With Season Opener Looming, Questions Still Linger About Braxton Miller's Health

By Patrick Maks on August 16, 2014 at 1:22p
76 Comments

Just two weeks and a handful of two-a-days separate Ohio State from a season swathed in Big Ten and national championship hopes. Questions, though, still linger about the health of its best player. 

Braxton Miller, who had shoulder surgery in February, remains limited in practice and, yes, that seems cause for concern with the team’s season opener looming against Navy.

Coach Urban Meyer said the senior quarterback and Heisman hopeful will be ready. 

“I’ve known Braxton for three years and it’s almost like looking at your son, you can see in his face if he’s concerned. And he’s not,” Meyer said Saturday. “I trust that he’ll be ready, but I’d like to run the first team out there and go. And we’re not able to do that right now.”

Meyer said Miller participated in Saturday morning’s scrimmage, but “just limited throws is where we’re at right now.”

“We’re expecting him Monday to hopefully take a big step. From what they tell me, he’s right on schedule, you’d like to have him to do a bit more but he did scrimmage today and attitude’s great. He’ll be ready.”

The Buckeyes insist it’s part of a plan to ease Miller back into the swing of things after spending spending spring ball in a sling. Miller, though, has been hampered from throwing the football for most of the team's fall camp. 

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

Ohio State’s now down to two.

76 Comments

Comments

Baroclinicity's picture

Something doesn't seem right here...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+17 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

My prediction....some short passes....and a whole lotta running by our backs...and a few...a few passes by Braxton.

And if Braxton is not ready medically to take a pounding.....we may see our #2 qb  executing a whole lotta running plays with a few minimal passes....just as they may have planned for Braxton.

+4 HS
Urbz4President's picture

I feel confident about Cardale taking a bunch of touches. That dude is massive. Not sure how I feel about him passing and reading defenses, but I like his size and speed. But from what I've been reading today, Barrett is the next guy up. #InUrbanWeTrust

+3 HS
IH8UOFM's picture

I said the day that Braxton's surgery was made public, that they should start Cardale and run a triple option of their own. I think they could pull it off since they've been scouting it for the game anyways...

+1 HS
TossTrap's picture

In my mind if this was not a serious concern OSU coaches would directly say that physicians tell them not to rush activity on this kind of rehab. I am hearing too many other quotes not to be concerned.

You have to know that there is something wrong here, and I fear the coaching staff is dealing with issues of how to get the most out of a less than successful shoulder surgery and how to get that shoulder through an entire season.

The reason I am in a funk about this situation is that Braxton is the singular reason I dream of a successful season, B1G championship, and beyond.

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

+1 HS
Tater_Schroeder's picture

I have no concerns with his health.  My only concern is if his timing with the receivers will be where it needs to be.  With that said,  in Urban we trust! 

How Firm Thy Friendship

+13 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

Well, if the shoulder is still iffy may have to rely on Braxton's very skillful feet more than the staff would have liked otherwise, and some short screen passes to playmakers, as well as running the ball a higher percentage than would be preferred.  Hopefully after a couple of games Brax can start slinging it down the field with regularity.  Two tough opening opponents unfortunately.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
OH1O State's picture

Braxton Miller is the difference between an undefeated season and an 8-win season.

But I know UFM has everything under control.

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

+4 HS
OH1O State's picture

Judging by the down votes, a few of you disagree.  I'm assuming it is because you think the Buckeyes would win 12 games this year without Braxton? ...that's arguable.

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

+3 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Well I'm concerned.  

Someone call Mr Miyagi to do that hand rub thing.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+34 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

Wax On. Wax Off. It's all Daniel-San (and we) need to know for know.

Citrus's picture

His health will be fine. The Buckeyes should be able to dispatch Navy with or without Brax. My concern is that the offense isn't getting timing down. The backfield is loaded. The run game can be leaned on heavily until Brax is 100% and the timing is perfect.

