Having a dual-threat quarterback is becoming a more valuable commodity at all levels of football, but Ohio State University must keep sophomore stud Braxton Miller in the pocket a lot more to keep him on the field. Otherwise, Miller may not last the entire season.
Through two games, Miller has carried the ball 44 times, which includes 27 carries against the University of Central Florida last week.
Some of those carries are a result of sacks and, as head coach Urban Meyer noted in an AP report, blown assignments. Meyer has indicated that he doesn't want Miller to run the ball as much and that his supporting cast must step up to allow that to happen.
Despite the sack yardage counted against him, Miller has managed to scamper for 302 yards through the first two weeks of the season. That makes him the fourth best in the nation in rushing.
That's almost as many yards as he's thrown for (362), but a 2:1 ratio between passing and rushing yardage would be ideal. Maybe Miller can get by with his scrambling ability, but he has flashed such great passing ability and has the mechanics to become a polished passer.
This is where the addition of Meyer as head coach gets really interesting. At the University of Florida, Meyer coached the legendary Tim Tebow for four very successful seasons. Although Tebow put up monster passing numbers, Meyer's staff never adjusted his unconventional throwing motion. Tebow was winning games and that's all that mattered.
Miller may be vulnerable to the same fate Tebow suffered under the tutelage of Meyer, perhaps even more so based on his skill set and surroundings.
As opposed to the former Heisman Trophy winner, Miller uses his unbelievable agility and quickness to shake defenders, while Tebow was content to bulldoze linebackers and anyone else who stood in his way.
Also important to factor in is that Tebow had an outstanding supporting cast on offense, featuring multiple first-round picks on the offensive line and dynamic skill players such as Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez.
Meanwhile, a slew of inexperienced Buckeye receivers accompany Miller and their development largely depends on their raw signal-caller.
The fundamentals Miller has displayed as a collegian are far superior than Tebow's were at a similar stage, so cutting down Miller's carries will also be a great opportunity to capitalize on his seemingly limitless potential.
Then again, Miller is also a dream quarterback to run the read-option or spread the field and bust a big gain on a QB draw. Runs like the one below are evidence of that.
Meyer may be simply interested in winning as soon as possible, but the Bucks have struck gold by landing Miller, especially in a system tailored to his style.
Throwing more may win fewer games for No. 12 OSU in the short-term, but they are in the midst of a postseason ban anyway. Now would be the time to hone in on Miller's game inside the pocket, which would benefit his long-term health and Ohio State's program.