Ohio State Football: Will Braxton Miller's Passing Woes Ever Catch Up to Him?
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Braxton Miller is a major reason why Ohio State is 10-0 this season. His dynamic play has allowed the Buckeyes to put up an average of 39.9 points per game, good for the 13th-best scoring offense in the nation. However, despite Miller's stellar play so far through 2012, he has has trouble stretching defenses and can struggles with his accuracy.
Despite all the hype surrounding the sophomore phenom, Braxton Miller is not a complete quarterback. His completion percentage has been under 60 percent in both seasons behind center. Furthermore, Miller's inability to stretch the field has limited Ohio State offensively at times this season and could stunt the development of OSU's younger wideouts.
That all said, Miller's track record so far says he can win consistently. However, head coach Urban Meyer must keep his star quarterback in a spread-option offense for continued success.
In short, Miller is a prototypical spread-option quarterback: He is athletic enough to wreak havoc on the ground, yet has an arm that defenses must respect. With enough skill players on the outside that can stretch the field, a spread-option offense can open up some nice rushing lanes for a mobile quarterback.
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The spread-option offense is a numbers game. If the quarterback can run with the ball, the offense has 10 offensive players to block 11 defensive players. However, if the quarterback gives it up to the running back, there are only nine offensive players to block 11 defenders. It's simple, yet it's why mobile quarterbacks can be a nightmare for a defense without the proper personnel to defend them.
Furthermore, the spread formations force the defense to defend the entire football field, which can make stopping a mobile quarterback extremely difficult. With five wide receivers on the field at all times, defenses must either choose to play a three-man front, spy the quarterback and allow a receiver to go uncovered, or not account for the quarterback and take their chances that he doesn't tuck and run.
If defenses commit to stopping the run against the spread option, they leave themselves in several one-on-one matchups on the outside. However, if they start to leave both safeties over the top on a regular basis, the option will open up. In essence, as long as the quarterback reads the defense correctly, the spread-option offense can be extremely hard to stop.
Urban Meyer ran this offense to perfection at Florida with Tim Tebow, and he's doing more of the same with Miller at OSU. Miller would not be a successful quarterback in a pro-style offense in which he is expected to throw 25-30 times per game. He does not possess the arm strength or accuracy to do so.
However, as long as he plays within the confines of Urban Meyer's system, Miller will always be the most dangerous athlete on the field. His elite speed and field vision in a spread-option offense will enable Miller to lead one of the nations most explosive offenses for the duration of his career at Ohio State.
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