+1 HS
Rob Reese's picture

This.  I echo the sentiment that Brax is going to be just fine.  And your next point as well; if his timetable gets shifted, the backfield should be more enough to thwart Navy, even if we tell them the play ahead of time each down.

tOSU class of 2009, College of Arts and Sciences

buckeyepastor's picture

I'm sure he'll be healthy, but he needs reps because his receivers need reps.  It's easy to say, "He's a four-year starter, he knows what he's doing."  But timing wise, there are a lot of questions.  Especially when most of the guys who are hoped to be stepping up and having break-out seasons were either red-shirted last year (Mike Thomas, Jalin Marshall, James Clark) or were at other schools (Jeff Greene, Curtis Samuel).   I trust that Heuerman, Smith, and Spencer will be in sync with Miller, but we need more than that.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

OSUBias's picture

You forgot, "his timing has been late to quite late" his whole career. It's not just new receivers; he needs to anticipate throws and throw people open in order to jump a level. It's not happening while he's getting mental reps, it's just not. 

Shitter's full

+1 HS
nikolajz1's picture

I still dont get why they waited until May to do surgery on his shoulder since it was messed up during the Clemson game. 

Too bad we don't have Kenny G for another year. 

-2 HS
Patrick Maks's picture

He had surgery in February. 

swainpm's picture

Surgery is always a last option, post-op rehab is too timely and unpredictable. If he had responded as predicted he would be on schedule. But he didn't.

On the other hand if his body had taken to the rehab chosen before surgery he would have been throwing months ago. And thus would have had time to build timing and work his skill/instead of getting cut open.

Both choices (immediate or delayed surgery) carry risk and different rewards, BUT the chosen path was the correct one.

+2 HS
Kid Buckeye's picture

Could we see 3 backs in a diamond formation if his shoulder is still questionable?

countrybuckeye's picture

That would be cool.

By the way, what have they been practicing to prepare for Navy's run attack?

"Momma told me there would be days like this."

JohnnyKozmo's picture

I sure hope they are practicing defending the triple option and not the spread.  I don't think Navy is going to throw too many surprises at us.

BSTP DeCon's picture

I'm not concerned at all with his shoulder. If he was concerned, word would've slipped out from him or someone else, and we all know Urban isn't the one to hide around from what his true thoughts are..

+1 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

Tru Dat.  Urban Meyer will say what he means, and mean what he says.  But not in a mean way.  

"Momma told me there would be days like this."

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

If Monday rolls around and Brax doesn't take this huge step, like this article states, then I would think there is definitely something wrong.

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

ibuck's picture

Bill Rabinowitz of the Dispatch quotes Meyer indicating that J.T. Barrett has edged past sophomore Cardale Jones...

“Functionality, completing passes, understanding everything, growing up a little bit,” Meyer said of the reasons for Barrett’s rise. “He was always a little bit of a quiet guy. He’s starting to act like a quarterback.”

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
buckeyedude's picture

Or, Urban could be just saying that to pressure Cardale more. You don't know with Urban and his Psych 101. It could all be mind games.

 

 

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

True as what Meyer wants most from the team in these off season camps are to compete with each other like they can all win the starting spot. By stating that about J.T. moving ahead of Cardale, hopefully they will motivate Cardale and at the same time, encourage J.T. to keep doing what he is doing.

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

OSUBias's picture

Think we've argued about this before, but...it's time to start worrying. I'm not talking about Navy, I don't care about them. It's about the whole season, and if he's not running this offense like a boss we are not gonna win big. And they don't develop as a complete offense while he's riding pine. I am shocked that anyone here thinks he wouldn't be getting 98% of the reps if he were really good to go. He's hurt, or way behind rehab schedule, or both. 

Shitter's full

-1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

He may "be ready to play", but I worry how 'well' he'll  be able to play. Timing, communication, arm strength, all concerns for me. Accuracy and footwork.  Need reps to improve. I know its his fourth year and all but I was hoping for a big jump in his passing skills, and this might limit that or at the very least delay the progress..

"You can see in his face if he's concerned and he's not"..."I trust that he'll be ready".... "We're not able to do that right now"..."You'd like him to do a bit more"..."He'll be ready"...Not the most comforting endorsement so close to the opener.

It sounds like physically he will be fine.  But his mechanics may suffer somewhat, at least for a game or two, from the limited practice.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

countrybuckeye's picture

Maybe Braxton, to assert himself more as a vocal leader, took the opportunity to discuss his progress and his plan with his receivers.  Something to the effect, "Make space on your cover, so I can get you the ball."

