What Braxton Miller's Season-Ending Injury Means for Ohio State

By Patrick Maks on August 19, 2014 at 5:05p

When it broke that star quarterback Braxton Miller had shoulder surgery in February, Ohio State described it as a “minor, outpatient” procedure. Six months later, who would’ve thought it’d all come to this?

Miller, who was the crux of a championship-fueled campaign, will miss the 2014 season after re-injuring his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder Monday afternoon, according to multiple reports. He had an MRI Tuesday morning, and according to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, he has a torn labrum. An Ohio State spokesman said the school plans on sending out a release, but hasn't done so as of early this evening. 

It’s a dizzying and stunning series of events that started to unfold three weeks ago. Miller went from being “in the best shape of his life” to curiously limited in the team’s training camp.

But Miller, head coach Urban Meyer, and the rest of the coaching staff all maintained the senior and Heisman hopeful was fine. They said it was part of a plan to ease a tender arm back into throwing the ball after missing all of spring ball to recover from surgery. After a tepid Spring Game in April saw backup quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones flounder, life without Miller (and a trusted second option like Kenny Guiton) seemed like a nightmarish scenario. It's now a reality for the Buckeyes. 

To fill the gaping void, Ohio State will most likely rely on the services Barrett, a redshirt freshman quarterback without collegiate game experience. But the Wichita Falls, Texas, native and former four-star recruit impressed Meyer enough to move "slightly" ahead of Jones on the depth chart. A source told Eleven Warriors Barrett took reps with the first-team offense Tuesday morning.

"He was always kind of a quiet guy," Meyer said Saturday. "He’s starting to act like a quarterback.” 

Added offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman Monday: “The offense moves better when he’s in there," compared to Jones. “The offense moves more frequently when J.T. is the quarterback and that’s the sign of a good one.”  

Still, it's hard to imagine either Barrett or Jones truly replacing a player the caliber of Miller, who gave Ohio State its best chance to reach the first-ever college football playoff. Without arguably the nation's best dual-threat quarterback, the Buckeyes will have to find a way to adjust their game plan to the talented, but considerably less dynamic and experienced options in Barrett and Jones.

Perhaps exacerbating an already frustrating situation, Ohio State still finds itself very much in the process of trying to fortify an offense that lost four multi-year starters on the offensive line, starting running back Carlos Hyde and top wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown. With tricky games against Navy, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in the first five weeks of the season, the Buckeyes will have to find a way to gel in spite of so many moving parts.

Without Miller, Ohio State's odds to win a national title in Meyer's third year in Columbus plummeted in among sportsbooks Tuesday afternoon. You have to figure its chances of winning a Big Ten championship also took a hit. 

In short, Barrett, if he remains the starter, will be thrown into a very, very hot fire when the Buckeyes play the Midshipmen in Baltimore. Much will be expected of a quarterback with such little experience. And really, it's hard to definitively predict how Barrett will perform. 

Days before Miller's surgery in February, Herman was asked to address Barrett during halftime of a basketball game against Northwestern. 

“A ton of intangibles. He’s reworked his body since he got here, came in kinda pudgy as a would-be high school senior and has basically spent a whole year reworking his body," he said. "He’s shown a lot of leadership on the scout team this year so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do thrown into the fray."

Who would've thought those words would be this true, this soon?

“His high school coach, Jim Garfield, and his parents deserve a ton of credit because he is a hell of a leader. You wanna talk about intangibles and just being able to feel when guys kinda have that “it” factor? He’s got that. And then he’s got a quick release, he’s pretty accurate. Those things are what drew us toward him.

"He’s done laying in the weeds and now he’s gotta go get out of the weeds and go attack this thing.”


Comments Show All Comments

TURD_BUCKET's picture

I bet JT will get laid a lot more now

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

-10 HS
gumtape's picture

I expect the mods will take care of this one...

High and tight boo boo

-2 HS
BuckNutzGasMan's picture

A bit funny acutally.  Probably not blog material.

+4 HS
Patriot4098's picture

Meh. I don't think for the mods. If I laugh, I laugh. I definitely laughed.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+3 HS
Dmac3212's picture

Just an awful situations. It's hard for me not to think tOSU butchered his rehab. There was just way to much hyperbole talk coming out of Urbans mouth. I feel like we got dicked around the last 2 weeks with the 100 percent talk when it was clearly a lie. Anyways I pray for his recovery and a great future. Hopefully we can still fight for that B1G

-4 HS
Furious George 27's picture

OSU didn't butcher anything, the rehab was set by his doctors. Operations are never the first resort and this is why because you just never know after they are done. Hence why pros get more opinions from other doctors

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+3 HS
Dmac3212's picture

Its a little different in major collegiate/professional sports with such a high success rate after surgery. This is modern science not 19th century. A lot of players prefer surgery especially in the off season because its fully healed and the come back faster and stronger than ever. I just don't like all the coach talk of 100 percent when clearly he wasn't. 

whiskeyjuice's picture

I wonder if Braxton did too much over the summer. He was throwing every other day, he was throwing during his Friday nights. But no point in spending more time speculating. J.T., you're up!!

