Ohio State Football: Braxton Miller Will Thrive Under Urban Meyer in 2013

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IAugust 20, 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

The kid gloves are off as far as Urban Meyer is concerned with quarterback Braxton Miller, and that's a good thing.

Meyer recently discussed his plans to expand the offensive playbook this season, as noted by David Briggs of the Toledo Blade. Apparently, Miller and the explosive Buckeyes offense were held back by a scaled-back playbook in 2012.

If you look at our offense last year, we were a pro offense. There were not a lot of read components ... which is kind of the essence of what spread football is. That really didn’t exist for us.

We even did some single-wing, which means a direct snap to the quarterback, and one of our best plays was the quarterback counter because he’s our best player. You’ll see a different style of offense this year.

Meyer is known for running one of the most effective spread offenses in the nation. 

He turned Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith into a No. 1 overall pick during his time at Utah, and then, he performed one of the greatest feats of illusion known to mankind by turning Tim Tebow into college football royalty and an exceptionally efficient quarterback.

While Smith has learned how to become a proficient starting quarterback in the NFL, he has some serious limits to what he can do as a passer, and Tebow is one the worst passers to ever put on an NFL uniform. 

Yet both players were so good under Meyer's tutelage—running the spread offense—that they tricked NFL scouts and general managers into drafting them in the first round. 

Miller possesses athletic skills that supersede anything Tebow and Smith had to offer, and he's primed to explode with a monster season running the same offense that made them superstars. 

This is partly due to the fact that Ohio State features a couple of electric playmakers capable of fulfilling the role of a Percy Harvin. Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall give the Buckeyes an element of raw speed the team didn't have last season on offense, and Meyer intends on making use of his new tools, as noted by Briggs:

We’re a faster team. What is the spread? ... You force the defense to defend 53 1/​3 yards [the width of the field]. The Ohio State Buckeyes did not do that a year ago. You didn’t have to defend that. That’s all speed and creating space. I’m seeing more of that.

Defensive coordinators beware.

Ohio State—the team that overwhelmed opponents with 37.2 points per game (ranking No. 21 in the nation)—will be far more explosive this season with the spread offense.

Miller's potential for greatness was clearly evident last season, though there is certainly room for improvement. Running a conservative attack, he passed for 2,039 yards with 15 touchdowns and just six interceptions while adding another 1,271 yards—to lead the team on the ground—and another 13 touchdowns.

Accuracy must improve in order for Miller to truly become a Heisman candidate at the end of the year, as he completed just 58.3 percent of his passes, but the kid appears ready to take that next step, as noted by ESPN's Chris Fowler:

Meyer will challenge Miller to grow this season like he's never done before. Based on what the young quarterback has been able to do so far, it should surprise no one if Miller takes home the Heisman Trophy at the end of the year.

It also shouldn't be a surprise if Ohio State ends up becoming one of the two teams vying for a national championship in the BCS Championship Game. 

This team is going places, and Miller's game will absolutely blossom this season leading the charge under Meyer's spread offense. 

 

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