What To Do With Braxton Miller And The QB Situation

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture
January 20, 2011 at 2:14p

First posted at Inside The Shoe

Braxton Miller. Get used to this name, Buckeye fans. You’ll be hearing it a lot in the near future. A five-star recruit, according to Scout, Braxton Miller is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2011 class. He is rated as one of the top two quarterbacks by Scout, Rivals and ESPN.


If you haven’t heard a lot about this kid before, Miller is a 6’2”, 185 pound quarterback from Huber Heights (Oh.) Wayne. A dual-threat QB, Miller will bring back memories of the Troy Smith era.


Miller is a more polished passer and possibly a more explosive running threat than Terrelle Pryor was when he came in as a freshman.  According to ESPN, Miller “has a big arm and can make every single throw.”


Miller is more accurate than Pryor was, although both have great arm strength.  As a runner, Miller seems to be very elusive, more in the mold of a Troy Smith in terms of running style.  He has the potential to break an 80-yard run or launch an 80-yard touchdown pass. With all of this potential, Jim Tressel has a major decision on his hands.  What does he do with Braxton Miller in 2011?


Does he redshirt him, and hope that Joe Bauserman and Kenny Guiton can hold the fort until Pryor returns from suspension?


Does he start him from day one? He seems to have the skills to do so and coming in for spring practice certainly will not hurt his chances.


Or, does he start Bauserman and use Guiton and Miller as chance of pace guys?


If Pryor had not been suspended for any games in 2011, redshirting him would be the easy choice. Let him learn behind Pryor for a year and then hand him the reins starting in 2012. 


With Pryor being suspended, do you still redshirt him? Miller certainly has the potential to be great, but do you burn a year of eligibility just for five games? That could be even less than five games if the suspensions are reduced, which is a possibility.


If Miller is played during Pryor’s suspension, what do you do with him when Pryor returns? Even if Braxton guides the Buckeyes to a 5-0 mark, there is almost no chance that he holds on to the starting spot when Pryor is eligible. Pryor has proven to be a winner and is one of the best quarterbacks to ever put on the scarlet and gray.


Braxton Miller was brilliant for Wayne during his senior year.  After starting the season slow at 3-3, Miller led the Warriors to eight straight victories and a trip to the Division 1 state championship game, where they came close to winning it all in a 35-28 loss to Lakewood St. Edward.


Joe Bauserman is the most experienced candidate for the starting job for the first five games. In backup duty in 2010, Bauserman went 16-22 for 174 yards with two touchdowns, with the touchdown passes coming againstEastern Michigan and Purdue (3:45 mark).  He seems to be the logical choice as he will be a senior and the most familiar with the Buckeye offense.


Kenny Guiton is another candidate for the quarterback spot.  Guiton starred in the spring game last year and would be a better fit in the Terrelle Pryor mold of offense.  Guiton has confidence throwing the ball, shown in the spring game when he led the Gray team to a 17-14 victory with 11 completions for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Guiton saw limited action in 2010, throwing just two passes, completing one for five yards. He also ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown.


Kenny Guiton starred in the spring game in 2010

Burning a year of eligibility for just five games may not be the best situation for Miller and the Buckeyes when there are very good options in Bauserman and Guiton to hold down the fort until Pryor’s suspension is up.


Starting Bauserman is the likely choice for 2011, but spring practice could change that if Miller impresses the coaching staff or if they think Guiton would be easier to slide in to Pryor’s spot in the offense.


Spring practice will be huge in the development of Miller and will go a long way in helping Coach Tressel decide what to do with Braxton for the 2011 season.  Decisions like these are why Tressel has been so successful at Ohio State, and Buckeye fans should be confident in whatever he decides to do.



Comments Show All Comments

Seth4Bucks's picture

I question how well Joe B could do at 'holding the fort' for those five games. He may be the most experienced. But experience does not necessarily correlate towards ability to play the QB position. Maybe Joe will prove me wrong, but I doubt he has what it takes to play well enough at the QB position for a school like OSU. He seems like a great guy, but he hasn't inspired much confidence from the limited time I've seen him take the field.

Nick's picture

Agreed. I'll take Guiton! I heard that Miller isn't redshirting either way....???

