Loss of Miller is Devastating, But Urban Meyer, Ohio State Have to Move On Fast

By Patrick Maks on August 25, 2014 at 8:35a
Braxton's gone. But now it's game week.
33 Comments

Before Braxton Miller’s season-ending shoulder injury, reassurance concerning his fragile health in the last month came via trust and a deep-rooted bond between the senior quarterback and head coach Urban Meyer.

“I’ve known Braxton for three years, and it’s almost like looking at your son,” Meyer said two Saturdays ago. "You can see in his face if he’s concerned – and he’s not. I trust that he’ll be ready.”

Two days later, Miller, the back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year and Heisman candidate, tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder for the second time in less than eight months. He will miss the 2014 football season.

It’s a blow to Ohio State’s championship aspirations, as life without Miller for this long remains unchartered water. 

But it’s also a blow to Meyer personally, where the well-documented fatherly bonds between coaches and players is perhaps no greater than with a head coach and his quarterback. And in Meyer’s offense, where the signal-caller is asked to do so much, this is particularly true.  

It’s why, for Meyer, the last week has been a balance of grieving and moving on.

“It was devastating. It was a bad deal,” Meyer said of Miller’s injury, which happened on a non-contact play in practice last Monday. “I didn’t see exactly what happened. I thought someone hit him. I went berserk.”

That's because Miller, as senior tight end Jeff Heuerman put it at Big Ten Media Days in late July, means as much to Ohio State as LeBron James means to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With Miller behind center, the No. 5 Buckeyes are among a handful of favorites to win the win the national title. Without him, they are fringe contenders at best.

In short, Miller’s absence is unnerving. But dwelling on the loss might only make things worse for Ohio State as it finds itself scrambling to fortify a Plan B it didn’t think it’d suddenly need in late August.

“Did I have any thought that this could happen? No,” Meyer said Wednesday.

By that point, life without Miller had already started. So the Buckeyes are moving on.

“We lift (Miller) up with prayer, and just lift him up as a friend and a teammate,” Meyer said.

“And then you pick up your rifle and go as hard as you can possibly go. That’s the mentality here. And if there’s anything other than that mentality here, that’s when you have problems.”

Miller’s situation is a gutting story and one that will inevitably receive heaps of attention. But Ohio State will have to repress it, at least for a little while, if it wants a chance at winning the Big Ten Championship and making the first-ever, four-team college football playoff.

While Meyer readies redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who hasn’t played a competitive down of college football, for a tricky season opener against Navy, Miller becomes an afterthought.

“I mean, it’s a difficult part of the sport. It breaks your heart – I mean, like shatters your heart – but you gotta move on," Meyer said. "It’s not hard to try and get the other guy ready and that’s what we have to do.”

It’s not callous, it’s practical. Meyer can’t sit and dwell on what was, what is and what could’ve been with Miller under center.

Life with Miller is wishful thinking. This is reality.

33 Comments

Comments

apack614's picture

I'm just ready to see what happens. I still am expecting 15-0 with no consideration for my heart/feelings if they happen to get ripped from my body once again this year. We will be just fine. Go Bucks!

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

+10 HS
Waltbuck's picture

^^^^My thoughts exactly.  I'm all in.

+1 HS
904buckeye's picture

I have faith in our TEAM. This year will be exciting to say the least.

GO BUCKS. BEAT MISSAGAIN

+7 HS
mphillips87's picture

Couldn't agree more. Not sure if it is the delusional fan in me or not, but I still have tons of confidence in this team. Maybe it's because I already bought B1G championship game tickets and I want to put them to good use on 12/6...

+6 HS
avail31678's picture

This times 1000.  I am pretty sure the BUKEYES went 24-0, not Braxton Miller all by himself.  This is a bump in the road and I am excited to see J.T.'s development along with all the other side stories we have (young O-line, young D with new schemes, tons of speed at skill positions etc).

+1 HS
darbnurb's picture

Yes, Carlos Hyde helped too.  And the O-line had some success.  But we reload, right?  Right?

USArmyBuckeye's picture

It needs to be game day already so we can begin the season long journey of proving all of the doubters wrong!