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

+3 HS
Dmac3212's picture

I'm with you know...lots of work to do!

ibuck's picture

I don't understand why they didn't have the MRI last week, when he was having pain after light throwing. And before he caused more damage throwing. 

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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

zenshade's picture

Apparently the upvoters just read the last two sentences. Nothing before that bares any resemblance to reality.

+1 HS
Brutus1972's picture

Will XBrax Redshirt? If so and JT has a good season this year, how do you ask him to sit next year? I'd really like to see Jalin Marshall in the Wildcat for about 8-10 plays a game this year. Maybe not against Navy but certainly vs Va Tech and forward.

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Braxton will not play another game for tOSU.  He gains nothing for risking his health for another season.

Update-Guess I was wrong for now.  I still don't think he gains much by returning, but could end up risking everything.  I'm not a Braxton hater, but if he gets hurt again, especially the shoulder, his career is done as a QB, and if he switches to RB/WR, how many hits will he be able to take?

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

-3 HS
Burnsy's picture

Taking a medical redshirt gives him another season to prove his metal for the NFL. I disagree, he has every reason to come back. 

+6 HS
cal3713's picture

I think that completely depends on whether he wants to play QB or not.  If he does, it seems there's still a lot to prove to scouts. 

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

Braxton has spoken to the media and sounds determined to come back and play for OSU 1 more year.

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

JohnnyKozmo's picture

i don't disagree that he has a lot to prove.  my point is, he is risking everything coming back.   if he's 100% healthy come February, why not just enter the draft and throw at the combine and pro day?  He has 3 years of game film-that's plenty.  He's been extremely productive those 3 years.  Yes he has room to grow as a passer, but is the possible growth enough to get him into the 1st or 2nd round?  I don't know.  However, as injury prone as he has been, he's taking a big gamble that he won't get hurt AND make the leap as a passer.  if his goal is to win a conference and national championship, and to go out on his terms, more power to him and you can't fault him for that, and 2015 could be a very special year.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

Brutus1972's picture

we'll just get the Athletic Department to pay for his insurance.

The Butler's picture

ESPN just reported that he'll have surgery and wants to return in 2015.

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


+6 HS
The Butler's picture

If he does redshirt and he graduates, does he transfer? He wouldn't have to sit out a year, plus I think he still has to play a season without injury to shore up his stock in the NFL draft. If he doesn't play another college season, I see him signing with a NFL team as a free agent. I just think there are too many questions about his health and durability at this point.

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


OH1O State's picture

Lets say Braxton Redshirts.  Thinking very optimistically, if Barrett/Jones lead an amazing run and a season that sees 10-12 wins, a B1G Championship berth or more; gain the respect of the team and clearly embody the leadership role at QB... What do you do with a rehabbed, healthy, 5th-year Senior Braxton Miller next year?  You have to think they stick with Barrett/Jones in 2015 (assuming my dream scenario above comes to fruition).

Interesting to read the comment about Braxton potentially transferring. It might actually be a possibility... Unfortunately.

+1 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

Nail, meet Hammer.  You got it exactly.

Braxton coming back, after what the faithful here believe will be a fine season with JT Barrett in charge, would present the type of 'problem' (euphemistically speaking) we DO NOT WANT.  Cooler heads will prevail, and this possibility of Braxton returning to challenge his (optimistic here) successful replacement, will be worked out of the equation.

Call me stupid for this perception -- but no way in hell will Urban allow this scenario to transpire.  There would be no 'happy ending'.

But, who am I to tell Urban what to do.

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

+1 HS
shortbus20's picture

You are seriously going to tell a two time B1G player of the year that he can't play for us. I really don't understand the thinking behind this. Competition is good for every body including quarterback. I have no doubt that Braxton will easily win the job an JT will be a great #2.

  • shortbus20
+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Indeed just pure crazy talk....

buckeyes7222's picture

If JT can beat out Cardale Jones, who isn't wasting any of his time playing school, then I feel confident

+7 HS
NitroBuck's picture

JT Barrett will surprise a lot of people.  The Buckeyes still have a load of talent, if not so much experience.  The first few games will be tough, as it takes time to gel.  Fortunately, a re-tooled pass defense should help take some of the load off of the offense.  If we survive the first month of the season intact, great things may be in store.

