Ohio State's Braxton Miller Has Quite A Confidence About Himself In New Role at Wide Receiver

By Tim Shoemaker on August 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

When Braxton Miller was made aware of Cardale Jones’ recent comments about Monday’s opening day of fall camp looking like it was his first time playing wide receiver, the former Ohio State quarterback laughed to himself.

“First time?” Miller quipped. “Yeah, right. Ask him again.

“Actually, ask Vonn Bell.”

Miller clearly doesn’t lack confidence. He never has. But for someone who has only spent one week of practice playing an entirely new position, Miller’s confidence was a little more apparent Sunday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for Ohio State’s Media Day.

There were more cameras and recorders at Miller's table than any other player, by a wide margin. It's a position he's used to, though, after being the face of the Ohio State program from 2011-13 as the team's quarterback.

But the questions this time around weren’t in relation to quarterbacking. No, this time people are interested in how Miller’s often-discussed move to wide receiver has gone throughout the first week of training camp.

“Probably the biggest adjustment is just going against somebody every play,” Miller said. “Virginia Tech, they’re playing man-to-man so going against somebody every play is the main thing that’s different from quarterback to receiver.”

When head coach Urban Meyer spoke about Miller’s position switch at Big Ten Media Days, that was one of his main concerns: How would Miller handle that adjustment of tight, man-to-man coverage on a regular basis?

“It’s like playing a video game, you just put anybody anywhere. For real.”– Braxton Miller

The results have been mixed thus far. Meyer and wide receivers coach Zach Smith said Miller had to adjust to the amount of running the wide receivers do during practice and Miller’s legs experienced a bit of fatigue.

“The biggest thing guys struggle with when they first move positions is they struggle with the amount of running we do. Quarterbacks, they’re not used to that,” Smith said. “Braxton had a great first two practices and there was a transition, but then his legs were blown out. He didn’t look that great, was sluggish, but then had his best practice that he’s ever had [Saturday]. I think he looks really good. Obviously, he’s a great athlete, but he’s picking up the position.”

For Miller, despite the soreness in his legs, the switch has been smooth to this point.

“Yeah, it’s fun,” he said. “I feel like when I was growing up playing all different positions. Just having fun, getting the ball to me and just enjoying football.”

Meyer and offensive coordinator Ed Warinner may have some fun, too, when drawing up some plays to get Miller involved in the offense. During Friday’s practice that was open to the media, he also spent some time at running back fielding option pitches from Cardale Jones in addition to working with the wide receivers.

The options seem endless.

“It’s like playing a video game, you just put anybody anywhere,” Miller said. “For real.”

The Buckeyes are still being cautious with Miller, not wanting him to re-injure his shoulder. He's taking contact, but on a somewhat limited basis.

But make no mistake about it: Meyer and Co. plan to feature No. 1 in their offense a lot this season.

“This is a big week for him,” Meyer said. “We introduced him, he did very good and I’m anxious, as he is, to get going and get a starting spot.”

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