Buckeyes fans who are reeling from the Braxton Miller injury should let the 2012 season serve as a reminder to just how well the Ohio State coaching staff can adapt to the talent level, injuries, and competing at the highest level when nobody expects you to.
Just because Ohio State was dealt a tough blow, doesn’t mean they can’t compete at the highest level.
If there is nothing that can sell you on that fact, just look back to the 2012 season — Urban Meyer’s first in Columbus.
Bouncing back from the first losing season since 1988 wasn’t easy. A green Braxton Miller was starting his first season in a very complex offensive system.
Just months before, Meyer was berating the same quarterback as a color analyst on ESPN for not taking the time to put on a headset to talk with the offensive coaching staff in between drives.
Now the soon to be redshirt senior will wearing a headset on gameday – trying to help his signal calling comrades get off to the same start he did his first season under the Urban model.
It wasn’t easy for the 2012 B1G offensive player of the year. Despite his growth on the football field, the football team he led was considered flawed.
Not fast enough on offense. Not talented enough on defense.
Miller himself was ridiculed for leaning too much on his instinct and ability to improvise. And rightfully so. He finished the season with a 58% completion percentage. The aerial attack only averaged 181 yards per game.
Yet, like his playing style — the coaching staff improvised around his talent. They put his running ability to the test and let the best playmaker in the program win games.
A team that had on paper had no business being in the national talk went 12-0 on the fundamentals of a new coaching staff, enough talent to get by, and an unbelievable corps of leaders that bought into the program from day one.
For Braxton Miller, this season will be all about shifting his on the field leadership to the video room, practice facility and sidelines.
Like Miller in 2012 — J.T. Barrett is new to the Ohio State system. Sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones only had three pass attempts last season.
While Miller got acclimated to Urban Meyer’s master plan to winning through one of the best coaching staffs in the country, Barrett and Jones get to learn firsthand through the experience of a two time B1G player of the year. A holder of nine school records.
One of only six signal callers in school history to lead his team to an undefeated record.
His six game-winning touchdown drives has him tied among the top of active FBS quarterbacks.
Yes, that’s a whole lot to lose on the field. It’s going to be near impossible to replace what Braxton Miller brings to the gridiron every single week.
But that doesn’t mean that Ohio State cannot be a championship caliber team in 2014.
The Buckeye way is about so much more than one player. It always has been and always will be.
A downtrodden program leaned on a young quarterback in 2012. Urban Meyer put all his eggs in the Braxton Miller basket.
The Ohio State program has been built up so much such Braxton took his game to the highest stage.
Now it’s time for another man to step up to the challenge of leading the best damn team in the land.