Ohio State Needs Braxton Miller Healthy, But It Won't Limit His Style of Play

By Patrick Maks on July 28, 2014 at 4:55p

CHICAGO – The thing that makes Braxton Miller so dazzling also makes him a liability.

He’s the impetus of an Ohio State team, previously winners of 24-straight games, that feels like it’s on a mission to accomplish unfinished business after coming undone last season.

So what happens if its most valuable player gets hurt?

Or better yet, how important is it to keep the senior quarterback healthy?

It’s a question that can be answered with another question.

“How important is it for Cleveland to keep LeBron healthy?” senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said Monday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Because like the NBA megastar, Miller, one of the nation’s finest dual-threat quarterbacks, is central to the Buckeyes’ success. They can’t afford to lose him. This isn’t anything not already known.

Last spring, Meyer and Co. got a taste of life without the Heisman Trophy candidate after he underwent shoulder surgery in February.

While it gave Miller a chance to look at the game from a different perspective, it gave Ohio State a sobering dose of what its offense might look without No. 5 behind center.

And when you’re already trying to replace four starters on a historically dominant offensive line charged to protect an injury-prone quarterback, it’s a big deal.

“Our quarterback – I know we'll get asked that question – is ready to go,” Meyer said. “He's full speed, in the best shape of his life.”

But that doesn’t guarantee Miller won’t get banged up next year. His style of play lends itself to cuts, bumps, bruises and, sometimes, worse.

The way Miller plays is intertwined with the risk of bodily harm.

“His issues are he goes sometimes above and beyond what his body is going to allow him to do,” Meyer said.  

Of course, it’s a blessing and a curse.

And for better or for worse, Meyer and Ohio State are starting to accept it.

“Do we try to slow Braxton down? Absolutely not,” he said. “We try to protect him, surround him and maybe come up with a good scheme to get the ball out of his hands maybe a little quicker. Those are all the things that we address.

"But the durability issue isn't because his body wasn't meant to play college football. It's because of how hard he plays.”

Meyer insists Miller’s cut from the same thread of some of the best players he's coached. 

“Tebow, John Simon, Braxton Miller, Christian Bryant, those are guys that have the competitive spirit at the highest possible level, and that's all they do is know how to go,” he said.

“You can look around the country and there's guys – you know who they are. Every program's got a couple of those guys that play just so darned hard that sometimes things happen.”

But without a proven backup quarterback to spell Miller, let alone replace him, an injury could derail a campaign filled with hopes and dreams of Big Ten and national titles.

“You just gotta be smart about your play, make sure you don’t do anything extra to bring yourself to being out a couple games,” Miller said.

“Just be smart.”

After all, Ohio State’s season is hinging upon it.


Comments Show All Comments

Ghbuck23's picture

He is essential to our success, stay healthy Miller

Win Baby , Win

ELJTSA76's picture

Dr. Miller, your patient is ready in O.R. number two. 

Groveport Heisman's picture

Jameis Winston purchased a 60,000 dollar policy this year that would pay 8-10 million if he was to not be drafted in the first round because of injury or illness. I have heard some schools are using a special fund to help pay for these insurances so they can try to keep star players an extra  year without risking injury derailing their careers. Anyone know of any tOSU athletes that have had a policy of this sort?

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+3 HS
Drew2006's picture

He'll be fine. Braxton is a competitor and competitors go hard all the time. 

Love thy neighbor as yourself-Jesus

Tater_Schroeder's picture

"But the durability issue isn't because his body wasn't meant to play college football. It's because of how hard he plays.”

Probably my favorite quote of Urban's press conference. In my head I've always thought of Braxton as a slight "Mr. Glass" and in my gut I knew that he wasn't, but I just couldn't reconcile that fact with myself. Urban cleared that up for me in a matter of minutes. Great stuff. 


+1 HS
MikeTheBuckeye's picture

As much as I hope and pray he will have an injury-free season, he is bound to get banged up at some point. I like the progress we are making at WR and TE to help him keep his eyes down field instead of tucking it and running. But it is imperative for this season and for next that we develop and option behind Miller to be game-ready and able to lead the team down the field. 

whiskeyjuice's picture

True and I hope the coaches are getting a number 2 prepared. I have heard all kinds of things like BM heading up extra curricular pass n catches with the WR's outside of normal practice/training, but haven't heard anything like that from the back ups.

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

Tampabuckeye85's picture

If he gets banged up and has to take breathers let's hope it early in the season and no issues in the 2nd half. I honestly think it's the WR that keep him healthy if they get separation and make plays her won't have to run.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

While I understand his importance to the team, an absent Miller still leaves a devastating offensive team, and a stellar defense, if all goes as planned.  Remember that the spring game wasn't a first string offense by any means.  It missed on many cylinders because not just Braxton was missing.

An adequate quarterback can run this offense using other weapons.  I won't be stellar without Miller.  But it will be good.  And with a stronger defense, opportunities will exist more often to get points on the board.

I'm all for keeping Miller healthy, but I'm certainly not dodging bricks from a falling sky if he goes out.

We will be fine.  More than fine.  We will find a way to win.  Period.  Bank it.

I like cookies.

+1 HS
BeijingBucks's picture


None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

buckeyepastor's picture

I no longer hold my breath when he takes off with the ball nearly as much as I do when he's looking for a receiver for too many seconds in the pocket.   In the Clemson game, he took a lot of tough hits getting yards with his feet, but it was the hits he took on sacks late in the game that really seemed to beat him up the most.  I don't for a second question Herman and Meyer having Miller under center for that last series even with the pounding his shoulder had taken.  But I have wondered once or twice whether Kenny G gets that throw to Philly Brown above the LB that picked it off to seal the game.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way"