If Season-Opener Were Tomorrow, Ohio State Would Be 'Cautious' With Braxton Miller

By Patrick Maks on August 10, 2014 at 3:11p
53 Comments

Ohio State is taking things slowly with Braxton Miller. So slowly, in fact, that if the Buckeyes were to open their season tomorrow, the Heisman hopeful and senior quarterback would be limited in how much he plays and what he could do.

"If the game was tomorrow, we'd be very cautious with Braxton," coach Urban Meyer said Sunday at the team's annual Media Day. "But we have three weeks."

Still, it seems cause for concern for Miller, who had shoulder surgery in February, and for a team that'll so heavily rely on his talents and treasures. Miller was limited during the team's practices last week, but tossed the ball lightly during warmups Saturday. 

Meyer, though, maintains it's part of a larger plan to ease Miller into the grind of training camp and two-a-days. So does Miller, who said "I can throw right now" before playfully asking a reporter if he’d like to go run a route so he can prove it.

Ohio State opens the season against Navy Aug. 30 in Baltimore. 

Meyer notes:

  • Meyer also confirmed Ezekiel Elliott’s wrist surgery and said he expects to have the sophomore running back in practice some time next week. Meyer’s current running back order is as follows: Elliott, Rod Smith, Curtis Samuel, and Bri'onte Dunn. But Meyer, who will have to replace former star running back Carlos Hyde, won't name a starter yet.
  • Meyer said his offense will rely on the quick-passing game more than ever next season. “Last year, we got comfortable with that big back and that offensive line.” In addition to Hyde, Ohio State will have to replace four offensive lineman.
  • Meyer said a battle for the starting left guard position is currently between Antonio Underwood, Joel Hale and Billy Price. 
  • Meyer said Dontre Wilson has gained 20 pounds since coming to Columbus. Last season, Meyer called Wilson a “novelty” and a “hood ornament” and stressed the importance of turning the talented recruit from an athlete into a football player. Meyer said Wilson, who’s expected to start at H-back, is in the mix to be the team’s starting kick/punt returner.
  • Ohio State move into its team hotel last Thursday. It started two-a-days Saturday morning: “This next week is real ... you find out what kind of team you have."
  • Meyer continued to gush about freshman running back Curtis Samuel: "I love that kid. Man does he go hard." Meyer said Samuel “stole his heart” while on ESPN a couple weeks ago.
  • In light of the NCAA approving autonomy for the Power Five conferences and a federal court ruling in favor of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon in a major antitrust lawsuit, Meyer largely sidestepped talking about big-picture issues. On autonomy: “(Athletic director) Gene (Smith) and I will sit down at some point, but not now." On the O’Bannon trial: "I apologize, I know I should probably be more up to speed on that, but I'm not." Meyer eventually started playfully deferring to such questions by responding “Navy” or “Na-vy” or “Beat Navy.” 
  • Meyer said he think this year’s team is faster than its 2013 squad: “If you had to say the difference between last year's team and this year's team, we're faster.” Meyer added this has the feel of a “very good team.”
  • Players who have impressed Meyer in fall camp thus far: Tyvis Powell, Vonn Bell, Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith, Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall. All are expected to have considerable impact on the field next season.
  • After finishing the year 112th in pass defense, Meyer vowed wholesale changes on defense and said the unit was undergoing an “overhaul" in the spring. After the departures of assistant coaches Everett Withers and Mike Vrabel, Meyer hired co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash and defensive line coach Larry Johnson to help reestablish a culture that he says got lost. And when coaches’ individual cultures and philosophies mesh, it’s called alignment. Meyer put his staff’s current alignment in the “great category.”
  • Part of that overhaul includes replacing former All-American linebacker Ryan Shazier: “Joshua Perry has to step up and play big, he's replacing Shazier,” Meyer said. The Buckeyes will also rely on senior Curtis Grant, redshirt freshman Darron Lee and a handful of younger players like Raekwon McMillan to provide depth for a unit that’s underperformed the last two years.
  • Former Texas coach Mack Brown was at Ohio State today. Meyer called Brown a close friend. Charlie Strong, who coach as an assistant under Meyer at Florida, took over the Longhorns in place of Brown last winter.
53 Comments

Comments

OfficerRabbit's picture

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about Braxton's shoulder. Its looking more and more like the coach's aren't being cautious, they're legit concerned. It also makes me wonder what kind of shape he'll be in when the season starts, and how much rust he's going to have to shake off. He missed valuable snaps in the spring, now he's missing even more valuable snaps in fall camp.

