He may have an OCD like fear of getting injured for one reason or another.  Think of it like a hypochondriac, except with regard to injury or bodily harm.

unholy bucknut's picture

I do think that Braxton is a bit of a drama queen but he is 100% our best option at QB. Drama queen or not these injuries hurt im positive and he is human. The fact that he came back out and was chomping at the bit to get back in says more about Braxton than anything. Yeah he has a flair for the dramatic but he is tough. He could  just quit and lay down but he doesn't he comes back for more. He's like a little kid when they get hurt they scream and cry cause in the moment it hurts five mins later the pain wears off and the tears stop and they go on about their day. This analogy doesn't apply to the SDSU game cause MCL sprains hurt like hell and Brax still wanted to continue when he came back on the field... and that is toughness.

TraptnMI's picture

This article is extremely well written and had me wondering how the fan base would react to your tight rope story telling, all the while covering every avenue to ensure a healthy ending for our over excited Grey Matter. BRAVO! thanx.

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

throttlefinger's picture

Great article, Ramzy. I have been arguing this point with my buddies ALL WEEK. Don't think you play a sport where contact happens every second of the game and not be tough...especially when you're the MAIN target of the defense. 
Having a QB that can both run and pass as well as Braxton is a luxury most teams NEVER get to experience. And this guy has given his all since his freshman year and never backed down. I do worry about his durability but that's also why I wish he'd avoid contact more and perhaps use a slide or two when appropriate. 
In the end when he wins brings us some more crystal, this whole toughness issue will be a laughable, forgotten memory.

pjtobin's picture

I wonder if each time he gets hit that he is expecting the worse. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.