+3 HS
droessl's picture

Amazing the difference a week makes. From dejection and rage last week, I'm back to "HOLY SHIT IT'S GAME WEEK... LETS KICK SOME ASS" mode. 

+2 HS
theopulas's picture

reality.....sad but true....so....lets tighten up the chinstraps and go get the bastards who don't know what it means to be The OSU....!!!!

Theopulas

+1 HS
THE's picture

What should be a help to JT and/or Cardale is that Braxton has been out all spring and almost the whole fall camp thus far.  These guys have been taking almost all the snaps.  They still obviously have to wrap their heads around being thrust into the starters role but at least they have time to prepare and its not the eve before the opener...

Drivin > Disco > Drivin.
To the people in the bathroom, how's it going in there?

+3 HS
nm_buck's picture

There are ELEVEN WARRIORS on that offense, not one.  This team is going to surprise a lot of people.

+7 HS
Texasbucksfan's picture

OK, got it.  We lost an amazing player and we have to move on.  Have seen this article more times than I can count this week.   We all know this.  Let's move on to new story lines.  There have to be more than this.  I am looking forward to this season because I have faith in Meyer's recruiting.    If you remove the piece of having to replace a 2 time B1G player of the year and Heisman candidate who was anticipated to lead us to the promised land this year (granted that is a big piece), we would all be very excited about this kid leading the team.   J.T. Was the number 3 dual threat QB in the nation, was redshirted to learn and has now been taking snaps in Spring and Fall practice.   This the the kind of player that Meyer wants for his offense and he has learned and been groomed in exactly the formula Meyer said should have been done with Miller.  I have seen and read some cool things on this young man, but the most exciting thing is what I haven't seen; turnovers.  He doesn't turn the ball over.  He is very careful and I believe that is a more important trait when you have so many playmakers around you than being able to throw 75 years in the air.

+6 HS
Zimmy07's picture

M&T Bank Stadium scoreboard after JT Barrett & friends get done with it.

That's my expectation.

+5 HS
wyatt's picture

The Championship game will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. I visited there this summer to prepare for the Buckeyes.

http://www.stadiumsofprofootball.com/nfc/AT&TStadium.htm

+5 HS
Saxhorn's picture

I am excited to see the spread in action on Saturday. If JT can read defenses quickly and find the open receiver it'll be lights out. We have real horses at RB in Rod Smith and EzE to balance the pass. On top of that, we have a great D-line and improved secondary. Gonna be a great season!

Saxhorn

OSUMB 64-70

H-3, M-6

+4 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Yes, there are a lot of players on this TEAM that want to prove there is more to OSU football in 2014 than just one player. LETS GO BUCKS!!!   SHOCK THE WORLD!!!

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

+4 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

So many offensive weapons for JT to distribute the ball each and every time we have control. I think we will open up conservative until there is blood in the water. He will get better and better as the season plays out.

+2 HS
SafetyGuy's picture

Shock the world Buckeyes, shock the world!  Judging by the national media, we have nothing to lose anyway.

O-H-

+2 HS
ek68's picture

Agree with TBFAN, expect to see a "low risk" high reward offense with JT & Bucks offense. I said earlier, IMO expect to see a game manager in JT's approach. GO BUCKS!!

 

 

 

+1 HS
awlinBrutus's picture

Hopefully he gets time to make those reads. Our OL isn't exactly our strong point. I'm hoping our wins are just closer ones with JT. Our stress level will be off the charts as fans. When we were behind any games last year I had no worries Braxton, Carlos and a great OL would score. I won't have that same feeling at least until they ease my mind with consistent production.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

tOSUperiour's picture

God bless you all for getting me more fired up. By this time next week, I'll be back to "that night was so good, I wonder if she'll call back this Saturday" levels of wonder, trepidation, and excitement.

We don't give a Da*n for the whole state of *ichigan cause we're from OHIO!

+1 HS
RUNTOWIN's picture

I don't think I can stomach reading anything else. So, no more reading for me this week. I'm just excited to get on the road to Baltimore Friday morning and see how it all unfolds in the stadium on Saturday.  Go Bucks!

