In CFT’s preseason Top 25 countdown, one of the biggest reasons why Ohio State, even with all of their off-field issues, came in at No. 20 was the fact that I’m banking on new head coach Luke Fickell to realize sooner rather than later that true freshman Braxton Miller is the Buckeyes’ best option at quarterback.
While he’s the youngest, Miller’s also easily the most talented player in a less-than-stellar group that includes projected starter Joe Bauserman.
Speaking from experience, however, Kirk Cousins thinks it might be best to ease Miller onto the field during his first season in Columbus. Instead of rushing Miller, the senior Michigan State quarterback said, allow the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2011 to grow and mature into the role.
“Too many people want everything right now and they think they need to play right away,” Cousins told Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The simple truth is that quarterbacks who are able to wait and are able to grow and learn without being thrown into the fire a lot of times end [up] having much more successful careers.
“Many quarterbacks want to be thrown in right away and that’s fine, but they’ve got to understand that’s going to come with some difficult times.”
One of the reasons we feel that Miller would be fine from the get-go is actually twofold. One, and even with the five-game suspension for starter Boom Herron, OSU has more than enough talent in the backfield to run the football effectively. And, two, the Buckeyes, as they do almost every other year, should field a very talented defense and will likely be the unit of strength throughout the entire 2011 season.
If those pieces are indeed in place, Cousins acknowledges Miller would have a much “easier” time stepping in right away and filling Terrelle Pryor‘s shoes.
“If you’re at a place that’s playing a true freshman, it’s a lot easier when you have a running game and defense,” Cousins said. “If you’re at a place that’s not going to run the ball successfully or not going to stop people, there’s a lot more put on you.”
Miller was an early enrollee and impressive enough during spring practice to put himself squarely in the mix in the race for the starting job. It remains to be seen if that momentum carries through to summer camp, but the talent level Miller possesses suggests very strongly that it should.