What the Buckeye B1G Media Day Attendees Should Work On

By Jeff Beck on July 25, 2014 at 10:45a
Braxton Miller at Big Ten Media Days last year.
14 Comments

On July 28-29th Chicago will play host to Big Ten Media Days. The two-day media circus will feature conference stars from each team, and will be a long-awaited refreshment for thirsty B1G fans.

On tap for Ohio State is defensive lineman Michael Bennett, tight-end Jeff Heuerman, and quarterback Braxton Miller. The three will take part in a lot of suit wearing and question answering, but an invite to Chicago means so much more than that. These three players were selected based on their poise, leadership and ability both on and off the field. They’ll be expected to carry Ohio State’s banner both next week, and all season long.

All three have proven they deserve to be in attendance, but I’m of the camp that believes good can become great, and great can become epic. So, here is one thing I’d like to see from each player this upcoming season. I believe if all three are able to achieve them, the Buckeyes should be sitting pretty come December.

Bennett: Be a sponge

Michael Bennett is an immense talent. Let’s get that out of the way. The preseason All-American ended 2013 with a career high in tackles (44), tackles for loss (11.5) and quarterback sacks (7.5). He also recorded three forced fumbles. He’s a disruptive interior player, and his presence on the inside allows players like Joey Bosa and Noah Spence to do their thing on the outside.

Bennett is a possible first-round draft pick, but that doesn’t mean he can’t improve his

LJ
Sponge it up.

game. Here’s hoping Michael never heard, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks", because that’s exactly what new DL Coach, Larry Johnson, wants to do with him. Johnson brings a level of experience that Bennett has yet to see at Ohio State. Johnson’s style in practice is unconventional (read: constant movement that prepares linemen for hurry-up offenses and non-stop action) and his mindset is positive. Those two tools helped Penn State develop five first team All-Americans, three first-round draft choices and one No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. If Bennett is a sponge around Johnson, there’s no telling what he could achieve in 2014.

Heuerman: Be a safety valve

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: “this is the year the Buckeyes will involve the tight-ends in the passing game”. Truth-be-told, despite the lip-service the last truly effective pass-catching end from Ohio State was Ben Hartsock (he graduated in 2003). For those counting at home that’s over a decade. Still, there’s reason to believe this year could be different. Urban Meyer has already said Heuerman is one of the best tight-ends he’s ever had. Couple that with a strong junior season that saw Jeff catch 26 pigskins for four touchdowns, and you have the makings of a break-out season…and I know exactly how Heuerman can turn those makings into a reality.

At 6’5’’, 255 pounds, Heuerman is big, but he’s also surprisingly agile. On passing downs I’d love to see Jeff act as a safety valve for the offense. Have him roam the middle or flash to the sideline. Either should work for a scrambling, spinning, juking Braxton Miller looking to unload the ball to someone…anyone. Heuerman could be that anyone, and I think he could do it a lot.

This does a few things for Ohio State’s offense. One, it keeps them on the field. The ability to pick up yardage in chunks across the middle equals first downs and time-of-possession. Two, it saves Braxton from taking so many hits. We’ve all seen the end-result there, and no one wants to see it again. The ability to drop it off to Heuerman allows Miller to keep his body up-right. And that’s a win for everyone.

Braxton: Be a big-gamer

Last but certainly not least: Braxton Miller. There’s not much more to say about Braxton’s abilities. He’s on schedule to break nearly every record in the book, he’s a two time winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, and he’s an early favorite for the Heisman trophy. What I’m trying to say is…you could do worse than No. 5. But, despite the accolades I also believe Braxton Miller can do better than Braxton Miller. Allow me to explain.

Braxton is 26-9 as a starter with most of those losses coming during the “lets-never-

Go Get It
Dream big. Go get the big one.

talk-about-it-again” 2011 season. That record is just 10 wins off of the all time total for QB wins at Ohio State (36 by Art Schlichter). Still, Braxton has yet to shine when the lights shone brightest.

Truthfully a lot of this isn’t his fault. The Gator Bowl was a disaster just like the entire 2011 season (I thought we weren’t talking about it), and the team was on probation in 2012. The only true chance to prove it on the big stage was against Michigan State and Clemson. We all know how those turned out. Sure there was the Wisconsin win in 2011 and the Michigan wins in 2012 and 2013, but those pale in comparison to the national goodwill a win against Clemson would have done for the Buckeyes.

Braxton will forever be remembered as a very good Buckeye quarterback. He’s earned that. But will he be debated as one of the best ever? His stats would suggest yes. His big game wins would say no. There’s only one way to change that. That’s why Braxton is spending his Friday nights at the WHAC.

If these three can deliver on the above in 2014, it should be an incredible season. They’ll try to be a sponge, safety valve and big-gamer. You try to stay classy.

