Urban Meyer took over head coaching duties for The Ohio State Buckeyes at the end of 2011 with the goal of returning them to prominence. His run-first spread offense was ideally suited for quarterback Braxton Miller.
Meyer will get much of the credit, as the Buckeyes look to improve on their 6-7 record in 2011, but Albert Breer reminded fans that there is credit due elsewhere.
And thank you, Jim Tressel, for successfully recruiting Braxton Miller.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 8, 2012
The Buckeyes (2-0) have had a solid start to their final season on NCAA probation. Miller led the team in rushing against Miami (OH) last week, setting a school quarterback record with 161 yards on 17 carries. He also passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns to go with his 65-yard scoring run.
Ohio State lost their starting running back, Carlos Hyde, in the first half of the game. Miller took over, responding to a mini-challenge from Meyer last week.
"One of the things about Braxton Miller that I really had to see and that I did see today is that (he went from) an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback who manages (the game)," Meyer said after last week's game.
"He has to manage basically the entire offense, he's got to stay positive, he has to be a leader—and he showed that."
Meyer wasn't happy with his team's overall performance on Saturday against the University of Central Florida (1-1). "We're not where I thought we'd be," he said after the 31-16 victory.
In pass defense we have a long way to go and in getting pressure on the quarterback.
Offensively we're down to our third tailback and it looks like it. We have to get better. The guys carrying the ball are talented—just terrible mistakes.
There is little to be unhappy with relative to Miller, who carried the team offensively, but Meyer was frustrated with Miller's volume. Meyer thought 17 carries in Week 1 was too many, so 27 against the Knights is sure to be an issue.
Miller wasn't complaining, but he certainly noticed a difference in arm and muscle soreness between the two games.
"I wasn't as sore as I am right now but there's a big gap between 27 and 17 (carries)," he commented after his second game.
Miller gained 20 fewer yards despite the extra 10 attempts. He was 18-of-24 for 155 yards with a touchdown and an interception while passing the ball.
Meyer's spread offense has evolved into one that relies on a mobile quarterback that can run and throw. Tim Tebow is a prime example of the kind of athlete Meyer wants filling the role, and Miller will be the next quarterback to flourish in the offense.
Ohio State will certainly struggle at times in 2012. They will have issues with continuity as they work through a year they know will lack the normal rewards at the end of the season, and their defense is giving teams opportunities they should have.
But the players that will be back in 2013 know they are building the base of the program. Miller will be the cornerstone in the offense and he will be leading the team back to a BCS game before he leaves after his senior season.