On a lighter note, I'm glad to see Dontre, Jalin, and Samual are all standing out to Coach Meyer. There is a whole lot of shake and bake in that group.

 

 

+5 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

I've had two shoulder surgeries. There are reasons to take it slow at the start.

Even though he may have completed the rehab, they should limit his throws at first just to get the muscle memory back. That's why he's limited. I wouldn't necessarily call it concern, it's more of caution. By building him back up slowly, he'll get his strength and endurance back. If they just threw him into his old routine, he'd probably need a cortisone shot by week 6 or 7 to deal with the soreness, and his strength would deteriorate as the season goes on.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+9 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

I hear you, I've had both shoulders scoped, and the left one they had to go back in and open it up to repair the damage. You're probably right, but  in my experience, I was pretty much ready to go 6 months out from surgery. I would have figured with the quality of care and rehab he's had, he would be ready to rock and roll. 

Guess that's why I'm not in charge!

 

 

+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

Why test the shoulder before he has to?  Everybody already knows the physical tools Miller brings to the table.  The mental preparation is the only area he needs to improve, and that is the focus.  As Meyer says, there are 3 weeks to go before kickoff.  I am currently recovering from shoulder surgery (June 9) and I can tell you caution is a solid approach.

New York Buckeye

+2 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

I disagree on a couple levels. First, you never want to "test" anything in a game, if you can't do it over and over in practice, then it shouldn't be done in a game. Second, any quarterback not named Manning or Brady can improve on something, and Braxton could certainly improve on his "touch", and also his ability to read a defence and find an open receiver.  

Is he the best QB in the B1G, absolutely. Nonetheless, I would still be much happier if he was able to take game-ready snaps right now.

 

 

+2 HS
Nutinpa's picture

I agree with Rabbit.  This is pause for concern....as Miller had some serious work to do to get ready for the season...not just mentally, but also as a passer. This Forum is acting as if Miller has been a top - rated...and the team by extension...a top rated passing unit in the past few seasons.  In reality...the opposite is true.  Teams that thought about daring Miller to pass ...now have every reason to do so.

Could this be a simple manipulation of the media by Meyer and his staff?  Sure.  But I suggest Miller needed all the reps he could get and the limitation is not something to be shrugging our shoulders about.  Not when the back up QBs really have not shown us anything to speak of. 

+1 HS
Dmac3212's picture

I agree with you. Besides the obvious injury concerns, and future damage to the shoulder, the real issue is the lack of development. This was a crucial offseason for Braxton to make the jump to a consistent passing threat. Unfortunately for him, and buckeye nation, he did not get the much needed reps. If Braxton doesn't improve his decision making, touch, and accuracy it will be very difficult to become a championship team. Fans will look at his improved passer rating, and completion percentage and see a top notch QB. But in reality these numbers were put up against lower caliber teams. He throws a good deep ball, but his solid completion percentage is from the screen game and check downs. He needs to improve is intermediate pass game. Lets just hope his headset technology helped his progression this off season. 

+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

You, my friend, were absolutely correct.

New York Buckeye

11UrbzAndSpices's picture

The shoulder has the most mobility of all joints and therefor is the least stable and needs the most preventative medicine (prehab) and takes just about longer than anything else for rehab. I've broken 3 collarbones, the road to recovery was just about the same as a knee surgery I've had.

Does anyone know if BucksFan changed his icon?

jonping67's picture

Here's my assessment of the team..

