Ohio State Football: Why Braxton Miller's Growth Is a Great Sign for 2012

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IMay 4, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 26:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gets in for a second quarter touchdown past Kenny Demens #25 of the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Ohio State spring practices were among the most anticipated in program history, particularly because of the promise of QB Braxton Miller.

As a freshman, Miller made all sorts of electrifying plays with his feet while displaying the ability to make big plays when his team needs them, including in the upset win over Wisconsin on Oct. 29.

His throwing needed some work as he missed his man several times throughout the season.

Luckily, Miller finally got some good help in the coaching department.

Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman each have a strong track record of developing quarterbacks from Alex Smith to Josh McCown to Tim Tebow.

Their resume far exceeds that of the previous staff which included then-QB coach Nick Siciliano, who was once a video coordinator before being moved up to QB coach.

That background made an immediate impact as Braxton Miller grew by leaps and bounds based on his play in the spring game.

Miller was 24-31 for 258 yards and one interception, showing much crisper technique and throws and already looking like a good fit in the new offense.

Although the package Meyer and Herman put on the field was very pass-oriented and very "vanilla" according to Meyer, Miller looked under control and decisive.

The conditions prevented Miller from running the football, which he will be doing much, much more of in the regular season.

Unlike in past years where Miller might have been asked to stay in the pocket, he will be asked to be more mobile and to use his legs to make plays in the running game.

That is the type of thing Ohio State fans want to see.

For a team and fanbase that has been running an archaic offense for the better part of a decade, seeing a coaching staff that wants their QB to run is hard to imagine.

The growth that Miller showed in the spring game was very promising, and the best way for a team that has some talent deficiencies to overcome their problems is for the quarterback to be the best player on the field.

Miller has the ability to do that, and he looks like he is on the right track to being a great quarterback.

That should provide all sorts of optimism this season even though Ohio State can't play for anything but an undefeated season and program pride.


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