Braxton Miller Watch Begins

By Kyle Rowland on January 4, 2014 at 5:20p
Braxton Miller may have played his final game as a Buckeye.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – If that was the final image of Braxton Miller, how will he be remembered?

Will it be as the electrifying playmaker who helped lead Ohio State to 24 consecutive wins, or the quarterback who couldn’t quite seal the deal in what would be his final two games as a Buckeye? Well, it appears he'll be able to add more to his legacy, as Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel is reporting Miller will return for his senior season. 

For a long night and early morning, Miller became a close acquaintance with the plush Sun Life Stadium grass field. An offensive line that had kept him in an upright position and his jersey scarlet had trouble corralling the athletic front four of the Clemson Tigers. It left Miller frequently writhing in pain on the turf.

“The first sack they had against me, I injured my shoulder. I landed on my elbow, but it shot right up to my shoulder,” Miller said. “It hurt real bad. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 9.5. It affected my running, planting on my back foot and scrambling.”

When all was said and done the scoreboard read Clemson 40, Ohio State 35. Miller was sacked five times and planted on the ground umpteen others. His three second-half turnovers, all in the game’s final 20 minutes, played a massive part in the Buckeyes’ second defeat in as many games.

But then there was Miller dashing 33 yards for a touchdown and using stutter steps to avoid Tiger defenders. There was a beautifully thrown 57-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Heuerman and several crucial completions to Philly Brown.

It was vintage Miller and the all-too-familiar inconsistent Miller wrapped into one. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Five sacks contributed to his 35 yards rushing. Otherwise, it would have stood at 84. Thamel's report noted Miller's draft stock among the 2014 quarterback class is a major factor in his decision.

The 60-minute thrill ride wasn’t quite what Miller envisioned. He drops to 0-2 in bowl games and the aura of bring indestructible faded. It almost seems impossible that Miller and head coach Urban Meyer could fall in consecutive games with such significance linked to each outing.

Suddenly, the 24-game win streak will be looked at through a different prism. Asked about the luster being removed, Miller smiled and gave a diplomatic response.

“That’s kind of tough,” he said. “You might want to ask Coach Meyer about that one. I don’t want to say too much about it.”

Many already have. The national media is in the process of removing shine from Meyer’s coaching acumen and Ohio State’s brand. Miller is suffering from the same critical response. One night showed why Miller wants to bolt for the NFL and why he’s nowhere near the level needed to succeed as a quarterback in professional football.

It’s no secret the hits are taking a mental and physical toll on the signal-caller. But he held the ball too long at times, remains an inconsistent passer and doesn’t have the wherewithal of a top-line NFL starting quarterback.

“I thought I had Philly on a bender and it was my mistake,” Miller said of the game-ending interception. “I’m not going to complain about anything. I’ve just got to fix it.”

Whether he fixes it in an NFL training camp or Ohio State’s spring practice is anyone’s guess, despite current media reports. He has 11 days to make a decision. According to Miller, the procedure will include his parents, Meyer and Mickey Marotti. He enters decision-making time not leaning in either direction.

“I’m just going to think it out throughout the whole process and how it will go,” Miller said. “I don’t want to make a decision I didn’t do my research on.”

Moments later, Meyer ushered Miller into his office deep in the bowels of Sun Life Stadium. And with that, Miller was gone.


Comments Show All Comments

BassDropper's picture

I have been Team Braxton since his Freshman year, but I was thinking last night that we may be better off with him moving on. We have a shot at making the playoffs next year, but the year after looks to be the best team, but would have to start a 1st year QB. I'd like JT to take over next year and get experience and maybe still take us to the playoffs. RS QBs has been a big trend lately (Johnny, Jameis, Marriota), maybe JT can be the next.


Chief B1G Dump's picture

Edited. Ive overdosed on Buckeye Football analysis.
Im gonna have some beers and chill my bones.
Go Bucks!

JacksonHoleBuckeye's picture

Say what you will about Miller ...mechanics, decision-making, ability to make all the throws etc... The bottom line is this kid is a winner and a competitor and I would be pumped to hear if he was coming back. 