  • Offense
  • QB - 10
  • RB - 8.5
  • WR - 8
  • OL - 7 (Should be an 8.5 by start of B1G play)
  • TE - 10
  • Special Teams
  • K - 7
  • P - 10
  • Defense
  • DL - 10
  • LB - 8.5
  • DB - 8.5 
  • S - 8.5
+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Oh no, we don't have wide receivers! Our passing game is doomed!

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+8 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Ugh, you edited it. Now my snark looks dumb. :(

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+9 HS
LouGroza's picture

Oh well, it is snark week.:)

+15 HS
Chark's picture

Snark Week, Hoo Hah Hah!

Alcohol will not solve any of your problems, but then again, neither will milk or water.

+1 HS
Dips's picture

So happy to hear that jalin will be contributing. I expect big things.

+4 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

While I believe that Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall are better weapons for a quick passing game than Philly Brown was, a "quick passing game" on its own is not that hard to defend.  The defense just floods the zones and triggers on screens.  Only if the safeties have to worry about stopping the run in front of them, or a receiver getting free behind them, do those quick passes become effective. Buckeyes still have to attack in between the tackles, and find the TE down the seams.

+4 HS
jonping67's picture

I agree Ahh Saturday.

This offense is going to be more explosive and possibly better (if the o-line comes around quickly) than last years team.

Hovenaut's picture

I'm also a little surprised regarding Braxton and his progress coming back from shoulder surgery, after hearing he was fine coming out of the spring. 

Of course, I'm also no doctor...so I'll put my faith in what Meyer is stating here in bringing Braxton back cautiously. 

I'll say this - if Ohio State isn't to rely on their starting QB early on, I'm certainly hoping he's there for the stretch run. It's time for this spread to click - and to me, that means effective production from effective ball distribution. 

+1 HS
OSUBias's picture

I think there is broader implication than anyone here seems to be discussing. Braxton has always had timing issues; he's perpetually late on his throws. Whether this helps him stay on the field long term or not, he's lost an incredible amount of reps building timing with his receivers. This is a huge issue. Color me concerned that he's not going to progress at all this year. 

Shitter's full

+4 HS
Urban Nation Army's picture

Meyer also confirmed Ezekiel Elliott’s wrist surgery and said he expects to have the freshman running back in practice some time next week.

I like your thinking... Unfortunately we only have 3 more years of Zeke

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

+3 HS
Young_Turk's picture

Plain Dealer said Braxton was withheld from a scrimmage Saturday.  Is this true?  

http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2014/08/ohio_state_buckeyes_qb_braxton_1.html#incart_river

Pa_snoborder's picture

Why when I see a pic of brax I see him growing up looking like Bill Cosby?  Sorry, I just had to say it.

"No one puts baby in a corner!" - P.Swayze.

+1 HS
buckskin's picture

Urban to Samuel: "You had me at destroying 5 star LB Dante Booker in the circle drill."

+3 HS
OSUBias's picture

Obligatory FIRE FICKELL placed here

Shitter's full

whiskeyjuice's picture

Faster team than last year, huh? That would be awesome to see noticeable difference of speed on the field.

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

+1 HS
Bloombergl's picture

Faster?  northwestern just heard that and fired the entire grounds crew.  Can you imagine?  If we played at Northwestern this year, it would be like running through the fields sound of music style.  Those guys won't cut the grass for the next several years.

+1 HS
Go Buckeyes14's picture

Everyone need to reeeeelaaaaxxxx about Braxton and his shoulder. Urban has said it over and over again that they were going to monitor his activity during the first few weeks of camp. Just go back and watch some of the interviews that he's had recently. Lets not freak out until there's some to freak out about.

Poison nuts's picture

Who's freaking out? 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

OSUBias's picture

Losing reps. Every day losing reps. 

Shitter's full

allinosu's picture

Not all bad. Backup gaining reps everyday. Never know, may be a blessing.

+2 HS
Dmac3212's picture

Its not the actual shoulder, its the loss of reps. He had a lot of work to do this offseason to become a complete quarterback. 

ibuck's picture

Braxton's been throwing to some of the receivers all summer—presumably without any monitoring or limitation. Was there any soreness from that?

