Ohio State Is More Than Just Braxton Miller This Season
The Ohio State Buckeyes' Braxton Miller grabs all the headlines in Columbus these days, and rightfully so. He's a legit Heisman Trophy-type player, and right now, questions abound about his status for the game this week thanks to an MCL sprain.
For most teams, that would spell dire circumstances. If we were sitting here at this point in the season just 365 days ago, Ohio State would've been in dire circumstances themselves. Braxton Miller was Ohio State football in 2012.
He put this team squarely on his back and arguably won five or six games on his own. Not because he wanted to, but because the Buckeyes had no one else on offense capable of completely taking over a game when the team needed it the most.
However, thanks to what we've all witnessed over the last two weeks and the offseason, this isn't last year and Ohio State is far more than Braxton Miller this time around.
The team is far more balanced and Miller isn't expected to be the main rushing and passing threat on his own anymore. He can concentrate on being a quarterback and a leader, not just an athlete with skills as a quarterback; that could be scary news if Miller stays healthy this year.
The first bit of evidence of this increased offensive firepower comes from the running game: the emergence of Jordan Hall as the player whom the media and Urban Meyer expected to see all along. He leads the team with 234 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through two games.
Hall brings a different dynamic to this team with his speed and vision in the run game. Opponents must now account for not only Miller, but also another player in the outside run game.
Last season, that wasn't the case and Miller still scorched the vast majority of opponents (Wisconsin and Michigan State excluded).
Ohio State has also done it all without the services of their leading running back from a season ago, Carlos Hyde; and that's a frightening thought. Hyde brings a power game that no one else in the backfield can really match.
In his absence though, we've seen that the Buckeye freshman class is also capable of contributing in a big way. Dontre Wilson has seen some major action behind Hall and is showing he is a force in that hybrid role as well.
He's got 68 yards on the ground and has caught four passes for 24 yards in the early season.
Last year the targets weren't there in the passing game, and having Hall injured more often than not forced a different game plan from both offensive coordinator Tom Herman and from Meyer himself.
What we are witnessing with Miller or Guiton behind center is the offense that most expected to see last year.
They are getting the most out of wide receiver Devin Smith, who already has 10 receptions, and tight end Jeff Heuerman has shown how he can be used much more now that there's another option in the backfield.
He already has half of his 2012 season total in the receiving game with four receptions for 45 yards this season.
Those are just a few examples of how dangerous and multifaceted this offense is when compared to last season's.
Let's also not forget that this was an offense that put up 40 or more points just four times last season. This year, through two games, the Buckeyes have two 40-plus point performances already and a lot of that has to do with the fact that this offense is so much more than Miller.
Chances are we haven't even scratched the surface of how deep and explosive this offense could be, and that has to be scary for opposing defensive coordinators the rest of the way.
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