We at tBBC had a flurry on internal emails regarding The Braxton Miller Injury early in the week. What it could mean for this season, what it could mean for next season, that sort of thing. I thought the opinions were pretty solid and well thought out, so we want to share them with you. I posed three questions to our Team to get their thoughts on the events. Here is what we came up with.
1. With Braxton’s season-ending injury, the QB mantle falls to Barrett/Jones. What changes do you anticipate for OSU’s offense?
Scott: I think it will resemble the offense when Kenny Guiton played. Barrett makes good decisions and accurate throws. Deep balls will be few and far between. Look for them to use the screen pass and quick hitters to let the athletes make plays.
Mali: Three words: Dontre, Jalen, Curtis. We’ll see the resurgence of the “H” position (Percy Harvin thingy), and with EzE/Rod/Brionte having great camps at power back, the impetus on Barrett will be to get them the damn ball.
It’s also worth noting that Barrett runs the “zone read” that Herman’s offense is based on better than Braxton. Like Guiton, it’s something that Barrett did in high school, whereas XBrax often showed a “zone read” look but had predetermined if he would keep or give prior to the snap. He had the ability to make people miss with his legs; Barrett will have the ability to make them miss by making the wrong choice.
Charles: I would expect to see little asked of the quarterback early on. Barrett has shown that he can make good reads in practice but doing it in a game situation is another story and you want to let a new quarterback get comfortable in that environment before you ask him to do too much. OSU has plenty of potential playmakers on offense and early on Barrett will primarily be tasked with getting them the ball as quickly as possible. Expect to see the playbook opened up more and more with each game and fortunately the toughest game for the Buckeyes isn’t until November when they face MSU, giving Barrett time to get comfortable running the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jones get some time, we all unfortunately remember how Meyer has utilized a two QB system before.
Mike: The offense will be evolving all year as JT gets more comfortable. As the season goes, more of the playbook will be opened up. At the start of the season: a lot of read option and quick passes to these very talented play makers (JT is also a play maker with his feet) and we have them in abundance.
WVa: I truly believe they will use the same package they went with after Braxton was hurt last year. Kenny had the leadership. The toughness. And was able to step in and use everybody here as he did not have the talent to make certain plays that BM could. Joe Thomas has that talent but they won’t want to waste it early on. Simple plays. Base plays. Execution without turnovers will be the key early and often for him. I like the possibilities as he improves.
Joe: I think we are going to see a lot more of Brionte Dunn, Rod Smith and Curtis Samuel. Do you remember when Urban Meyer took over in 2012 and he had a very green Braxton Meyer? The plan has to be to get the ball into the hands of the team’s top playmakers. Whether that’s running it up the gut, using screens or just being efficient with pass opportunities — Urban will make the changes needed per week to give the Buckeyes the best chance to win.
Ken: I think that Herman makes more use of OSU’s many talented running backs. I think that JT could make the “read” in the zone read better than Braxton, so the running game will evolve into more of the normal offense. I think that passing game will revolve around some play action and roll-out to initially simplify JT’s route reads. The offensive line needs to come to play from the first snap, more so than with Braxton.
Survey Says: It looks like general consensus is a “Guiton-like” offense to ease Barrett into OSU’s offensive rhythm. There are plenty of playmakers and enough offensive options to allow this offense to work effectively.
2. Braxton stated that he’s planning to return next season (2015). Should he? If he does, what will his role be?
Scott: He’s taken his last snap as QB unless Barrett and Jones totally suck. Maybe he could play another position. There is also the future QB recruiting situation that his return could screw up.
Mali: I believe he should return- he has no realistic hope of an NFL career otherwise. Heisman Trophy winners Troy Smith couldn’t capitalized on their stellar senior campaigns and turn them into long stints in the league, it’s hard for me to imagine that a dinged up QB with questionable passing ability could fair much better.
If he returns, he should be given the opportunity to fight for the starting QB position- Meyer is all about competition, right?
Charles: This is actually sort of a tough question. If Miller wants to play in the NFL, he absolutely has to come back. So far Miller has shown that he is a great playmaker and an athlete but his passing isn’t nearly ready for the NFL. However, I’m not sure Miller has much of a future in the NFL anyway. In general running quarterbacks don’t last long in the NFL and Miller has already shown that he is injury prone and that he doesn’t relish contact. This works against him as a running quarterback and doesn’t suggest that he really could transition to some other position. Unless Miller somehow showed remarkable improvement in his passing while also returning from injury, I just don’t see much of an NFL career for him. He is probably better served getting his degree and taking advantage of the fact that being a popular former OSU football player gives him a lot of instant connections in the professional world.