"Momma told me there would be days like this."

Bucks's picture

Torn on this. Part of me attributes this to him being injury prone & the staff intentionally healing as much as possible. 

Still, two weeks from game time and our starting QB isn't getting reps. 

(Edit: Past that, the closer the opener gets with no Xbrax, the more I believe there isn't much faith in his backups)

Bucks's picture

Coop says he is serviceable @ best. At BEST.

teddyballgame's picture

I felt like I was taking crazy pills reading all that Heisman stuff last week.  Call me crazy but, a quarterback who barely throws the ball for an entire offseason isn't who I'd bet on.

Meyer is already playing mind games with the backups like today when he casually mentioned that "Jt has slightly passed Cardale".  He's trying to light a fire under them because he's starting to realize he might have to use them more than he imagined.

+4 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

I fear you are right about Urban lighting a fire because Brax is just not ready yet. The signals from the coaching staff are not encouraging or reassuring to me, but I understand them. I assume they surely don't want Navy to know what is going on, or if there is an issue with Braxton as the starter.

+2 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

“We’re expecting him Monday to hopefully take a big step. From what they tell me, he’s right on schedule, you’d like to have him to do a bit more but he did scrimmage today and attitude’s great. He’ll be ready.”

Take this quote as the headline for the story and the whole article is different.  

+2 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yep, Brax is right on schedule, but they wish he could have been practicing/scrimmaging more. I expect that he'll be physically fine two weeks from now, but a little rusty. Hopefully all the "mental reps" over the last six months will pay off this season.

+1 HS
Patrick Maks's picture

Disagree. The story here is your starting QB isn't taking reps with 14 days before the season opener. That's bizarre, and potentially real cause for concern.

The timeline is bizarre, too. We start in late July with Urban declaring Braxton is "in the best shape of his life" and "100 percent" ready to go at Big Ten Media Days. A week later, when it was clear Miller wasn't throwing the ball much, it turned into "we're just easing him in, he's fine, it's part of the plan" (paraphrasing). Last Sunday, it was "if the game was tomorrow, we'd be very cautious with him." Yesterday, it was "he's still limited, we hope/we think he'll be ready. But we can't run our first-team offense like we want to." 

My point is the talking points changed from "he's completely fine, he's in the best shape of his life" to "we hope/we think/we're confident he'll be fine by the opener." Those are two really different things. It's clearly a matter that's out of Urban's control, and you can hear the frustration in his voice. I believe Urban when he says he thinks Braxton will be ready because of course he does. But to definitively say he's completely fine and there's nothing (even every-so-slightly) wrong here is misleading. 

OSUBias's picture

Oh hello, rational thought.

We are not playing coy with effing Navy, give me a break. He's way behind schedule or something else is wrong, we should be very, very worried until proven otherwise.

Regardless, our offense will have no timing since he's resting and...ugh whatever. He needs to step up if he's healthy and lead this team. If he's not, he better start coaching the backups. We ain't come to play second place. 

Shitter's full

-1 HS
73buckeye's picture

I agree completely. All this smoke and mirrors and the "we hope, should be, we think" qualifiers being used tell me there is something wrong and we're being conditioned for a disappointment. It's a long way from from where Braxton reportedly is now to be to where this team needs him to be in only two weeks. Don't sell Navy short. Those kids can compete. 

ernie

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I'm at DefCon two and rising.

Given his history, new faces up front, and the fact that the word is no doubt out on the subject this situation has the potential to go bad quickly.

I'll trust what the folks on the inside are saying regarding him being ready, but I think Braxton is really going to be slow out of the gate in Baltimore.

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

+7 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Defcon 1 is when we launch out nukes.  Please don't rise anymore HOV.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+10 HS
Hovenaut's picture

They took the codes away a long time ago anyway Fitz...my DefCon 2 is the equivalent of having to drink from Solo cups when I'm in the Lounge...

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

+5 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Dear God.  Not the Solo cups.  What happened to the good crystal?

+2 HS
InvertMyVeer's picture

Earle.

Football is complicated...

+1 HS
AndyVance's picture

I'm just happy to see someone on the interwebz understands that DEFCON Five is not the sign of impending apocalypse. 

