Quarterback Braxton Miller showed improvements passing the football that could mean big things for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Now that the Buckeyes have completed their postseason ban, Miller and his team will look to build on the 12-0 season that first-year head coach Urban Meyer lead them to last season.
For the Buckeyes to have success next season, they will need Miller to deliver on those improvements when the season starts.
Miller made strides in his game last season, but still left plenty to be desired at the quarterback position. While he proved to be a double-threat, he too often got lost or overwhelmed in the pocket and made bad decisions as a result. Miller threw six interceptions compared to 15 passing touchdowns.
Too often, those sacks and interceptions kept opponents in the game. In games where Miller threw an interception, the Buckeyes won by an average of 9.2 points. When he was interception-free, the Buckeyes won by an average of 19.5 points per game.
In Ohio State's spring game, Miller showed off some of his passing improvements. His stats weren't the most efficient, but he was extremely productive (via The Fan's Lori Schmidt).
Braxton Miller was 16/25 for 217 yds, 2 passing TDs, 1 rushing score in the win. Michael Thomas had 7 catches for 79 yds and a TD in loss.— Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt) April 13, 2013
While the numbers were strong, it was how Miller put those together that impressed. Let's take a look at some highlights from the game.
In the this highlight, Miller's pocket presence is on display as he sits in the pocket until the last possible moment before escaping. Instead of tucking the ball and running, Miller should great composure to stick with the play and find his receiver in the end zone.
In this clip, Miller shows strong pocket presence by avoiding the pass-rusher and escaping through an open lane. While Miller got to the edge, he kept his eyes up, looking for a receiver up until the moment he crossed the line of scrimmage.
Heading into a huge season for the program, they need Miller to keep building up passing game. The more consistent he gets in terms of making decisions and then following through properly, the better this Buckeyes offense will be.
If Miller is still getting lost in the pocket, the Buckeyes will be vulnerable to upsets. They can't afford him turning the ball over or taking sacks and inopportune times.
Miller has the tools to become a much better passer and take this team to the next level. With a strong defense and talented offensive weapons around him, Miller has everything he needs to lead this team to a national championship.