The Buckeyes are just a few days away from putting on their pads for the first time when spring practice begins on March 28. That day will also mark the beginning of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State.
Returning as the starting quarterback will be sophomore Braxton Miller. Miller, who probably would not have even played in 2011 if Terrelle Pryor did not leave for the NFL, had a decent showing last season.
He showed glimpses of excellence, like the game against Michigan where he completed 14 of 25 passes for two touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown. He also had games where his inexperience showed, such as the game against Michigan State, where he completed five passes for 56 yards and an interception.
For a true freshman under the tough circumstances that the program was facing, along with a coaching staff on the way out the door, Miller did all he could and more.
There is no doubt the kid from Huber Heights, Ohio has the talent and desire to become one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. His speed and arm strength are qualities to marvel at while his decision-making ability is far more advanced than someone of his limited experience should possess.
Although there seems to be a common theme among fans that with Meyer's offense coming to Columbus, Miller will instantly become a Heisman-level quarterback.
We have to remember that Miller and his teammates have to learn an entirely new offense in a league where practice hours are limited. The system that Meyer will bring to Ohio State requires the quarterback to know everything that is going on with the defense before, during and after the ball is hiked.
He will not just stand back in the shotgun formation and sling the ball around the field. Miller will be asked to make pre-snap reads on the defense to determine a option of plays that could be run. Once the ball is snapped, Miller will then have to read the defense quickly to determine which option will be best.
This will be quite the difference from last year, where a play was called and was normally run no matter what. This new offense will be a lot more cerebral for the quarterback than what was run in seasons past.
Now throw in the possibility that Ohio State may run a no-huddle offense, which will only add more of a learning curve that Miller will have to learn quickly. Miller's success as a quarterback this upcoming season will not be solely based on his arms and legs, but what is underneath that gray helmet.
Miller has the smarts to learn the intricacies of the Meyer's offense and he will absolutely be successful in this system. This type of offense is built for quarterbacks just like him, and Meyer is just too good of a coach. Once Miller becomes comfortable running the new offense, the results should be spectacular.
Just do not expect Miller to light the world on fire during the first week of the season against Miami (OH). Give the young quarterback a full season to get acclimated to the new tempo and style of the offense. He will continue to improve each week in 2012 just as he did last season and will become a top-tier quarterback.
So the fans will have to show a little bit of patience while this offense will go through some inevitable hiccups during its inaugural season. That is easier said than done, with fans expecting big things with Meyer's hiring after a dismal season last year.
Like the famous saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. Just as championships are not won at programs that have undergone so much change in such little time. So give Braxton and the offense some time to gel and fans will see some impressive football being played in the Horseshoe.
Like a fine wine, some things are just better with time.
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