Ohio State Football: How Much Can Braxton Miller Improve in Year 2 Under Meyer?

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes smiles with head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes after defeating the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Ohio State Buckeyes won, 35-23. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

If history really does repeat itself, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is on the brink of a monster season in 2013.

The only evidence needed to back that statement up requires a simple look at the numbers of Josh Harris, Alex Smith and Tim Tebow, the three most notable quarterbacks to play for Urban Meyer during his tenure as a head coach.

The quarterbacks listed above all had undeniable talent and benefited greatly from operating Meyer's spread offense. Those quarterbacks, though, turned a big corner in their second year under Meyer.

The familiarity and comfort with the playbook made all the difference in the world.

Here's a breakdown of the statistics these three quarterbacks produced in their first two years with Meyer at the helm.


Josh Harris, Bowling Green (2001-02)

  Pass Yds  Comp %  Passing TD  INT  Rush Yards  Rushing TD 
Year 1  1022 61.4  9  3  600  8
Year 2  2425 56.1  19  11  737  20

Harris shared duties with Andy Sahm in a two-quarterback system before taking on a featured role the following year. The numbers reflect that, but Harris' leadership and ability to run Meyer's offense allowed him to capture the starting position despite Sahm being a senior in '02.


Alex Smith, Utah (2003-04)

  Pass Yds  Comp %  Passing TD  INT  Rush Yards  Rushing TD 
Year 1  2247  65.0  15  3  452  5
Year 2  2952  67.5  32  631  10

Smith's numbers went up across the board in his second year with Meyer—most notably his touchdown passes. Smith also became a more efficient runner, not only increasing his overall production, but spiking his yards per carry average from 3.1 in 2003 to 4.7 in 2004.


Tim Tebow, Florida (2006-07)

  Pass Yds  Comp %  Passing TD  INT  Rush Yards  Rushing TD 
Year 1  358  66.7  5  1  469  8
Year 2  3286  66.9  32  6  895  23

Tebow, like Harris, operated in a two-quarterback system during his first year under Meyer, so the numbers reflect that greatly. But Tebow's comfort and ability to run Meyer's spread in his second year is undeniable. Tebow became the first-ever sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy with his record-setting season at Florida.


Braxton Miller, Ohio State (2012)

  Pass Yds  Comp %  Passing TD  INT  Rush Yards  Rushing TD 
Year 1  2039  58.3  15  6  1271  13

Miller set an Ohio State single-season record for total offense in 2012, piling up 3,310 total yards to complement 28 touchdowns in just 12 games. Miller's production dropped off a bit in the second half of the season, but he still had enough in the tank to lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated season.

What can we expect from Miller in 2013? 

Using Smith's numbers from Utah would likely be a better gauge than Harris' or Tebow's because Smith was the only full-time starter his first two years under Meyer.

But if Miller grows as comfortable as these three quarterbacks did in their second years, he could have a special season in '13. And, just for fun, if Miller were to make the exact same statistical jump that Smith did his second year, this is what Miller would do in his junior season:


Projected Stats for Braxton Miller in 2013:

Pass Yds  Comp %  Passing TD  INT  Rush Yards  Rushing TD 
 2677  60.6  32  8  1766  26


David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412