Best wishes to Braxton for a full recovery.

Ferio.  Tego.

+2 HS
TheShookster's picture

You know Dontre and Eze and Jalin and Curtis...Johnny and Devin, Nick and Jeff...and you will recaaallllll the most famous Buckeye of all....

Yeah, we will be singing this about JT Barrett come Christmas time. I'm excited to watch the guy play. 

He ain't even stretch doe!!

+3 HS
countrybuckeye's picture


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

Vinsaniti's picture

Now I'm very anxious to see how he pans out. Lots of good things said about JT let's keep them going on the field

BrutusBuckey3's picture

If Brax decides not to redshirt...I think he surprises us and comes in later this season. Not nessicarily to throw the ball downfield, but we all know what he can do with those legs. 

keeponbraxtonmebabe's picture

My concern with that is the Buckeye offense will become too predictable if Braxton Miller comes back late in the season as a one-dimensional, running QB. Not to mention he would take an even bigger beating without the threat of a pass. Think Denard Robinson in the 2nd half of 2012, that did not work out well for TSUN. If the press release says BM is out for the season, then he is out for the season. A redshirt is really his only option, unless he wants to go to Canada or the arena league after his eligibilty expires after this year. If his draft stock wasn't high enough to go pro after this past season, it is basically non-existent now.

+2 HS
apack614's picture

We are all a broken record right now, yes we still have loads of talent, yes I feel absolutely awful that braxton went out like that and would give him my shoulder in a second if that were possible, and finally J.T. Barrett is a great player! We all just have to wait and see what happens, I think we will all be pleasantly surprised by the end of the season. Go Bucks and best of luck Braxton much love my friend!

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

+3 HS
GOOMBAY's picture

Hang on Sloopy!

+3 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

I think people should not want Braxton to redshirt. Not sure risking another year for an injury is the smart thing to do for him, and thinking for the football team, you'd have your QB of the future play an entire season only to be benched the following year? Im not sure its a good idea for Braxton or OSU for him to redshirt and come back. 

+2 HS
countrybuckeye's picture


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

WC Buckeye's picture

You could probably put just about any mediocre quarterback behind that line and have some success. These two are actually good quarterbacks - and really good athletes - so once they shake the jitters, I think they're going to be fine. Control the turnovers, be patient and let the line execute in front of you, and let the defense get you the ball in good position. This team will win 9 games if it just doesn't turn the ball over. There is obviously upside from there.

My biggest fear now is of Barrett trying to "do too much" - those things that may look like "gutting it out" or "stretching for the extra yards" may lead to fumbles, INT's, or worse, injury. If that happens, then I am really worried.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

RUNTOWIN's picture

This whole thing is a mess.  Especially from a PR standpoint.  Urban had said the WR position was a 'clown show' when he got here.  That's not the only clown show in town these days, it seems.  

Was Urban and Braxton wishfully thinking when they insisted up until the re-injury that he was "100%" and "in the best shape of his life"?  Was the info about the injury misleading in the 1st place?  Was there a lack of communication between the medical staff and Urban?  Or was it just a freak thing that has happened?

I have no idea.  Regardless, the whole thing is a train wreck.  

On the flip side, if Braxton wasn't here this year because he had graduated or left early...Cardale and JT would have been coached, prepped and repped just like they have been all off season.  So, the Buckeyes have two guys that have the talent and the ability to lead the team.  I'd say, while it's obviously not he preference of anyone, they Buckeyes still have a chance to win games.  It just won't be because Braxton made the Sportscenter highlight real.

countrybuckeye's picture

I feel your vibe.  I think something was fishy as the weeks wore on, and the meme was morphing.  That said, I wouldn't say "train wreck" as I believe "Opportunity Comes-a-knocking" is what we have here.

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

brglr14's picture

great players around him great coaches and he wears #16! enough said! lets get on with it! go bucks!

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.


AndyVance's picture

Pros and cons, gang:

  • Cons:
    • Braxton is out. All hail the king.
    • JT Barrett is untested as a college quarterback, and will be working behind four new starters on the offensive line.
    • Carlos Hyde is not here to save the day (also, flashbacks to 4th and Short - just give El Guapo the ball, dammit!
  • Pros:
    • Redshirt freshmen have done pretty well the past few seasons, and in both cases I will not mention their names.
    • Ohio State has done pretty well behind freshman quarterback lately. Miller held his own as a true freshman in a season we all want to forget, and Pryor went 8-1 as a starter his freshman season. In this offense, it is not hard to see how a freshman, especially one with a year in the system under his belt, can be successful.
    • Barrett was one of the top-ranked dual-threat quarterbacks in his recruiting class, and one we were all excited to see sign with the Buckeyes. He's still got all of those talents and intangibles we loved then.

