Braxton Miller was ‘good not great’, expectations shouldn’t change

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The Ohio State Buckeyes were considered the favorites to win a Big Ten championship this season prior to quarterback Braxton Miller re-injuring his throwing shoulder.

Despite the injury, some coaches around the nation feel the Buckeyes will be just as dangerous without Miller in the lineup.

“Some offenses can survive it fine if there’s a great supporting cast,” an unnamed coach from the West Coast told CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler. “I don’t think Miller is a great player. Good but not great.”

The sentiment within the Big Ten Conference may not have echoed the previous statement, but Michigan’s Brady Hoke made it pretty clear how the team from Ohio should proceed.

“Never change your expectations,” Hoke said. “Next man must step up.”

Hoke may have felt “terrible” for Miller, but he also knows the Buckeyes are still talented on offense and redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett can lead Ohio State to a Big Ten title. The Buckeyes may not operate the same way without Miller leading the offense, but the team can adjust the scheme to take advantage of Barrett’s talents as a quarterback.

“In most cases you would have to change some strategy,” another unnamed coach stated.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is considering upping the tempo of the offense. The faster the Buckeyes operate, the better Barrett can be starting in Miller’s stead.

“Style of play [has to change] — one example is Oregon when they lost [Dennis] Dixon and didn’t have that type behind him,” another coach said.

Of course, the Buckeyes would have been better with Miller in the lineup. He was a legitimate Heisman hopeful. Over the pass three seasons, Miller threw for 5,292 yards, ran for 3,054 yards and contributed 83 total touchdowns.

But Miller had his faults too. Miller was considered a “very streaky” passer. The Buckeyes’ previous backup quarterback, Kenny Guiton, was far more efficient with the football when he filled in for an injured Miller.

Meyer has compared Barrett’s play to Guiton’s.

The benefit for Ohio State is the injury happened so early in the process. Barrett has received the bulk of first-team repetitions during fall camp. Barrett has yet to be officially named the Buckeyes’ starter to open the season, but he’ll be ready for Navy Aug. 30.

And Barrett enters the season knowing expectations won’t change in Columbus just because Miller is injured and out for the season.

Optimistic Urban Meyer opens up on Braxton Miller injury, impact

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If you were expecting a sullen and despondent Urban Meyer in the wake of the Braxton Miller injury, you will be sorely disappointed.

Wednesday morning, the Ohio State head coach, during an interview on the Mike & Mike Show, made his first public comments since yesterday’s announcement.  While acknowledging “your gut starts to hurt” when ” a member of your family [goes] down,”  Meyer was optimistic about the future of his squad, which, prior to Miller’s season-ending injury, was viewed by many as the Big Ten favorite and potential playoff qualifier.

I think we’re going to be a very good team,” the coach said in quotes transcribed by the Columbus Dispatch. “Has my thought changed? Not at all. …

“Our guys have responded [positively to the injury news].”

Meyer also praised Miller for his attitude since the injury, which has seemed to have an impact — a positive one — on the entire team.

“The best thing is Braxton’s reaction,” Meyer said. “Braxton has a big smile on his face, is out at practice, is talking to our quarterbacks. I’m telling you, he’s a grown man. That’s credit to him, his family and his high-school coach, Jay Minton.”

The quarterback who’ll likely lean on Miller, the quasi-coach, the most is T.J. Barrett.  The redshirt freshman has never played a down at the collegiate level let alone attempted a pass.  He’s expected to get the start, at least in the opener against Navy,  ahead of Cardale Jones.

Miller will be looked upon to provide a veteran presence for Barrett, one who can be both a mentor and a coach all in the same package.  Meyer’s going to do his part as well, scaling back the offense and tailoring it to Barrett’s skillset.

“We’re not at this point going to ask him to throw that post corner on the field a 35-yard route on a seven-step drop,” Meyer said as an example of tailoring the offense for Barrett. “He’s not made for that yet.”

The Dispatch pointed out that “the offense under Barrett is likely to resemble what it looked like when Kenny Guiton took over when Miller was injured early last year.”

Miller suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of the Week 2 win over San Diego State and was replaced for the remainder of that game as well as the next two by Guiton.  Guiton totaled 13 touchdowns — 12 passing — in those three games before Miller returned for the win over Wisconsin.

The difference between Barrett and Guiton?  Guiton was a senior with at least some playing experience before being tossed into the fray.  Neither Barrett nor OSU has that luxury this time around, with Barrett’s acclimation to the game at this level likely going a long way in determining whether or not, as Meyer stated, the Buckeyes are a very good team at season’s end.

Report: no contact preceded Braxton Miller’s dislocated shoulder

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As the whole of college football awaits official word from Ohio State on the extent of Braxton Miller‘s injury, more specifics on what would be a season-killing turn of events continue to trickle out.

According to ElevenWarriors.com, the Buckeyes quarterback suffered a dislocation of his right (throwing) shoulder during practice Monday.  It was reported overnight that the senior had reinjured his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Perhaps most disturbing and/or disheartening for the player and football program is that it appears there was no contact that preceded the injury.

