Kenny Guiton's Success Frees Braxton Miller Up to Take Risks for Ohio State

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor ISeptember 27, 2013

Sep 7, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer checks on quarterback Braxton Miller (5) after Miller was injured on a play against the San Diego State Aztecs at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Braxton Miller ran for more than 1,200 yards and passed for more than 2,000 last season, setting the Ohio State school record for most yards in a season, yet right now he may not be the most popular quarterback on his own team. 

That honor belongs to Kenny Guiton, who has ripped opposing offenses for 641 yards and 12 touchdowns in the last three games while playing in place of Miller, who was injured early on against San Diego State.

Sep 21, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kenny Guiton (13) scrambles for open field against the Florida A&M Rattlers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 76-0. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Guiton's newfound status and results are both a blessing and a curse for the Buckeyes. It is a blessing because they know the guy behind their star is capable of running their offense. And it's a curse because it is just another outside distraction for a team already dealing with plenty of distractions. 

However, this is a major blessing on the field because of that trust factor. It will allow Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman to open up the offense and not be so careful with a returning Miller. 

Instead of keeping him in the pocket or designing an offense that will only play to what they think he can do physically, Meyer and Herman can let the offense flow how it would, injury or not. 

While Meyer may say that the offense won't change regardless of who plays under center, the reality is that the personality of each quarterback is different. 

Miller is more likely to scramble out of trouble and take chances with his arm and legs. Guiton has shown he can do both, but he's more inclined to go through the offense as it's drawn up before improvising. 

On Saturday against the Badgers, Miller's leg will be put to the test. However, expect Miller, Meyer and Herman to know that and look to take a few more risks.

Whether that is getting him involved in some trick plays or more play-action passing, expect Miller to be freer to take chances, with the knowledge that a capable player is behind him. The game offers Miller and the offense more of a chance to build confidence.  

So what if Miller can't do something or has to come out at some point in the game? Guiton can be an easy replacement for him, right?

Meyer has hinted that both quarterbacks will see time on Saturday. If the Buckeyes believe Miller isn't in rhythm or isn't moving the offense well enough, they may turn to Guiton. 

No matter who plays at quarterback, Ohio State has a signal-caller who has experience and can competently run the offense. That means they can take chances with Miller and enjoy a great fallback plan in Guiton too.


Andy Coppens is the Big Ten Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for more coverage of all things Big Ten.