+1 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

When I first read Hove's DefCon comment I, too, immediately thought of the General from NORAD in War Games lol. 

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+1 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

Cardale Jones at QB Braxton at tailback.

-4 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

So he can get his shoulder banged up more on a run?

+7 HS
BeatTTUN's picture

So The Ohio State Buckeyes WIN games with a back up until Braxton is 100%.
I don't care if the wins look like they got bashed in the face with an ugly stick. An ugly win is still down right bodacious.

Go Buckeyes Beat Michigan

+3 HS
VintonCountyBuck's picture

Thank you.

honestly who gives a shit.  Short passes on stop routes require very little timing.  Handing the ball off doesn't seem to bother your throwing shoulder, too much.  Just get the ball out to our playmakers.  Get the win. Go home.  It don't have to be pretty..Just Win, Baby!

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

+3 HS
ShoeHolder's picture

Exactly. 

"Hippies. They're everywhere. They wanna save the Earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad."

+2 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

How many Pro teams would start a quarterback who has seen as little practice as Braxton ?

Not sure i would want him to take any hits,  and regress his healing progress.

+2 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I refuse to think Coach Meyer is lying to us. I agree, Brax has been injury prone so I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed he's just being protected and hasn't tore up his shoulder (because he was seemingly fine in June and July). If he's throwing with pain? Good lord.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+2 HS
CptBuckeye24's picture

Don't think Urban lied?  He already did.  Said he was 100% at media days and ready to go.  Well, 2 weeks to the opener and we have not seen Braxton fully practice.  That narrative was created to deter questions and speculation at the start of camp and to avoid distractions.  Look, if he was sore and they hold him out for a few scattered practices, fine.  But the team has everything to gain with him running the 1st team offense, this is a major development for the course of the season.

I will concede that the schedule can allow for limited practicing.  OSU's season is determined what happens from Oct 18th and on.  These 8 games (including B1G game) determine the season I am not too particularly worried about the first five games (Navy, VT, Kent St, Cincy, and Maryland) but any one of those teams (minus Kent St) could give OSU a tougher game than expected.  OSU can pace itself with 2 bye weeks before Oct 18th.  But this team better be peaking in November.  7 regular season games without a bye week is brutal.

-2 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

If he were still in an arm sling, i'd be worried.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

+3 HS
OnlyOne's picture

I'm a little confused.  Photos were posted of Braxton working out in the summer, and there was talk of him working with the QB guru.  Was he throwing the ball in the summer?  Did he throw too much in the summer?  Or is it contact they are worried about?  Anyone have any thoughts on these questions?

+5 HS
buckeyeSar's picture

I was thinking the same thing. There is a video on Braxton's Instagram (posted about a month and half ago) of him doing some throwing drills, and he looked pretty good.

+2 HS
SDBuckIPA's picture

I'm confused by this. Wasn't he working out (passing) all summer with jalin Marshall and in LA with Whitfield and Mike Thomas?

+5 HS
ibuck's picture

After today's scrimmage, per Bill Rabinowitz of the C'bus Dispatch:

Meyer said that several players, particularly in the secondary, are battling nagging injuries. Cornerbacks Doran Grant, Armani Reeves and Marshon Lattimore all have hamstring issues.

Looks like the conditioning part of Strength and Conditioning may not be as good as expected.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

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

-2 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

I'm more concerned about how be feels for the Va Tech game than Navy. They have enough talent, even with a limited or inactive Miller to beat Navy. However, it'd be nice for him to be full strength for that game. 

In the illustrious words of Bill Gambini, "There's nuthin' to worry about until there's sumthin' to worry about."

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+2 HS
blazers34's picture

So much for limiting his runs. Gonna be read option after read option

tjbucvik23's picture

I am very concerned. The fact that he's not yet 100% is very troubling. I hope both back ups get serious reps for the next 2 weeks.

So many are saying - If he can't throw, he can just run more. WRONG. If it hurts to throw, imagine how he will feel taking a hard hit and having a tackler take him down on that tender shoulder. Just like every year I want everything to be perfect for the Buckeyes. It seems like Braxton should have been throwing consistently a month ago. The fact that he's not sounds like a big problem. Finally, if he has injury problems this season....... it will kill him on draft day.