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

I have always enjoyed the season more when we are in the underdog role, and expectations are tempered, outside of WHAC & Buckeye Nation of course. Don't get me wrong, I would rather have a healthy #5 leading the offense & chasing a Heisman, but since that cannot happen, I like the new landscape where the Buckeyes are written off like they have no other talent on the team. Or a proven National Championship Winner for a HC plus his hand-picked staff...

I like our chances to have a winning season this year, because that's what Buckeyes do. 

Go win it all baby! Make them all eat their shoes!

GO BUCKS!!!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+2 HS
pcon258's picture

Agree with underdog comment. Last season was stressful; we were focused on impressing voters, winning games by a huge margin. 

This year, I don't give a damn if we win by 1 or 100. Put a tally in the W column and move on. 

gut wrenching injury for Braxton. I can't imagine what he's going through right now. After all he's done for us, this injury is nothing short of tragic. Let's win for brax. 

+1 HS
buckeyepastor's picture

I am very sad for Braxton and it is a big loss, but I am very excited because I think the new "narrative" is going to really inspire these guys.   Until recently, the narrative was one of entitlement - haven't lost for two full regular seasons, Heisman candidate at QB, fairly easy schedule.   Now the narrative is - team lost the last two games they played, without their best player, lots of unproven talent.   I sort of like being in this place of people under-selling us.  I think it will give this team a meanness, an edge.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

+1 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

bring on The DISTRIBUTA!

I don't consider any Buckeye success this year to be any kind of disparagement to Brax but rather a tribute to him.  He'll make a great sideline QB coach to have too for JT

 

 

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

+1 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

I cannot wait for the season to start so we can ALL stop hearing about the issues... Once JT gets a game under his belt, we'll hear more stories about him... I just hope they are stories about how talented Ohio State is at QB and what potential JT has!

LET'S GO BUCKS!!

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

buckeyepastor's picture

The Braxton injury means the loss of one of the nation's best athletes.   That being said, setting aside the reason for JT becoming the starter, we've been here before:  

2011 (a mess for a lot of reasons) saw us begin with two unproven QBs.  One a statue that fell to pieces under any pressure.  The other a true freshman that was one of the top recruits in the country.   Barrett has more in common with the former than the latter.   What's more, both Bauserman and Miller went well into the Spring before it was known that either of them would be pressed into service, as it took a while for it to be confirmed that TP would not be allowed back.    Barrett and Jones (with Braxton's previous surgery) have been getting reps since March.   

2008 - True frosh and man-child Terrelle Pryor took over not in game one but VERY EARLY in 2008 from Boeckman and didn't look back, in spite of Boeckman as the starter of a team that went 11-2 the previous season was for sure getting most of the reps.   

2007 - Boeckman himself was the new face.  Though he was much older than Barrett and had spent more time in the program, he was pressed into following Troy Smith having little to no meaningful in-game experience.   

2004 - First Justin Zwick and then eventually Troy Smith came in as RS freshmen or sophomores after neither had meaningful snaps in 2003.   It was a rough start, but the latter half of 2004 launched us into a 3 year stretch (2005-2007) that was extraordinary.   

What's more, none of these previous first-time, inexperienced QBs who stepped into the fire and with the exception of Bauserman showed great poise and maturity for their age, had Urban Meyer and Tom Herman to work with.  To think that Miller did what he did, as a freshman, with Siciliano to guide him, is pretty incredible.  Barrett is a QB with similar promise and potential, being coached up by a real coach.   

We've been here before, and it's brought some bumps and hiccups so we should expect those.   But we can also expect great things.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

+2 HS
MichiganBuckeye222's picture

JT is getting one of these as we speak

go bucks

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.

www.septemberheisman.com

 

ibuck's picture

While I hope for the Buckeyes to do well, I'm looking for small steps to begin with:

Make the opponent punt. Hang on to the ball.

Run the ball for 5 yards. Toss the ball to a speedy receiver or RB and get 5 or more yards.

Get a first down. Complete a pass. 

Then exhale, and see if we can put some plays together into a drive.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

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