The curious case of Braxton Miller’s surgically-repaired shoulder continued Monday morning, but Ohio State’s most important player has a message for fretting fans.
“You know I'm fine, it's just progression in my shoulder and it's precaution,” the senior quarterback and Heisman hopeful said. “I don't want to overdo it before the first game and I gotta sit out the first game ... it's part of the plan, we talk about it every day.”
Still, it’s a bizarre circumstance to be in considering the Buckeyes are less than two weeks away from their season opener against Navy.
Miller, who had surgery in February, and the coaching staff maintain he’s “100 percent” and that it’s all part of a plan to ease him back into the swing of things after spending spring ball in a sling.
But with every day that passes, Miller loses precious reps and Ohio State loses precious time to fortify an offense filled with new faces at just about every position.
“They're missing my voice out there,” Miller said. “They still hear me, but I'm not calling the plays. I'm still out there coaching, leading the guys, but I'm not taking all the reps and throwing.”
Ohio State, though, hasn’t hit the panic button. Not yet.
“I think the trainers are optimistic and everything is on schedule. Had a little bit of a setback with some additional soreness that we weren't expecting,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said. “I'm not ready to say concerned is the right word."
- Miller said he anticipated a slow reintegration: “I knew this was gonna happen because (my shoulder’s) not in shape. I was throwing full-go every other day in the summer. And right now, it's practice every day. I can't throw it every day and just blow it out and be sore for the next two-a-day so we gotta take it slow.”
- Herman echoed head coach Urban Meyer when he said they’ll know more after Miller throws the ball in Monday afternoon’s practice. “On two-a-days, we give him the morning off throwing and then he throws in the afternoon, so he'll throw this afternoon. Got a lot of reps with the team today this morning because it's kind of a run emphasis in the morning in full pads so we threw him in for all the runs with the number one offense and did a good job with all his reads and getting guys lined up and getting them in the right spot, but we'll know a lot more this afternoon's practice in terms of how the arm's feeling.”
- What happens if Ohio State’s worst-case-scenario comes to fruition? What happens if Miller can’t play against the Midshipmen? “At the end of the day, he missed three weeks last year and came back against Wisconsin and one of the best games of his career so I don't anticipate any ill effects from that,” Herman said.
- Herman said Miller was cleared to throw the football at full-speed in early July. “I think it was like every other day he was out here throwing routes. Full-speed throwing, take a day off, come back out.”