Braxton Miller Being Treated Like Ace of the Staff

By Kyle Rowland on August 8, 2014 at 8:15a
Ohio State is taking Braxton Miller's return from surgery slowly.
32 Comments

Replacing four starters on the offensive line. Building depth on the defensive line. Establishing a hierarchy at running back. It’s all part of the fall camp to-do list for Ohio State. So too is resting Braxton Miller.

The calendar says August, but for the Buckeyes’ fireballer it’s March. Miller, Ohio State’s Opening Day starter, is preparing for the season as if he were Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw or Chris Sale. The ace of the staff is on a pitch count.

“We’re kind of bringing him along slowly,” offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said Wednesday. “I think we have a really good plan to get him where he needs to be Aug. 30. We definitely don’t need to rush it.” 

Head coach Urban Meyer and Miller himself have said he’s at 100 percent after offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder. But Meyer said Monday that Miller’s shoulder was sore. Two days later, he was limited throwing the football in practice. It came as a surprise even with Meyer previously saying Miller would be eased back into things.

During spring practice, he became an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Miller was equipped with a camera attached to a hat, and he recited the offensive and defensive plays. BraxCam allowed him to grow as a student of the game. It’s a benefit for this season, but even more important going forward to the NFL.

In a conversation with ESPN.com Wednesday, Miller scoffed at the notion that a shoulder injury could be lingering.

“I’m 100 percent, just trying to stay healthy,” he said. “I’ve got to get it back in shape. Mental reps are one of the best things you can do, so I’m not complaining.” 

Neither are backups Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. The duo shared first-team reps, which could prove rewarding for Ohio State. Miller’s had injury issues dating back to high school, making the No. 2 quarterback job one of importance.

You won’t find any Ohio State coaches concerned about Miller’s status, though. He’s a soon-to-be four-year starter whose stats have improved every season. Even when Miller was carted out of Ohio Stadium two years ago, coaches didn’t show an ounce of worry.

So, two years later, as Miller operates under the watchful eye of those paid to win football games, fans need not panic.

“I love Braxton’s work ethic, his attitude, his mentality,” Warinner said. “His mindset is awesome. His understanding of the game is great, and his leadership has improved. We’re just letting him come along physically.

“It’s part of the plan. There was no he got the hook in the middle of the day. It was all planned out. We’re doing that with some other guys who started a lot who are coming off injuries, just watching their volume until they build into it.”

The release of Ohio State’s official roster is treated as a holiday in Columbus. Freshmen numbers are revealed, position changes are discovered and new weights are learned. As LeBron James drops weight, Miller is adding it – in the form of muscle.  

“He plays so hard and it’s such a collision sport and there’s so much velocity and acceleration and impact – that’s our goal is to make him increase that strength level to anticipate some of those forces or give out some of those forces,” strength coach Mickey Marotti said. “When he turns and runs up the field and he hits that guy, maybe he’s the one applying the force more than him getting knocked back.”

Rest assured the 216-pound right-hander will be atop the Cy Young – err, Big Ten Silver Football ballot again this season. For now, though, it’s slow and steady.

“Just bring him along like a pitcher in spring training – an inning, then two innings, then three innings,” Warinner said. “Then by the time Opening Day comes, can he pitch seven innings for you, or eight innings, or whatever you need.”

The answer is trending toward landslide territory; a resounding yes. 

32 Comments

Comments

Buckeye419er's picture

Gotta crawl before you walk

+2 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

He can go 7 innings in the opener, but we're going to need a complete game for his second outing. 

+7 HS
Dips's picture

or will we? ;)

+4 HS
robobuck's picture

I have a feeling that if we score 28 on VTech we'll have a comfortable lead

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

+1 HS
daveyt11's picture

Are the 2 a days closed to media?

Tampabuckeye85's picture

I can't wait to see him this year. I'm not as critical on him as most. I know he has had some issues but I don't think they are that bad. With the weapons we have this year I think we will see what he should have been doing the last two years.

avail31678's picture

IMO I think it all comes down to...can our receivers run good routes and get open for him?

dubjayfootball90's picture

There were times where he completely botched passes to wide open receivers, and I would let out a 'what the hell was that?' But I love Miller as a player and would not trade him for anyone. Just hearing all the progress he is making, makes me believe that those types of miscues are going to occur less frequently over the course of this season. Maybe in the first game a bit to shake off a little rust, but hopefully by game two its back to stardom, which he will need to be against a solid VT team.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+2 HS
Boxley's picture

I hear ya, brother. I am anxious to see how much the green line is going to affect him. Good thing for the bucks is that they have a senior QB back there behind all of the newbie  O-linemen.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Poison nuts's picture

There were times where he completely botched passes to wide open receivers, and I would let out a 'what the hell was that?' But I love Miller as a player and would not trade him for anyone.

Amen to this. Also, something I noticed is at times he seemed not just hesitant, but maybe too hesitant to make a mistake. Like not letting it fly or over-throwing because he was afraid it would be picked. That's what I thought at times anyway. However, he seems to have a serious amount of confidence going into this year & I think we'll see the best version of Braxton yet. But yeah, I sincerely wouldn't trade him for anyone either & I think it says a lot as there are some good dudes out there if CFB-land.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

James Mee's picture

Also, they need to come down with the ball. I felt like there were a lot of key drops. Looking at you Evan Spencer and Devin Smith. Seriously, if Evan can pull down that Third Down pass in the Big Ten Championship game...SMH. 

ChimdiCheckyaselfbeforeyawreckyaself's picture

Assuming Braxton is 100% by opener - this offseason surgery will pay off for OSU.  Not only is he getting to focus on and break down the mental side of the game for the past few months, but the backups are getting a lot of quality reps.  We all know that they will be called upon at some point in tough situations and all the work this offseason should prepare them well!