FROMTHE18's picture

tough performance but he gets hurt so damn much. Part of its coaching/play calling but he has to make better decisions too. He holds the ball a ton when he should just toss it away and he doesnt have good pocket presence so when it collapses he is usually stuck and gets hit. He has a ton of development to do. This isnt Tebow where people cracked his mechanics and used the winner card or character card as a reason he would succeed, Braxton simply has no touch and doesnt read defenses well. Its strange that he appears to have regressed late in last year and again down the stretch this year. I may get some hate for this, but I honeslty dont think he is a good QB against legit COLLEGE D's, let alone the pros. He is an amazing athlete and maybe 2nd to only Manziel with his running ability and breaking tackles, but similar QBs like Manziel and Marriota can throw the ball a heck of a lot better than Braxton and make solid decisions. In terms of pro-QBs that are similar, Braxton is no where near the level of a Kaepernick or Wilson in comparison to where they were at this stage of their development. I just dont see Braxton as a NFL QB right now and he doesnt have the durability to be an ATH type of player. Maybe he could be a novelty and used in the wild cat but thats about it for me. Great character and a tough guy, but not an NFL QB IMO. I think Kenny G has more tools to be a pro QB and is a better type of QB for an offense like OSU's. Can make the touch passes, has the arm for long balls and throwing strikes, great decision maker, smart. Im not sure what the primary criticisms would be on Kenny G to keep him from the pros. Any chance he's had to actually play hes been awesome. 

Brutus's picture

Stay. Go. Do whatever you think is best for you.  You've earned the right and no matter what, you've already established yourself as an all-time great Buckeye as far as I'm concerned. 

NYC Buckeye's picture

I'm not sure why is such a decision? Does anyone think any team would draft him as a QB right now?   So unless he's OK with transitioning to RB, he's staying...
Don't get me wrong, I love Braxton, want him back for next season, but hes not a pro QB...

MilitaryBuckeye's picture

Pete Thamel from SI is reporting Braxton staying... Shazier declaring for the draft. Source is Beau Bishop... Tweet link below

bucks15's picture

If Braxton has any shot at being an NFL quarterback then he has to come back.  There is a lot he needs to prove on such as touch, intermediate passing, making reads, etc...  We have seen a great improvement from Freshman to Sophomore year, and a decent amount of improvement from Sophomore to Junior year.  It only makes sense he will be an even better passer next year, the only thing is he isn't that durable of a player so I understand why he is thinking about leaving.
From an Ohio State perspective we should want him back and with open arms at that.  Would you rather have an experienced, best running quarterback in the nation behind an essentially new offensive line or a young starter that has never taken a meaningful snap or throw during a college game?  The recent success in RS Freshman quarterbacks give me a little faith J.T. Barrett could take us to a championship next year, but I like OSU's odds a lot more with Braxton at the helm.  

DefendYoungstown's picture

Whatever he decides best of luck to him, I have a lot of good memories from his playing days.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I don't want to be that dude, but Miller didn't lead OSU to 24 consecutive wins. He missed almost all of the SDSU game and then the next 2 games. Kenny G led us in those games. Other than that, I thought it was a good read. I'm kind of ready for the JT Barrett era tho. 

harleymanjax's picture

If he leaves he will be another Tebow, excellent runner, so-so passer, out of the league in a couple of years, but without the personality to get a TV job.

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Bamabucknut's picture

Time to turn the page.

D-Day0043's picture

If he was hurt that bad then he shouldn't have been playing. If you are too hurt to throw then that is a detriment to the team. The touchdown passes were to receivers that were so wide open Ray Charles could have hit them.
Braxton is a great kid, but he isn't close to being ready for the NFL. He  isn't a good passer now, and can't read college defenses, so how is he going to do it in the NFL where everyone is bigger, better, faster, and stronger?  

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

BuckAlum09's picture

Stop the madness please... it is time for Braxton to change positions or move on. I feared this watching Braxton's freshman and sophomore years meanwhile watching the amazing Denard Robinson fizzle out due to injuries, run first mentality and a lack of passer ability/development.
Braxton will not play a snap of NFL QB. No matter if he leaves now or next year. That's just cold hard fact. He's not Russel Wilson... He's not Colin Kapernick... He's not even Terrelle Pryor or Troy Smith. His has NOT improved all that much as a passer overall. He does not negotiate a collapsing pocket with his eyes down field nor does he hang in to go through his WR progressions. As a 3rd year starter... These problems remain. What makes you think it'll click in his 4th year?
His TD pass last night to Heurman was called "beautiful" above?? Were you watching the game? If you were you would have seen a wide open heurman have to stop, turn around, catch it, then take off running again. Or the should have been walk in TD for Philly that wasn't to be because he had to stop and fall down in order to catch it at the 2 yard line? Underthrown or Overthrown is the Braxton norm... Hitting in stride is the aberration and has been for 3 years.
It is time to develop our team for 2015 and it starts this coming 2014 season. New line, new RB, new defensive backs, a LB corp that has not proved anything outside of an exiting Ryan Shazier (moment of silence). It is time to develop JT Barrett. If Braxton stays, it is time to put him at the Hybrid HB athlete position. The only shot we have at a Title and the only shot Brax has at the NFL.

