Overreliance on Braxton Miller?

Run_Fido_Run's picture
October 8, 2012 at 10:58a

Braxton Miller is the Ohio State offense. That's what we're hearing every week from pundits and announcers, opposing players and coaches. After Miller racked up 315 of Ohio State's 383 total offensive yards against Michigan State, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi lamented, "He is their offense . . .  we just didn’t make enough plays on him.”

No question, the Buckeyes offense revolves around Braxton Miller. Ideally, as we've discussed many times on this blog, the Buckeyes will continue to diversify their offense, develop other playmakers, and find ways to reduce hits and/or overreliance on Braxton. Nevertheless, I wonder if this theme (Miller = Ohio State offense) is a bit overblown. It's typical for an elite QB - whether he is primarily a passer, a runner, or a dual threat - to be involved in a relatively high percentage of his team's offensive production.

Among the current top 25 players (all QBs) in total offense per game, nine other QBs rank higher than Braxton Miller in terms of their individual offensive production as a percentage of their team's total offense:

1. Denard Robinson (Michigan) = 0.816
2. Zac Dysert (Miami OH) = 0.808
3. Jordan Lynch (Northern Ill.) = 0.749
4. B.J. Daniels (South Fla.) = 0.740
5. Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) = 0.727
6. Geno Smith (West Virginia) = 0.722
7. Nick Florence (Baylor) = 0.722
8. Stephen Morris (Miami FL) = 0.710
9. Sean Mannion (Oregon St.) = 0.708
10. Braxton Miller (Ohio St.) = 0.704
11. Matt Scott (Arizona) = 0.703
12. Rakeem Cato (Marshall) = 0.702
13. David Piland (Houston) = 0.700
14. Brett Smith (Wyoming) = 0.692
15. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) = 0.689
16. Dalton Williams (Akron) = 0.674
17. Kolton Browning (La.-Monroe) = 0.658
18. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) = 0.642
19. Derek Carr (Fresno St.) = 0.633
20. Tajh Boyd (Clemson) = 0.625
21. Keith Wenning (Ball St.) = 0.621
22. Tyler Bray (Tennessee) = 0.618
23. Brett Hundley (UCLA) = 0.597
24. Cody Fajardo (Nevada) = 0.592
25. Colby Cameron (La Tech) = 0.573

The Buckeyes probably would have relied a little less on Braxton through the first six games if not for a couple of factors: 1). injuries to RBs Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde; 2). early season "growing pains" kept the Buckeyes from blowing out lesser teams (Miami OH and UAB) in the first half, resulting in Miller getting more snaps at the expense of Kenny Guiton. The Buckeyes apparent overreliance on Miller has been a product of early season inconsistencies as much as a lack of other established playmakers.

For comparison, in 2005, Vince Young had other playmakers like J. Charles, Selvin Young, Limas Sweed, and Billy Pittman. For the season, Young was responsible for 61-percent of his team's total offense, which is below Braxton's current pace. However, Texas outscored its opponents 50.2 to 16.4 per game, so the Horns were on cruise control in the second halves of many games that year. In their two most competitive games, Young was responsible for 91-percent of his team's offense at Ohio State and 84-percent against USC in the Rose Bowl.

Last year, RGIII was responsible for 65-percent of Baylor's offense. In 2008, Sam Bradford had a hand in 62-percent of Oklahoma's total offensive yards.

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