+3 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

THIS.   When they first started talking about this a week ago, it just sounded off to me.  It doesn't seem right.  I'll be really glad to be wrong, but…….

brbrbuckeye's picture

Braxton is ready, relax everyone. They just would rather him not hit his shoulder before the season.

GO BUCKS!!! URBAN RENEWAL!

-1 HS
Jabba1977's picture

Hopefully he will be 100% ready comes the first game against Navy!!

SECHATER77

BuckeyeDevil's picture

So how does Navy 14 compare to the Navy 09 team that was a 2 point conversion away from a tie with us and then went on to win a whole bunch of games the rest of the year including beating Missouri in a bowl game?

BuckeyeChris's picture

He should have been off the field at the end of the Clemson game, hindsight being 20/20.  I would prefer too see Cardale/TJ in any combo over risking losing Brax for the season in the first game.  They're going to need snaps this year, anyway.  Why not sooner than later (especially if Brax isn't 100 ... or even 85%)? 

RUNTOWIN's picture

I believed Urban's whole "pitch count" thing until his presser yesterday when he said he wished he could do more.  I don't think Urban is worried about Braxton's health.  I don't think Braxton is worried about his health.  Rather, during the limited reps Braxton is taking...Urban and Herman are seeing the same inconsistent, inaccurate QB as last year.  That's concerning.  VERY concerning.

Health aside, if Braxton got ZERO reps in spring and limited reps in camp...when did he have a chance to get better?  Riiiiiight....he wore a camera on his head and watched.  Riiiiiight, he worked with the QB guru on the beach in CA.  Riiiiiight, he spent every Friday night of the off season in the WHAC.  Riiiiight, he's in the best shape of his life.  (CrossFit Champions are in great shape but I bet they can't see a LB carry a TE up the seem or a corner rob the flat.)  That stuff would work for a QB far along in his development.  REPS, REPS, REPS...that's what gets a QB developed.  Seeing the defense live, ID'ing coverages during the drop, making the throws, watching HIMSELF on tape, and making corrections in the next practice is what develops a QB in the passing game.  Not standing back and avoiding injury.  He's not a 35 year old veteran NFL QB.  Hell, the top QB's in the NFL get reps...that's how they stay TOP NFL QB's.  

No...the concern here isn't his current health.  THE CURRENT concern is where he is in his development.  IF that development hasn't happened...and he's the same QB that he's been, the health concern lies somewhere down the road because if Herman and Meyer can't win games via Brax's arm dealing the ball to the DUDES he has around him...they'll have to revert to trying to win on his legs.  That makes the offense somewhat one dimensional by taking away some balance. THAT will inevitably lead to an injury.  It's charted history since his freshman year of HS.

 Lets hope the pitch count comes to an end on Monday.

-2 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

Jones is a big boy and hopefully he's ready to step in. He's massive and could probably, pull a TP, lower his shoulder and take out a defender.

I've had numerous shoulder injuries, and generally after the first one, it's compromised and may happen again. I hope he gets healthy.

Break out the run game; NU won a couple MNCs with bonecrushing D, barely throwing the ball and running for several hundred on the ground.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

BeijingBucks's picture

I for one am more nervous about the Backups now.  I feel if Urban had more confidence in them he might be willing to take a small chance with Brax.  This isn't about Navy, this is a microcosm of the entire season. a tempest in a teacup until opening day.

two weeks! we're. not. gonna. make. it.  

 

 

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

GOOMBAY's picture

Meyer said Miller participated in Saturday morning’s scrimmage, but “just limited throws is where we’re at right now.”

Any insight on what "limited" refers to? Fewer than 10 throws? Nothing over 10-yard passes? (10 is completely arbitrary on my part)

Just curious to know if it's more about not being 100 percent or not even attempting major motions/reps with the arm. 

buckeyestu's picture

The ledge is sure crowded. My main concern is not Brax, it is the defense.

+2 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Some suggested reading:

 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

MiltonBuckeye's picture

Braxton was constantly hurt in high school and since he has been at OSU. He is injury prone and he will milk that surgery to the max. Sorry if that offends but I've been following this young man for years and he is always injured.
Hopefully the backups are ready to step in and fill the gap left by Kenny G.

Go Dogs, Go Bucks

+1 HS