"...and when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of booze. And we'll drink to old Ohio till we wobble in our shoes."

cuttyrock's picture

Honestly Braxton should come back but here is the positives and negatives. The positives is he's the most dynamic running qb in college football. I actually hope Miller puts on a few pounds. Maybe an extra ten lbs would be another cushion and cause him to be a little healthier. Miller will have better accuracy and a better command of the offense. I think with the emergence of Wilson as a hybrid I think the passing game will be better. The negatives are Miller is usually injured and never plays a whole year so his backup will play a lot. The hits are already adding up and have since high school. Miller has voiced concerns over play calling.

JozyMozy's picture

Was it Dan Marino that said "wide open receivers are the hardest to hit?" Oh, Braxton Miller hit a wiiiide open TE who was able to rumble in and score, but that isn't good enough, is it?
and wait, Braxton led a TD drive with a minute left in the half, 70+ yards in ~45 seconds, but we stand no chance with him at QB? Move on to JT, WITHOUT EVER HAVING SEEN HIM TAKE A COLLEGIATE SNAP??????
Lots of mistakes were made. and the kid is inconsistent. and injury prone. and frustrating as hell at times. (and some questionable gameplans/playcalling. nobody's perfect.)
That said, completely throwing him under the bus like this reeks of cranky overreacting. Calm down, man. How quickly you forget the days of the hopeless, anemic, identity-less Bauserman offense. 

InvertMyVeer's picture

How quickly you forget the days of the hopeless, anemic, identity-less Bauserman offense. 

My darkest days as a Buckeye fan. Let's not speak of that time again.

Football is complicated...

BuckAlum09's picture

Did Pryor's defense make TP look better than he really was? Follow up... If Brax had Pryor's defense are we playing tomorrow night?
Our Defense simply did not have Braxton's back this season. Braxton did have his struggles and continues to highlight his weaknesses... I think our coaching staff does him and our team a favor by putting him at an Athlete position next year to show the Pros what he can do and develop a new young QB. Wild Cat, Options, Play action passes go to Braxton at QB. Then let JT or Cardale work with Brax in the backfield to show what he can do in space as a RB or flex receiver.
Just possibilities in order to promote Brax to the NFL Scouts and to develop the next generation Buckeye QB. Look to the future and give Braxton the chance he deserves.

"...and when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of booze. And we'll drink to old Ohio till we wobble in our shoes."

Crumb's picture

I'd love to see Braxton come back and think he can grow a lot if he does. If he changes his mind and leaves we'll miss him and wish him the best. His legacy will be that of an explosive player who was a big factor in the school record 24 straight wins.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

timhbomb's picture

Am I alone in thinking that Michael Thomas will be a featured receiver next year plays into Brax's decision?  Those two are buds and I think next year will be a break out for both.

RufusVonDufus's picture

Hope and Change has not yet proven itself and most likely won't!


BuckeyeVet's picture

I was and still am wondering why Guiton didn't finish the game. The coaching staff was watching Miller wince, double over, windmill his hurt shoulder, etc... And Clemson obviously saw it too & came after him with a vengeance.
P.S. I'm not in the Guiton is better than Miller camp. But I did think Guiton would have been the better choice for the last 2 series.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

"The recipient of Oyster's ONLY down vote".

southbay's picture

During the game I said in a post that Braxton would play until his arm fell off.  Meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I think it was spot on as it turns out.

jamesrbrown322's picture

What disappointed me most with this team was the lack of a clutch gene. They came back from double digit deficits in last two games. They came back at *ichigan Stadium, yet could not really hang on in any of them. (I know they beat TTUN, but they did give up potential tying TD in final seconds.)
I am not sure if it is cultural. I tend to hope not. Honestly, they came very close to running the table. They held the lead in the third quarter in each of their losses, and then offense sputtered/faltered when it mattered most. Meyer and Co. can hopefully change this. New OLine, and additions/experience on D will be key items to watch. Remember, next year it is all about getting into the top 4. OSU vs MSU may decide that.
Looking forward to 2014 with Miller back. He is dynamic, and I have a feeling that we'll all love the Elliott/Wilson combo. I still like their chances in a playoff with Miller at QB. In one game situations who knows? OSU's toughest opponent next year will be perception. After all, over last 2 seasons, they are 0-2 against top 15 opponents, and have 0 bowl wins or conference titles.
I still think Meyer is a winner, so we'll see what happens. Remember this: there are literally over 110 programs in the nation that would switch places with OSU in a heartbeat.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill