We’ve all been on a big interview. In the lead-up, palms are sweaty, you’re hot under the collar, you’re going over the myriad of potential questions, in short…you’re nervous. While I'm sure we’ve got a few one percenters among our readership, most of these nerves are not the byproduct of a job opportunity that could pay millions. And none of these interviews last 4 months.
Yet this type of process is exactly what senior signal caller, Braxton Miller, will participate in come August 30th. The 2014-2015 season will be Miller’s final opportunity to endear himself to NFL owners, coaches and scouts. If he nails it, he could be among the draft’s elite. If he doesn’t…you know the drill.
While most of Miller’s interview will take place on the field, I’d like to re-imagine it as a traditional vetting. Here are the questions a potential NFL employer would most likely ask No. 5.
Have a seat Mr. Miller, can I get you anything? No? Great, let’s get started.
Q1: Can you stay healthy?
Let’s just get this one out of the way as it’s probably the aspect of your job you have the least control over. Still, we’d like to get a little clarification.
It’s come to our attention you haven’t been able to stay healthy for a full-season in Columbus. Your freshman year you were knocked out of a Nebraska game that subsequently got Bauserman’d, your sophomore season you were taken out of the stadium in an ambulance and your junior year you missed the better part of three games due to injury. We’re looking for an employee that can survive the wear and tear of a full NFL year. The linebackers are bigger, the hits are harder and the season is longer. What’s the story here? Do you think this is the byproduct of your style of play, offseason conditioning, offensive system or simply bad-luck?
Q2: Can you throw the football?
This one might be an offshoot of our first question (style of play leading to injury and all). First we’d like to say we can’t help but be impressed with your ability to scramble. This one in particular had us all gushing about you over the water-cooler. But, it does raise a few red-flags on our end. You’re masterful with your legs, but the workplace is quickly becoming a pass-first environment. Taking a quick look at your junior season stats, three of your last five games (against some of the toughest opponents of the year) resulted in a completion percentage below 45%. In addition, 4 of your 7 interceptions on the season happened in those last five games. Granted, your worst outing of the year came against one of the best secondaries in the country (MSU). But every week around here you’ll be testing some of the best cornerbacks you’ve ever seen. Is your arm ready for that level of play?
Q3: Are you a leader?
As a quarterback, particularly one we could take as a high draft pick, you have the chance to be
the face of our franchise. Off-the-field we have absolutely no concerns. You’ve been nothing but a model citizen, something that’s hard to do when you have the admiration of an entire city
(state?). But in the meeting room we’ve heard you’ve deferred to others in the past. This simply isn’t acceptable in our organization. As a quarterback you’re the only player who will touch the ball on every down. Because of that responsibility, you’ll become a defacto leader, whether you like it or not. Do you feel you have the ability to confidently take on this title? Because down four and driving with 2 minutes to go...you wont have a choice.
Q4: Can you win the big one?
Great, thank you for time today Mr. Miller, it’s truly been a joy getting to know you. We just have one last question before letting you go, and that is…can you win a big game?
We know, we know. It seems ludicrous on the surface. After all, you’re currently 26-9 and have the chance to pass Art Schlichter as the all-time leader in wins at Ohio State (36), but all of those wins have come against regular season competition. Granted, this isn’t all your fault. You’ve had just one season to prove your ability in this area. Your freshman year was an NCAA dumpster fire and your sophomore season you were banned from post-season play. But in your junior year your team lost the two biggest games of the season back-to-back. We know you’re talented, we know you’ve got the ability to rack up W’s, but can you do it all when it matters most? It’s one thing to beat up on Indiana, it’s quite another to take it to an Alabama or Florida State in a playoff game. Have you got what it takes to shine when the lights burn brightest?
Sure interviews are nerve-wracking, and none could be more intense than what’s on the line with Miller’s four month NFL scrutiny fest. But, much like most interview situations, waiting is the worst part. Once you get in the room (or on the field) and start doing your thing the nerves melt away. You get the chance to be heard, you get the opportunity to showcase your abilities and most importantly you get to be yourself. If Miller is able to work within Herman and Meyer’s system comfortably and efficiently, there’s no doubt his interview will go swimmingly.