The Ohio State football team is still a few weeks from reporting for fall camp, but Braxton Miller isn't waiting that long to get ready for the 2014 season.
Coming off a shoulder surgery that cost him all of spring practice, Miller has been working hard this offseason to improve for his final year as the Buckeyes' quarterback.
That's good news for Ohio State.
Due to offseason NCAA restrictions, Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff can't evaluate summer workouts. Despite the direction of his coaches, Miller has made great progress.
Ohio State is expected to be one of the handful of teams to make a run at major college football's first-ever playoff—an array of media publications project the Buckeyes as a top-six preseason team—but Meyer will need his quarterback at his very best for that to happen. Ohio State must replace four multiyear senior starters along its offensive line, its top rusher (Carlos Hyde) and top receiver (Corey Brown).
That puts a lot of pressure on Miller, but the dual-threat signal-caller spurned last year's NFL draft to prove he can handle it.
“I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in January, according to an official release from the school. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game."
Accomplishing that takes diligence—a trait that Miller has proven to posses throughout his collegiate career. For the second consecutive offseason, he has enlisted the help of quarterback guru George Whitfield, Jr., to improve his passing game.
That kind of offseason dedication has paid off for Miller so far. In each of his three seasons, he has shown dramatic improvement in the passing game.
Those improvements aren't lost on Meyer, who's expecting big things from Miller this season.
"If he makes the same strides he made year one to year two, year two to year three and this year, year four, he could have a great year," Meyer said, according to Moon's Plain Dealer feature.
Aside from working with notable quarterback coaches, Miller is putting in extra work with his teammates. Last week—on a Friday night in the middle of the summer—Miller was in Ohio State's practice facility running drills with receiver Jalin Marshall.
Working that hard and building that kind of chemistry during the offseason pays dividends on fall Saturdays.