Miller, other than new head coach Urban Meyer, will incur the most significant amount of interpretive analysis throughout the progression of the 2012 season, by both fans and pundits alike.
Having acquired the kind of experience in his freshman year that he couldn’t have anticipated leading up to the beginning of 2011, as a result of the unraveling of the team through Tattoogate, and stepping in for the fleeing Terrelle Pryor, Miller will enter this year’s spring practice with the reassurance that he is the No. 1 quarterback.
While this is a far more reassuring way to initiate his sophomore season, it will bring with it the added expectation of being effective with more immediacy. And although Meyer has instantaneously re-instilled the Buckeyes’ potential to reassert themselves atop the Big Ten, Miller will have to adjust to a new head coach and new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Tom Herman, who filled the same roles at Iowa State previously.
In his freshman year, Miller continued the recent tradition of OSU quarterbacks who are just as formidable when tucking the ball under as they are when freeing it into flight, with his predecessor the maligned Pryor, and going further back, Troy Smith, as other examples of this kind of combination quarterback. He finished 2011 with 715 yards rushing on 159 attempts for 4.5 average and seven touchdowns, the latter category representing half of his final number of thrown touchdowns.
However, much of OSU’s success will be contingent upon Miller’s maturation in the pocket and his ability to develop as an efficient passer within a new offensive system. He does not have to transform into a singularly prolific passing quarterback, completely negating his ability to be creative in broken plays, rather, his development into more of a legitimate threat in the pocket, will simply accentuate his abilities as a multifaceted offensive organizer.
He is capable of the kind of games that he put together in last year’s affair against Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he threw for 235 yards, and rushed for 100 more, totaling three touchdowns on the day with two of them passing, despite narrowly losing to the Wolverines 40-34.
And Meyer has been known throughout his career as a coach who can maximize the talents of his on-field signal-callers, with examples of his work being Alex Smith, while coaching at Utah, and more recently Tim Tebow, during his time at University of Florida. The burgeoning relationship between Miller and Meyer, will be indicative of the direction, not only of the Buckeyes offense, but the team as a whole.