14 Comments

Comments

apack614's picture

If we win the National Championship this year I will streak during The Game in 2015 at the Big House. Okay not really but that explains how excited I would be.

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+6 HS
11UrbzAndSpices's picture

Don't be a chicken, what's the worst thing that UM security could do to you??

Cardale Jones. Cardale Jones! CARDALE JONES!!

+9 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

One of the greatest pictures from last season - "Don't spray me, bro!" State Penn's PD doing some exterminating work - no flea-ridden skunk weasels in this house!

+1 HS
Buckeye Rocket Sci's picture

Is that really a surprise? There aren't even many in this house!

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence" - Calvin Coolidge

+2 HS
CGroverL's picture

Being that every Big Ten game played by the Buckeyes IS A RIVALRY GAME for their opponents (when Ohio State loses against a Big Ten team, the opposite team's students always storm the field like they just won a national title), I see Braxton Miller as a big game QB because every Big Ten game is a huge game to both the players and the fans. Revenge is often brought up as the major word of the day when teams play against each other in the Big Ten (the team that lost the year before ALWAYS brings up "REVENGE"). There have been others, along with a few comebacks during the Miller era and a couple of those comebacks were Guiton's but does no one remember Miller's 4th quarter 40+ yard bomb as a freshman to beat Wisconsin? On the other side of that coin is the Nebraska game where Miller got hurt and the Bucks never rebounded. Miller is a big game QB...and he has been since game #1. Saying that Miller is not a big gamer is close to blasphemy. Miller is the man and he has been since he arrived.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

I just wanted to add that a win against Clemson would have been great...but to the public and normal Buckeye hating fans, a win against Clemson would have been turned into a win against a team that has a decent season 50% of the time or simply dismissed as a win against a team that lost to Florida State by a score of 51-14 and finished the season with 3 losses. The win against Clemson would have been great for US...but to the majority of college football fans, they would have simply put Clemson down as weak that couldn't beat a Big Ten team.

The truth hurts, but if the Bucks would have won, that is exactly what you would have been hearing. See, finishing in the top part of the top 10 on most occasions means nothing to the bulk of college football fans because they all hate Ohio State for NO GOOD REASON and the only thing that MAY get Ohio State the respect they deserve is an unbeaten season and national title. Anything less to the regular college football fan are simply reasons to show hate for Ohio State.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+2 HS
cw823's picture

This is typical Buckeye fan bs.

People also worshiped Tressel like a God, thinking that beating a bad Michigan team is better than winning on the national stage.  Miller is still not a good passer, and I still don't think he's very adept at reading a secondary.

He can absolutely be a big game quarterback this year.  But that would be a new feat.

-5 HS
CTBuckeye's picture

It was written about in a prior article, but this season is one big interview for Braxton for the NFL draft - he has the physical abilities, and as Buckeye fans we all know he's a winner.  Now he just needs to prove that to the GMs who aren't known to be the best judges of talent at QB.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

AJBor41's picture

Truth-be-told, despite the lip-service the last truly effective pass-catching end from Ohio State was Ben Hartsock (he graduated in 2003).

Heuerman may have had a couple less catches, but his production last year blew anything that Hartsock did as a receiving option out of the water.

+4 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I think Hartsock was the last TE who was a CONSISTENT part of the pass game, but he was good for dumps and short passes. Obviously Heuerman can utilize a little more field, albeit in a different offense.

Another reason the WR corps has to step up. If any of that crew emerges as a threat and draws coverage focus, the TE very well could be a huge part of the OSU O. (Finally)

I also believe Braxton and Heuerman have a rhythm after their time together, #5 should find #86 with efficiency this season.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

+2 HS
southbuc's picture

Don't forget we were only a muffed punt away from blowing that game open. 

+5 HS
kdogg72's picture

Don't forget we were only a "solid" defense away from playing for a national title. Meyer won a championship with Chris Leak, he can win one with Braxton. But not without a great defense.

+1 HS
DC-town's picture

Braxton is a Baller, no argument there.  Is he a big game Baller?  Had a chance to take the bucks down the field against Clemson, two minute drill style and first throw was a pick.

like this article is saying a safety valve would have helped out nicely as Clemson hit him quite a bit.  No one is saying Braxton isn't good, but just good isn't going to be enough to win a national championship.

he has the talent so if he can realize that as a passer and stay healthy, we've got a good shot.  Ball out Braxton

'Piss excellence' -RB

GVerrilli92's picture

Granted he needed off season shoulder surgery. Not gonna pin that loss on him in any sense. Could he have pulled a Vince Young? Sure. But Philly Brown could have caught that punt and our secondary coaches could have abandoned whatever scheme they called that. Hyde could have also gotten 15 more carries.. Overall losing performance by the coaching staff and the players.

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?