Ohio State Football: Five Things Braxton Miller Must Improve on Before 2013
Braxton Miller is a very good quarterback.
In his first year running Urban Meyer's spread offense, Miller set a single-season school record with 3,310 yards of total offense. The sophomore quarterback led the team in rushing with 1,271 yards and racked up 28 total touchdowns on his way to winning the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award.
As far as Urban Meyer is concerned, though, Miller has quite a bit of work to do this offseason.
"His accuracy and passing has a long way to go," Meyer said after Ohio State's season-capping victory over Michigan.
Despite his spectacular play this year, it's not just his passing that needs improvement. Here's five things Braxton must work on before the start of the 2013 season.
Miller has a number of strengths in the passing game, but touch is not one of them.
With a lot of Miller's short to intermediate throws, it appeared as through he was throwing the ball as hard as he could. Putting zip on a pass in necessary when throwing into a tight window, but Miller constantly threw darts as some of his receivers were running wide open on short routes.
One of Miller's priorities this offseason needs to be throwing more catch-able passes.
Miller posted some amazing rushing statistics this year, which gives the impression he is a natural scrambler.
“I’m going to do a study," Meyer said. "I don’t think he had any yards this year scrambling. It was all runs. That’s something we’re going to work on. When it’s open, take it. That is a concern, that’s something we’ll address.”
Miller has often talked about how he keeps his eyes down the field looking for receivers when he leaves the pocket, but there were times this year when he ignored a wide open running lane in favor of throwing the ball to a covered receiver downfield.
When Miller faces pressure, he tends to forget his fundamentals.
Footwork is key for successful quarterbacks, but when facing a blitz Miller abandoned his fundamentals and, at times, threw the ball up for grabs.
“If he becomes fundamentally the best quarterback in America, I think he will be the best quarterback in America,” Meyer said.
Even basic principles like throwing the ball away on a lost play would greatly benefit both him and his team. Despite being one of the most physically gifted athletes in college football, Miller was sacked 28 times in 2012, tied for 17th-worst in the country.
Getting back to basics would be to Miller's advantage going forward.
One week after getting slammed to the turf and knocked out of the game against Purdue, the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to State College for a huge road test against one of the best defenses in the conference.
During the Penn State game, things just got weird. For the first time all season, Braxton slid at the end of some of his runs. It was a great idea in theory, but Miller was clearly uncomfortable with it.
Instead of actually sliding, Miller fell in a way that still left him open to get hit.
"Oh my gosh, man, I need to practice on that and I'll be all right," Miller said about his sliding after the game, according to ESPN.com.
Miller's biggest priority this offseason should be his accuracy.
The sophomore quarterback completed just 58 percent of his passes in 2012, which ranked 81st in the country.
A lot of that had to do with Miller's touch issue in addition to his lack of fundamentals. In order to take the next step as a quarterback, he'll have to vastly improve his accuracy.
Miller completed less than 60 percent of his passes in seven of Ohio State's 12 games this year, and during two of those games he threw for 45 percent or less.
Miller will have to work on all of these issues if he is to become the quarterback that Urban Meyer wants him to be.
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