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

+1 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

Braxton's shoulder STILL hurts, BAD sign. Monitoring wouldn't be necessary if he was 100%. After 2 days of practice AND being monitored, he said his shoulder was hurting.

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

Again, have you ever tried to throw a football a lot after not throwing one after a while. Shit starts to get sore naturally. It takes time to get those muscles loose enough so it doesn't become jello arm so fast. Has little to do with surgery and if so, soreness is okay. Twing of pain can be fine. It just takes time. To build it back up to his level.
I'm sure if The Game was tomorrow he would be 100% right now. Its just being cautious when catious is acceptable. Better now than week 2.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
OSUBias's picture

Can't have it both ways. Urban says, Herman says, he has to make "huge" strides for this team to get where it wants to be. Can't do that icing on the sidelines, I'm sorry.

We should be worried.  He's injured and they haven't even started hitting him yet! 

Shitter's full

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

again, its not the hitting that is what they are concerned with. It is over working an arm that is currently not used to the regular work that he would have at this time. IT IS HIS THROWING ARM! Has nothing to do with concern of getting hit. Just get over that. He needs to get back into shape. A person can be healthy and in shape but not football ready, you have heard that right?

Rehab isn't just getting the muscles right after the surgery, it is also getting back to the workload that they are accustomed too. Someone could have ankle surgery and in 6 months be perfectly health and fine to walk around and do normal things, but that doesn't mean they can throw on shoes and go run a marathon the next day! You have to rebuild the strength and if you do it too fast you could re-injure something.

Just because a player is 100% doesn't mean they are ready to go play right away. They don't have to be "hurting" or "still injured" to need more time to get back to normal. It doesn't happen that way. If this was his other shoulder, I'm sure there wouldn't be a concern. If this was his ribs, I'm sure he would be throwing everyday no problem. BUT ITS NOT, it is his throwing shoulder and it takes time.

so for you or anyone to assume he is still hurt, and I mean ASSUME because you all don't know shit just like the rest of us, doesn't mean he is hurt. He just isn't used to throwing a hundred footballs in the span of a workout yet! Don't have to be "still injured" for that to be the case!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
Dmac3212's picture

Once against he shoulder not the issue its the lacks of reps and progression. If he doesn't improve his decision making, touch, and accuracy I can't see a championship in the near future. 

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I doubt a full load of work from this point to the first game of the season will make that much of a difference in development. If he isn't ready in regards to development, it won't happen now either.

and my points are towards those who are concerned about his injury and thinking he is still hurt. I wasn't discussing his abilities as a talented passer. I think you veered onto the wrong discussion.

and just a quick question since you did retort, so you are saying that teams can't win championships with QBs at his currently level of passing skills? Because Tebow certainly wasn't better than Braxton is now. I say this team is fine on offense (it scores enough) to win a championship. I would be more concerned if the defense is ready to win a championship more than Braxton's abilities. I believe Braxton was good enough last year to win a Natty, the defense wasn't.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Dmac3212's picture

Tebow was much better at distributing the ball, and by far the better decision maker than Braxton. Tebow is arguably the greatest CFB player of all time. His junior year he had 30 passing tds and 4 interceptions with a perfect QB rating. Im not quite sure Braxtons on that level. The offense gets very stagnate when its Braxton centric. Its very predictable, Braxton shortcomings as a passer limited the offense to quick hitches or the deep ball. The Intermediate passing game was non existing. With that being said Braxton will lead the offense to 40 plus points per game. But, there will come a time in the season when the Buckeyes are down late in the 4th quarter, and they need to throw the ball to win. Im not yet convinced Braxton can lead that 2 minute drill against an elite defense when they know the pass is coming ( take Winston's drive against Auburn). Thats why every rep is important, and an entire off season missed hurts even more. Maybe Braxton has hit his ceiling. But I sure as hell would like to find out if he could improve his accuracy and touch.But It will all come down to his decision making. If that improves I have confidence.

I still believe football is won on the line of scrimmage, especially on the defensive side of the ball. A great defense can make up for almost anything. I think the D will improve but it won't be great.