Rooster Buckburn's picture

After watching Miller play this year I'll go out on a limb and say he's a better all around passer right now than Pryor.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

I personally think Miller should get the nod. If not, Guiton. I just don't trust Bauserman in key situations. Or any situation for that matter.

741's picture

Come on people. In the way it was easy to predict that with an 18 point lead Coach Tressel would lock down the offense in the second half of the Sugar Bowl, the safe money should be on Bauserman starting the first five games of 2011 (barring injury, or a reduced NCAA penalty for Pryor et al).

Accept that this is the most likely case, and be happily surprised if someone else blows up this spring and takes the job away from him.

Despite Miller declaring he has been told he will not redshirt, I believe the odds are in favor of him taking a year to learn the ropes, and possibly he takes over as the starting QB in 2012.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I agree with this line of thinking. Tressel will go with the safest choice and from where we sit today - that looks to be Bauserman. He's not the 'sexy' pick to fill in for five games - but Tressel will take the surest path to ball security.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

Not to mention that, but who's to say Tressel won't use Miller or Guiton in some spread packages? Sort of use them like they tried to with Pryor before he became the starter

buckeyedude's picture

I agree, 741. Anybody that's watched Tressel coach over the years knows how loyal he is to his seniors and I don't think it will change. Not saying I want JB QBing the Buckeyes for the first 4/5 games, just saying that is what Tressel is likely to do.

Now if JB gets hurt, then it could be anybody, even Miller. Just my opinion. 

I also heard that Taylor Graham has a really good arm, aka Joe Germain. What a position for a coach to be in!



741's picture

I don't think it has much to do with being loyal to seniors, rather it's about the percentages. Coach Tressel is likely to be most comfortable with Bauserman as starting QB because he has a few years of knowledge and experience within the offense, and he's taken more snaps (a bunch in practice and a handful in actual games) than any of the other candidates, which makes him more prepared than the other guys.

It simply is about who is least likely to turn the ball over.

741's picture

That said, I hope I am wrong and Miller lights it up in spring ball and earns his way onto the field - and has success!

tomcollins's picture

Anyone expecting anything other than at least 60% Bauserman doesn't understand Tressel.

Plus, all he should need to do is hand the ball off in most of the games and let the defense stop the other teams.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

Really excited about having Berry, Hall, Hyde, and Smith back there with no Boom. We get to see who comes out where.

btalbert25's picture

I'm excited about Berry, Hyde and Smith, but I just don't see what others do in Jordan Hall.  Maybe he'll prove me wrong but I think the other 3 have so much more talent at RB than he does.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

I agree 100% with you. He's an excellent return man with serious speed and escapability. I think of him more in the Ted Ginn mold then I do a running back.

Buckeye Black's picture

I think we will struggle in the games without Pryor.  He only needs 26 total TD's for 100 career touchdowns.  He has kept so many plays alive.  I really hope that suspension gets reduced.  As far as the temporary replacement, whoever gives the team the best chance to win will play.  Don't forget Bauserman has some Craig Krenzel like wheels.

LVbucksNV's picture

Guys, seriously how many of you honestly believe Bauserman would even sniff the 3 deep for Saban, chizik, richt, Meyer, carroll. Or at least look at the best teams the last 10 yrs and the type of talent they had at qb and ask ourselves if Bauserman resembles any of the starters on these teams. Jb just isn't very good. He certainly has shown very little or rather, he has been unimpressive when he has played(think Illinois this yr when he was needed, not mopping up ). He inspires zero confidence. I can't stand the notion that tressel plays someone because he is loyal in the program or has seniority. That idea has no place in major college football. That whole idea is just stupid. Play the best. Coach the kids up, instill confidence, then turn them loose instead of making them terrified to make a mistake. I say this while at the same time believing tressel will start Bauserman but I hate his philosophy in this case. I wish I could believe he will give graham, miller or guiton legitimate shots but tressels track record says he has already decided Jb starts next season.


Jason Priestas's picture

Oh, I feel you. But as a Chicagoan witnessing Todd Collins playing in the NFC Championship last weekend, I suppose anything can happen.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Dude. Rod Smith THE TRUTH! It won't matter who the QB is. This dude is gonna blow up like MoC did in 01. Calling it first here.

"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

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

He, Berry, and Hyde have so much upside..it's truly a gift to have.

buckeye33's picture

Nice picture of Miller.....hope he paid full price for the tattoo !