If Miller does return, I would expect to see him have the chance to compete for the starting quarterback spot but it would be hard to take it away from Barrett or Jones unless they do horrible. If Barrett does well this season and Miller returns, I would almost guarantee some sort of dual QB system in 2015.
Mike: If JT has a good year, I do not believe Braxton comes back. He saying he’s coming back but really I think he is hoping to come back. Once again, this will all depend on how JT performs IMO! A lot of unknown’s right now that will work itself out over the course of the season.
WVa: Braxton will be back we can believe his sentiment. There will be no suitors in NFL after this type of injury. I have said all along I believe he will make his millions with his legs. May try QB first, who knows. Definitely a fit for the pivot, wildcat situation like Leak/Tebow.
Joe: I think Braxton is more concerned with leaving on his terms than he is about developing into an NFL QB. With that being said, he wants to win a national championship. If J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones develop into a star after his first year, he’ll come back with one duty. To make plays. Urban Meyer has excelled in good two quarterback systems. Braxton Miller could really open up plays for the 2015 starting quarterback in a Chris Leak like role.
Ken: Well, it’s a free country, so Brax can come back if he wants to. I agree with Scott on this one; Braxton Miller has taken his last snap as QB for Ohio State. If he does return, his best contribution, as WVa states, is with his feet. If he is put in a position where he can makes plays in space with his feet and not take direct hits, he can make a significant contribution. If Brax is installed at QB due to Barrett/Jones QB flameout.. it would be a terrifically bad personnel decision by Meyer. That would be a one-off, “looking back for some temporary success” move. Totally irresponsible.
Survey Says: Our team is all over the board on this one. What are your thoughts?
3. What else is on your mind about this?
Scott: OSU still makes the playoffs and the title game.
Mali: To be honest, this actually has made me more excited for the season. Usually, with the juggernaut that the Buckeyes put on the field, I get more concerned that they will somehow lose than excited about the chance that they might win. Now, the pressure is off in many ways- and I think that people will regret sleeping on the 125th edition of the Ohio State Football team.
Charles: First off this is obviously horrible for Miller and I hope that he makes a complete and speedy recovery. The injury certainly makes the season more interesting to look ahead to and it recasts OSU a bit as it is hard to still consider them a favorite to win the Big Ten. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to this since they have been pretty much expected to dominate the Big Ten the past two years. Even with Miller I had expect OSU to finish behind MSU in the Big Ten East and this really makes MSU the clear favorite now. That said, I do agree with Mali that in a way this could make the year more fun as now OSU a bit of an underdog trying to fight to the top which is always more fun that sitting there worried that they are going to screw up before the Big Ten title game or the playoffs.
Mike: I have no idea why the panic button by so many fans. Did anyone think Braxton would go a whole season unscathed???? I didn’t think so. JT is the young gun with an opportunity here to step up and lead this team this year and possibly next. The ball is in his hands, which I’m sure he is embracing with a smile!!!
WVa: I have been disappointed in fans responses (surprising I know) to the situation. Their doubts in the improved D will cause a stir once they get rolling. No way the D isn’t improved with all the investments into it during offseason (Ash n Johnson)
Joe: I’m truly excited to see the state of the program and where it is at this point in Urban’s reign. At this point in Florida he was just starting to build up the quarterback corps to where anyone could step on the field and make the difference.
We’ll find out really quick if that’s the case here at Ohio State.
Ken: Interesting. I’m with Mali and Charles on this one. A Division championship is now not a given, and the shuffling of personnel makes it exciting. Mike nailed it; did anyone think that Braxton would get through the season uninjured? Not to be prickly, but in a cosmic sense, better that this happen now than the week of MSU or UM game. Fortunately, these games are later in season, so the offense should be in gear by then. The Buckeyes will be fine. Relax.
Survey Says: It’s horrible that a talented athlete and a nice young man like Braxton suffered this type of injury. The Buckeyes may miss a step, or maybe a half-step, this season, but we’ll (as fans) be fine because the program will be fine.
I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts on these questions. I feel that a good bit of thought went into these responses. What do you think?