Squirrel Master's picture

Im not yet convinced Braxton can lead that 2 minute drill against an elite defense

what do you consider an elite defense, this:

or how about a couple of these, http://www.landgrantholyland.com/2014/6/12/5804564/breaking-down-all-six...

point is, Braxton has been just fine these past couple of years when it comes to scoring when it is needed. You want to blame Clemson and MSU on Braxton (short yardage should have gone to Hyde and Philly shouldn't muff punts), fine, but us logical people know that Braxton wasn't the issue last year or the year before.

and again, if Braxton had the defense that Tebow had (and the receivers, ala Percy Harvin), I'm sure Braxton would have no issue putting up enough points. A bad defense keeps the offense OFF the field limiting Braxton's ability to make more plays. I guarantee that Braxton would have eclipsed a bunch of passing stats if he had A) more opportunities with a better defense and B) receivers that don't let the ball hit them in the hands and fall to the ground.

I'm not saying Braxton can't improve, but the improvement over the course of say.......two weeks......won't be enough to make as much as a difference as IDK......a better defense!

After watching the last two years, anyone who says Braxton is the reason why this team is held back from winning a National Championship is bat shit crazy! IF this defense is anywhere above HALF of the teams in the NCAA, I am confident this team can and WILL win a National Championship. I believe the "Ohio State RECORD SETTING offense" will do just fine!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Dmac3212's picture

Even Stevie Wonder could see the defense was the only thing holding the Bucks back last year. That is no debate. I knew you were going  to post the Wisconsin video. The real hero was Jordan Hall with his return. Braxton made an athletic play to get out of the pocket and made a great throw on the run. But may I add with the help of a blown coverage. I never questioned his athleticism or his deep ball. I questioned his intermediate passing game and decision making. Those attributes were not shown in the 6 "comebacks" posted above. I don't care how he gets it done, a win is a win, but BM still has holes in his game. Admitting Braxton isn't the perfect quarterback doesn't make me disloyal, it make me truthful. I'm not as concerned with the reps he's missing in practice, as I am with the work load he missed in the off season with George Whitfield. 

Squirrel Master's picture

Yeah but you are trying to argue that the two weeks he is missing will make that much of a difference. I agree Braxton isn't great in the passing game, I just don't see that as something that will change in that time frame. He is healthy, he just needs time to get back into it. I haven't read or heard anything that says he won't be on the field come game one. and he will just have to work on things in the first game.

but the defense really needs to get better in two weeks or there will be no championship, no matter how good Braxton gets.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

allinosu's picture

Agreed, took me forever to scratch my ass properly. Hope it's not his wiping hand side. 

+1 HS
ibuck's picture

Is it Von or Vonn Bell?  We should get the spelling right on our own players.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

Vonn but Victor Von Doom works too.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
Dayton Buckeye's picture

I love Braxton, but he has to lose that yellow and Blue jacket.

+2 HS
apack614's picture

I'm beginning to worry about Braxton and his shoulder, at first it seemed as if he was completley healed from surgery and was in the "best shape of his life" but now it is coming off as more of a scare for other teams to almost over prepare for Braxton and to not worry so much about other threats that we have. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sit out most of the Navy game after we get a decent lead I say he gets pulled.

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

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Color me a little concerned, too.  I think he'll be fine for the season, though...I just don't like that he's missed out on so many reps.  At least with his experience, it shouldn't be too damaging.  The only thing is if he will actually make strides of any kind in terms of improving his passing.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
chitown buckeye's picture

Yeah, I feel a bit concerned as well. Forget about making strides on improving, I'm just hoping he can play and be as effective as last year. He has always had injury problems throughout his career and those came when he started the season 100% healthy. Him starting the season dinged up is very scary.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

+1 HS
GoBucksToledo's picture

Is Warren Ball still on the team?  I haven't heard his name at all in the RB discussions I have been reading. Thanks in advance.

+1 HS
Patrick Maks's picture

He's still on the team, but been hampered by a foot injury. Was in boot until last Saturday. Spent the day jogging around the field.