Will we win 15 in a row and bring home the silver fleshlight? Time will tell. Will we be in capable hands? I certainly think so. 

Time and change will surely show...

+3 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

Well said AV, but still, I'm having a "wee bit" of Elijah Craig tonight, not in celebration as I normally would, but in wallowing in what could have been with #5 at the helm. Cheers

+3 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

An Elijah Craig reference will ALWAYS get an upvote!

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

SuperBuckFan08's picture

Good post but I'm a little confused on the use of the male "excitement" tool at the end.

Because I couldn't go for three.   -Woody-

countrybuckeye's picture

WOW.  That's a sad trophy.  I imagine a select committee *believed* this is the evolution of the Crystal Football.

Sad.  So very sad ...

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

KE's picture

All the best to Braxton. He will be back next year better than ever. And the 2014 Bucks will be just fine.

That said, I feel we have been actively misled by the team, right up through Monday morning. It is clear Braxton was not 100%, he was not in the best shape of his life, and everything was not OK. It's one thing not to release information; it's another to actively put out false information. I am disappointed in the Buckeyes.

FrontOfficeJT's picture

I'm sad Brax is hurt, but with all the talent around Barrett, the season isn't over. OSU will be fine ✊ get well Brax 



D-Day0043's picture

I am interested to see how Herman calls games this year. Will he go into a conservative shell? Or will he trust his players to make plays?

I can understand why he would ride Miller and Hyde last year due to their exceptional ability, but to become a complete team we need to use all of the weapons available. The  play calling was a bit predictable and conservative.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
bucks_symphony's picture

Yes the play calling became a bit predictable and conservative at times last year. But in Tom Herman's defense there, he was calling into the strength of Braxton which was to run and not pass. We saw the change in play calling when Braxton was injured last year and Kenny Guiton was in the game. Smooth Jazz was able to distribute the ball a little bit better and read defenses better so we saw a little bit a of a more balanced play call. We have now seen 3 years of Braxton. He has developed a little bit better each and every year as a passer but it was still inconsistent at times. I think we will see a little bit different play calling with JT Barrett. I'm sure Herman will call the game to his strengths as well but we will see what happens. I am hopeful.

+1 HS
AhhYes's picture

The longer I think about it, the less pessimistic I am about .50 Cal (Get it? Barret? .50 Cal? Eh?) at the helm. But then again, I'm horribly biased and what choice have I?

Someone else posted this here but I think it's also true for me: It's a tad refreshing that I will now watch games and be pleased if/when we win, and not constantly terrified of losing. But saying that makes me sound like the extremely spoiled fan that I am. 

Recognizing that I feel (and sound) that way in turn makes me more thankful for the success this program is constantly able to churn out. This is how I've managed to achieve calm acceptance of this situation.

+1 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

^That  -- for the caliber reference!

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

parabuckeye's picture

It might have been said already but there is a saying at TOSU "Next man up". My only question is do we have any superhero's on the roster. It might take that to fill Braxton's shoes.

Oh go Buck a duck!!!

Dougger's picture

Amid all the craziness I overlooked how JT has not started or played in a game yet. That's kind of scary, esp. since the first one is in Baltimore; but I definitely think he has the mental to succeed. 

Remember when he stood up in the weight room during a recruiting pitch and said he came to OSU to win National Championships? The stage is yours my man - go get em and go bucks. 

I like football

Qujo's picture

Hoping our D keeps us in games so whatever O we end up adopting to fit Barrett's skills can score enough to win. I think the big issue will be Braxton kept drives alive. Barrett might be able to do it as well but doesn't have the experience BM has. Not sure we make the playoffs this year BUT we will press for the B1G championship. 

i also think next year if we can keep Bosa and Spence around or at least one of them we will be legit #1 if BM comes back and/or Barrett has an awesome first year. The O line will have experience, Ezekiel, Dontre, Warren Ball, Dixon, Samuels, etc will all be ready to break out. 

Our arch rivals.... 11 National Championships, 10 before 1949 - eight of eleven shared. Trying to respect them... trying.... Ugh!

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

Bosa's a true soph, so he'll definitely be back next year. I was saying something similar to this, but referring to Spence and Washington. If we can keep those guys for another year, the D line next year will be just as formidable, the O line will be back in its entirety, and the sky will be the limit!

