Ohio State is subtle, but not that subtle.
In all, Ohio State credits Miller, a senior, with six game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. That number encompasses Miller's entire collegiate career and is one more than Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
"A survey conducted in the past week by Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors revealed an impressive statistical note about Ohio State University senior quarterback Braxton Miller," the first line of the article reads.
If there was ever a preseason Heisman push that wasn't really an official preseason Heisman push, this is it. It's an innocent "Oh, hey, look at this." A not-so-coincidental "Huh, whaddya know about that?"
"Ohio State's protocol is to let our outstanding performer's play on the field drive the discussion, initially, regarding major national awards and honors," Sports Information Director Jerry Emig told B/R in an email.
|Most Game-Winning Drives Among Active QBs|
|Name||School||Number of Drives|
|Braxton Miller||Ohio State||Six|
|Shane Carden||East Carolina||Four|
|Brandon Connette||Duke/Fresno State||Three|
Ohio State probably isn't the first program to publish something of this nature nor will it be the last. When it's crunch time, though, Ohio State wants you to know that Miller is the best in the country at getting the job done.
It's a perfect time to blast out that little piece of information. It's June, and beyond the Ed O'Bannon trial, there's little else going on.
It's the right angle, too. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games, right? So much is made of the so-called "Heisman moment" when everything is on the line. As Ohio State points out, Miller has two game-winning drives against Wisconsin, a Big Ten title contender, one against Northwestern, when the Wildcats were nationally ranked and undefeated, and one against Michigan.
It's still an obvious promotional tool, but it's done a little differently than most offseason Heisman or award pushes. Miller already should be a preseason Heisman candidate, but this is the first major unofficial nudge of the summer.
There's no doubt Miller is a gifted athlete who is crucial to his team's success, but improving as a passer is one way he can increase his Heisman chances (the other is stay healthy). It could also improve his NFL draft stock, as Mike Huguenin of NFL.com notes:
Miller (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is a great fit for Meyer's run-heavy version of the spread and is a true dual-threat quarterback. But NFL scouts will be looking for improvement from Miller as a passer this fall; the more he improves as a passer, the earlier he will hear his name called in the 2015 NFL Draft.
B/R colleague Adam Kramer says the last thing anyone wants to hear is a player's name in the summer, since surely nothing good can come of it. He's right—for the most part. This is the exception.
And the Buckeyes accomplished their goal: We're talking about Miller.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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