Ohio State may have taken care of business against Purdue on Saturday afternoon, but the cost of victory could be steep. And when the dust has settled, a change in approach when it comes to Braxton Miller is a must.
After watching Miller get carted off the field and driven out of Ohio Stadium in an ambulance on Saturday afternoon with what Ohio State coach Urban Meyer says is a head injury, something's got to give.
Meyer said he thinks it’s a head injury for Braxton Miller. Very concerned.— Brandon Castel (@BCastOZone) October 20, 2012
For those who didn't see the play, Miller took off running on 1st-and-10 from Ohio State's 26-yard line late in the third quarter before being bought down around Purdue's 39-yard line by what was a borderline horse-collar tackle.
We all know that Meyer utilized the talents of another dual-threat quarterback, Tim Tebow, during his time leading the Florida Gators. The comparison between Miller and Tebow is obvious, and it's one that Meyer himself made during his call-in show on 97.1 FM The Fan in Columbus last month.
"Very similar guys. They’re both competitive human beings. They’re both very talented people. Braxton has more talent. Tim is probably more of a grinder," Meyer said.
Translation: Miller's a better football player, but Tebow can take more of a licking.
That's not to say that Braxton Miller isn't tough, because he is. And I'm certainly not advocating the idea of making Miller a pure pocket passer, because that's simply not his game and it doesn't play to his strengths. But he cannot continue to be the focal point of their running game either.
Carlos Hyde is a heck of a running back. While giving him a few more carries per game might not result in the explosive plays that Miller can break off, he's more than capable of moving the chains. And that, in turn, takes Miller out of the opposition's cross hairs for a few more plays.
Hyde is built to take the abuse—Miller isn't.
Utilize Hyde more often. Take advantage of the fact that Miller is a superior passer than Tebow was at any point in his career, whether it be at Florida or in the NFL.
Braxton Miller under center gives Ohio State the best chance to win, and protecting the team's biggest asset needs to become a priority for Meyer and Ohio State.