Braxton Miller was supposed to have a full year to learn from Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel, and with his skills, dazzle us in 2012; instead he was thrown into the starting position in 2011 without any back-up plan. He took the reins during a difficult year for the Ohio State football program, and with no excuses did the best he could; unfortunately, his throwing arm didn’t quite impress his first season for the Buckeyes.
For any old college football team, his stats may not be that bad: 85 completions out of 157 attempts (54.1%), 1,159 yards passing with 13 touchdowns. His longest passing play was only for 54 yards and with DeVier Posey out for a good part of the season, his throwing game was never something consistent. The good news is, he only had 4 interceptions last year; the bad news is, he only had 4 interceptions because he never threw the ball.
John Brantley was the quarterback of the Florida Gators in 2010 (Urban Meyer’s last season in Florida) and had a pretty impressive year. If we compare Miller’s stats to the those of Brantley, we have an idea of the different type of offense we could see this year with Urban Meyer as the coach.
Brantley finished the 2010 season completing 200 of 329 passing attempts (60.8%), throwing 2,061 yards for 9 touchdowns. Being a passing quarterback does have it’s drawbacks, as he threw 10 interceptions throughout the season.
Immediately after reading these stats, I got excited for the possibility of seeing Braxton Miller throw the ball consistently well this season. Under Meyer, Brantley attempted to throw the ball more than double what Miller did. Meyer demands hard work and dedication; Braxton Miller should improve noticeably by working with the new Buckeye Coach and learning how to better utilize all his talent.
For a guy who has a somewhat unproven arm, Miller’s stats on the ground established he was a quarterback worth having. He had 159 rushing attempts in 2011, that’s 2 more than he attempted to throw, and rushed for 715 yards and 7 touchdowns. Clearly, Miller is a talented man on his feet; he has skills that mirror the Michael Vicks and Cam Newtons of the world, he is definitely exciting to watch.
This year, by combining Braxton Miller’s already impressive moves on the ground with a coached and stronger throwing game, the Ohio State offense should be a real threat. The Buckeyes aren’t worried about the starting offense being suspended this year and will have a lot more time to prepare with someone who has been the head coach for the entire off-season. With this amount of preparation, a lot more is expected from the offense, not just Miller.
Jake Stoneburner was one of Miller’s favorite targets in 2011, and now that he has officially been moved from Tight End to Wide Receiver, he’s likely to touch the ball a lot more this season. Stoneburner is a strong red zone player; he had 7 touchdowns last season, and can barrel over the defense to get in the end zone. Corey “Philly” Brown is another talented wide out who had 14 receptions for 205 yards last season. He only had 1 touchdown, but as a sophomore, he should get more looks in the red zone this year.
With Buckeye football season only days away, I can’t wait to see what the Urban Meyer era will bring. One thing’s for sure, with another year under his belt, Braxton Miller is sure to finally meet and hopefully exceed the high standards of Buckeye Nation!