An MRI will be performed at some point Tuesday to determine the extent of the damage and just how long Miller will be out.  Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com tweeted that, per a source, the “team didn’t know if he’d be out a day or a month or what.”

The initial reports had Miller’s entire 2014 season in jeopardy because of the development, although, again, the MRI will determine the timeline for a return.  SI.com wrote that “[t]he extent of the injury is unknown, but there is a general feeling of unease around the program.”  According to the Columbus Dispatch, “a quick return for Miller is not likely,” with the paper’s sources adding that “Miller could be facing another surgical procedure.”

It appears unlikely, however, that one of the preseason Heisman favorites will be available for the opener against Navy in less than two weeks.

Miller missed two games early last season because of a sprained knee, but the Buckeyes had the veteran and seasoned Kenny Guiton to fill in and continue what was then the nation’s longest winning streak.  This time around, the Buckeyes would turn to J.T. Barrett, recently named as the slight leader in the backup quarterback race, or even Cardale Jones; Barrett has never thrown a pass at the collegiate level, while Jones has thrown just two.

Both Barrett and Jones received extensive work during spring practice as Miller rehabbed the partially torn labrum he suffered in the Orange Bowl loss to Clemson and was subsequently repaired in what at the time was described as minor surgery in late February.  That extra work for the two reserves continued into summer camp as Miller had been limited due to what was described as soreness in his shoulder.

UPDATED 8:49 a.m. ET: It appears Ohio State is going into a bunker-down mentality as it attempts to work it’s way through Miller’s injury situation.  From a press release sent out by the footbaqll program just a short time ago:

Interviews scheduled today with Ohio State assistant coaches and some student-athletes have been cancelled. An update on Braxton Miller will be provided once I have enough information to share.

UPDATED 1:22 p.m. ET: While the school has yet to confirm it, NFL.com‘s Gil Brandt (HERE) and ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy (HERE) are reporting that Miller will miss the entire 2014 season. OSU is expected to make an announcement on Miller’s status at some point this afternoon.

Buckeyes’ new No. 2 QB and latest on Braxton Miller

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One of the most important positions on the Ohio State Buckeyes’ roster is backup quarterback.

As Kenny Guiton proved last year, the Buckeyes’s No. 2 signal caller can be called upon at any time and possibly be forced to win the game.

Quarterback Braxton Miller has been plagued by multiple nagging injuring over the past two seasons. Guiton played in 15 games during that time and started two contests. Guiton was a senior, though. And Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been searching for a new backup.

Meyer may have found found one.

Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett has taken a “slight lead” in the competition, according to The Columbus Dispatch‘s Tim May.

“And that’s because of his (taking advantage of his) opportunities,” Meyer told May.

It was only a matter of time before Barrett moved up the depth chart. Barrett was a highly regarded four-star recruit in the 2013 class. Sophomore Cardale Jones, on the other hand, wasn’t recruited to Columbus by Urban Meyer and his staff.

It simply took the younger signal caller time to develop and gain confidence.

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

The Buckeyes may need Barrett to mature quickly. Miller is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Meyer has repeatedly stated his starting quarterback is “right on schedule” in his recovery, but Barrett needs to be ready in case he has to play against the Navy Midshipmen or Virginia Tech Hokies in weeks one and two.

Miller’s status will become more clear at the start of the week.

“He scrimmaged today; just limited throws is where we’re at right now,” Meyer said. “We’re expecting Monday to take a big step.”

Ohio State back-up QB race sees a top contender emerge

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Few schools can probably testify to the value of a quality back-up quarterback the way Ohio State can. Starting quarterback Braxton Miller missed playing time early in the 2013 season, which meant the Buckeyes needed Kenny Guiton needed to keep the offense moving. He did so with flying colors. So with Miller out of spring practice after having a medical procedure on his throwing shoulder prior to spring practices, the playing time the potential back-up quarterbacks in Columbus are getting is not to be taken lightly. Early on, it seems as though Urban Meyer likes the way sophomore Cardale Jones is performing.

“Cardale — you talk about a changed guy,” Meyer said according to The Columbus Dispatch. “He was a guy who couldn’t get out of his own way a couple of years ago. Now you’re starting to see big progress in the classroom and (elsewhere). You remember the famous tweet? He’s a different guy. He had to be a different guy, or he wouldn’t be here.”

Meyer was referring to a tweet Jones shared in 2012, in which he infamously said “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play football, we ain’t come to play school, classes are pointless.” A year and a half later, Meyer believes Jones has matured and is taking his role on the team and in the university more seriously.

Jones is competing for the back-up position behind Miller with redshirt freshmen J.T. Barrett. Barrett is coming off a knee rehab that occurred in his senior year of high school. Meyer says Barrett has gotten off to a slow start but is making progress.

From the sound of it, Ohio State looks as though they will be moving in to the fall with Jones backing up Miller.