A little is better than nada, sometimes you want the whole enchilada

+2 HS
chitown buckeye's picture

I agree, the back ups getting quality reps will go much farther for us mid season than Braxton getting those reps. Yes Braxton can use improvement but he is essentially a four year starter and at worst if he is the same as last year that's still a pretty damn good QB. I'm not at all concerned about Miller getting reps. Get healthy and he will be fine.  Now an area of need or improvement is definitely in the back up spot so I am glad those guys are getting some quality time with the 1st teamers. It may just win us a game if something were to happen to Miller. Always trying to look at the silver lining in a situation like this.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

+2 HS
James Mee's picture

I'm also not sure how much practice reps would help him at this point. He needs game reps. JT and Cardale could always use the practice reps though. 

HilltopHustle's picture

In the case our RB depth doesn't prove worthy of instantly "replacing" Hyde, Miller's arm (and legs, to some degree) are what'll get us those early wins. And if he's not 100%, well, those Navy and VT games could be interesting. Cincinnati, who will run that quick offense with plenty of passing, could turn into one of those games too where we might need 35+ points.

I'm in the camp that Miller is good to go and he's being iced now as preventative measure FWIW. We'll see.

wyatt's picture

I think the offense will be fine. More concerned about the defense giving up so many points and yardage last year. Braxton is a special talent. 

+2 HS
Prickly_Pete's picture

Braxton is an amazing athlete, but I'd like to see him get down or slide and avoid hits instead of giving up his body for a few extra yards.  I know its not the cool thing to do, but we need him healthy for the entire season.  Man, I miss Kenny G.  Its scary knowing we don't have his smooth jazz waiting to save the day.

+3 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I agree...when he does keep it and run.

But I hope there's more emphasis on him distributing the ball - passing, pitching, option, handoff, etc. - this season.

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

The coaches stated during the spring that they want to pass %78 of the time.

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

+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

I think that might have been just during the spring. They probably wanted to get the secondary a high volume of reps and work on the backup QBs accuracy. I believe we'll be back to around 60/40 run once the season hits.

I don't know if I'm the only one who's noticed, but our skills players look huge! Evan Spencer is a monster, Dontre has easily gained 15lbs. Even Braxton has put on a ridiculous amount of lower body weight.

The only thing I can make of this is that Urban wants Dontre running inside and that Brax is still gonna run the ball. If you watch old Percy Harvin highlights he would occasionally gash the D through the A gap.

I'm just really excited about the unknowns of this year, should be a really fun offense to watch. Thinking a lot of versatility.

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

whiskeyjuice's picture

The coaches have been more vocal about Wilson and the reasons you gave are precisely why Dontrae didn't see more action last year. But now that he has bulked up, word has it that he blocks better and can run inside better. Which allows him to be on the field more.

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

ChimdiCheckyaselfbeforeyawreckyaself's picture

agreed, he should have more weapons this year than in the past to do so!

A little is better than nada, sometimes you want the whole enchilada

+1 HS
ITWASME's picture

I don't know I mean part of what makes Braxton Braxton is that he doesn't give up and goes as hard as he can every play

ralEbuckI's picture

Along the same line, I hope the coaches will be more willing to pull him out earlier too. I thought there were games over the last couple years that were well in hand (even in spite of the less than stellar defensive play) where he was still playing in the fourth quarter.  I realize the importance of style points but all the style points in the world won't mean anything if he's playing at 50% or worse not at all at the end of the year. 

northcampus's picture

I sure hope Jones and Barrett soaked in every word of advice Kenny G gave them last year.  Braxton's insurance policy has graduated and one of those two better be ready to play when (not 'if' for those who have followed Miller in HS and college) Miller leaves a game.  Braxton will do great things in 2014, but the Bucks will need production from QB2 when Miller needs a break/recovery during the season.

jedkat's picture

Thanks again for 2 great years Kyle. We're going to miss you around here. I hope you do big things in your next gig, just don't forget us little guys.

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back, so I just ran him over"

~ Joey Bosa

+2 HS
OSUBias's picture

I'm on the fence with this. Part of Braxton's weakness last year was the timing and touch of his throws. As the season went on he tended to wait too long (rather than throwing the WR open) and then try to compensate by throwing a 105 mph fastball. You need actual reps to fix that issue. 

That being said, his health is more important than anything. So it's probably for the best, but will probably limit his improvement. I just wish we didn't have to choose one or the other. 

Shitter's full

+1 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

I really hope our stable of running backs can step up and provide a solid running game so Braxton doesn't have to. I realize he is probably our best runner, but I'd like to see just a couple designed runs each game to keep the defense's honest. Let the true RB's take the brunt of the hits, and let Braxton distribute the ball to all of our other weapons. Most of all, keep him upright and healthy.  

 

 

Dips's picture

Remember that time we had bauserman?

those were the days

+1 HS
tjbucvik23's picture

I was very disappointed that Urban didn't notice Braxton was hurt - therefore ineffective at the end of the Orange Bowl. With KG in for the 4th quarter...... we would have had a chance to win. If Braxton is not health by now, get the back ups as many reps as possible. I don't want excuses or bad performances this year. If BM can't go....... Have a seat young man. While you're sitting there, cheer for your team.

NC-Buckeye Guy's picture

I guess I'm the only one that's concerned about our QB not practicing. I think it's more important than ever for Miller to be spending as much practice time with ALL the first time starter on offense as possible. They all need to be getting use to each other. The offense has to be a well oiled machine and timing is very important. We can not use the Navy game as a practice!!! If he is truly healthy get him out there ASAP. 

Toilrt Paper's picture

EXCEPT,. Braxton said his shoulder HURT after the 2nd practice. I'm not buying the party line that everything is OK.

-1 HS