OK, so now that we know that Braxton Miller isn’t going anywhere, as far as you know, let’s talk about him even more!
Sure, everyone in existence has been talking way too much about the Ohio State quarterback situation. It’s a hot topic, especially in the off-season, where there is so much space to be filled and so little actual college football going on. Plus, people genuinely care about this particular hot topic and seemingly everyone has their own hot take.
But let’s not talk about quarterbacks. Instead, Let us talk about where Miller might land if he decides a position change is in his best interests (and let’s not debate that tired old topic here). Herein, I’ll discuss three potential positions for the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, in reverse order of likelihood.
Of the three most likely positions Miller could switch to, tailback may be the least likely, given the struggles he’s had remaining healthy. Tailbacks undergo tremendous wear and tear, and even backup runners take their fair share of hard shots.
It’s weird to think about a quarterback moving to tailback, but at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Miller is taller than the current running backs on the roster, weighs the same as Bri’onte Dunn and is 15 pounds heavier than Curtis Samuel. Miller has plenty of size and strength to play the position, plus he’s got insane moves and elite speed. All the tools are there for Miller to play tailback.
But then there’s that injury susceptibility we mentioned. That’s not to be taken lightly. Plus, Miller is much better at running away from people or juking them. It’s not his forte to lower his head and get the tough yards, which is an area where guys like Ezekiel Elliott, Dunn and Warren Ball excel. I’m not saying he can’t do it, but that’s not where his instincts lie.
So, he could switch to tailback, but he probably won’t.
Miller’s speed and size would serve him well at this position. Only Michael Thomas, Jeff Greene and Joe Ramstetter are taller than Miller among the current receivers on the roster, and Noah Brown is the same height. Brown, Ramstetter and Greene are heavier. Miller is likely faster than the entire receiving corps on the roster now.
And we know he can at least catch shotgun snaps on a consistent basis, so he’s used to receiving the ball. He has all the physical skills to move to the outside and potentially replace a speedster like Devin Smith. As a quarterback, he’s already learned to quickly diagnose coverage, which would be a tremendous asset.
However, Miller would have to learn the skills of route running and the jury is out on how well he can catch the ball downfield, running full speed, or going into traffic where he knows there will be contact. College receivers typically hone their skills after years of fundamental drills and still not many freshman receivers post huge numbers. It’s not an easy position to master in just one off-season and Miller’s shoulder will likely not be cleared for contact until the season is almost upon us.
Of the positions to which Miller could relocate, H-back seems the most likely. It fits his skills, while generally protecting him from the worst hits by getting him the ball in space. If there’s one place you want Braxton Miller to have the ball, it’s out on the edge in space or on the run. He’s one of the best perimeter offensive players Ohio State has ever had.
And, as someone used to getting his H-backs the ball, Miller already has a sense of the timing a play should have. Miller is also bigger and harder to tackle than the current H-backs on the team, Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson. It would be the best possible landing spot for him if he decided to make a position change. Assuming he can catch the football as well as the other H-backs, he could provide the type of athlete that Meyer hasn’t had in the position since…well, OK, I’ll say it…Percy Harvin.
It’s important to note that as of yet, we have no indication Miller will play anywhere but quarterback, or if he’s even willing to try it. Some think moving him will be the best bet for prolonging his career into the NFL, but then again Jake Locker got paid to start at quarterback in the Sunday league, so maybe that’s not true.