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

whiskeyjuice's picture

While the QB position is obviously important, if we see the vast improvement in the other areas of the team, J.T. may have enough around him that he may not have to be the all do-it-yourself superstar that we have seen with Braxton over the last couple of years. I remain fairly optimistic for this years season. Then I will re-assess during and after the Navy game.

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

MikeTheBuckeye's picture

I feel bad for JT. The weight of Buckeye Nations aspirations is not an easy one to carry. For months he has been on the outside track of a QB battle with Cordale Jones just trying to earn the back-up spot. Now he's the starting QB of a team with championship aspirations. More importantly he has less than 2 weeks to prepare to play in front of 108K expectant eyes, waiting for lightning to strike twice. That's a lot of weight for a freshman, red shirt or not. Then you throw in even the most ambitious of fans saying crazy things like "the past two Heisman winners have been RS freshman, why not us?" The shoes Braxton wears can not be easily filled, no matter how touted the recruit.

countrybuckeye's picture

Okay.  I read and understood your comment.  I ask this of you -- do you believe Urban Meyer recruits players he feels can 'handle the pressure?"

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

OfficerRabbit's picture

People posting in this thread seem fairly level-headed, but I've read some pretty outlandish statements (both overly optimistic and overly pessimistic) elsewhere on the site. My .02, I don't see us contending for a National Championship, but I do see us in the hunt for a B1G Championship, and a decent bowl game (if they still exist). I think the fate of the season won't lie in JT's hands, but in our offensive line. If they can come together and provide a solid front, then JT will have time to throw, and our stable of RB's should get the lanes they need to run. We have enough playmakers available, all we the O-line to do is give JT enough time to get them the ball. 

If he's running for his life alot (ala Braxton in 2011), we may be in for a long season.



countrybuckeye's picture

Officer Rabbit, worry not.  You know the majority here, as the days march on, and the grieving process runs its course, will be those level-headed blokes we all love and aspire to be.


I say the season will be "much excitement for the fans."

"Haters Gonna Hate; Winners Gonna Win."

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

BeijingBucks's picture

Count me into the group that suddenly just relaxed a tad. No longer facing the ultimate 'pinnacle of success or all is a failure' hurdle we get instead a year to bring along a new defensive identity, a new Oline, new rbs and WRs who can now just go out and have fun!

soooo jacked for this season now without the constant dread of brax going down

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

Montana silver bullet's picture

Kenny G distributing the ball vs. Cal----        Many 11w's thought he should be given the keys to the Ferrari. Realizing Cal isn't a defensive juggernaut but I sheepishly admit I thought he deserved the chance to accomplish that feat against B1G teams. Still think he made better reads then Brax and although not the super hero athlete that Miller is he was a great example of all JT needs to do with our ridiculous talent at the skill positions. 

Montana Silver Bullet

gm3jones's picture

Man I feel so bad for bmills... Tough break for the young man! I hope surgery goes well and he really gets back to 100% so he can provide for his son/family. My prayers and thoughts sent his way for sure. Lets hope this team bonds together now and feed everyone a big shit sandwhich!

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

Jpfbuck's picture

JT may be very good and we will have to wait until at least the 30th to know that.

My concern is that unless you are Johhny or Jameis, freshman always have "those games" where they simply struggle, even sometimes against teams where you wouldn't think so (think how an otherwise solid Hackenberg looked terrible against our lousy pass D last year)

Miller in 2011 had 5 games where he completed less than 50% of his passes, 

Pryor in 2008 completed only 10 of his last 26 passes that year against UM and Texas

Zwick and Smith back in 04 had many games where 1 or both struggled

Bellisari struggled all year in 1999

those are the last 4 times we had an untested So or Fr lead the offense and our combined record in those 4 years was 31-20 and in all 4 of them we lost at least 3 games...

granted JT could be great, and yes teams like FSU last year, or OSU in years like 1993, 1973 and 1968 (when we had untested FR/SO QB starters at the helm) can have great seasons.

but if JT or Cardale are unable to be at least consistent passers, (not great but 50% plus and more TDs than INts) then teams will load the box and shut down the run as well making us rely on a D that as of today we have no idea how it will perform

i am hoping for the best, but if i had to guess, we will get tripped up a couple times at least this year due to either bad passing combined with something else

lastly i think we may also be looking at having to rely on a good kicking game as red zone efficiency may drop, meaning our new place kicker (again untested) will likely become more important.

lots of question marks all over the offense, if i was a pollster or gambler i would not be betting on this team to run the table.

Certainly hope I am wrong though

Go Bucks

Liening's picture

If you are interested in the nature of Braxton's injury, this Johns Hopkins webpage has a good description of what the labrum is, and its function.  http://www.hopkinsortho.org/labrum_tear.html