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Ohio State Football: Coaches Must "Unleash" QB Braxton Miller to Beat Wisconsin

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 8: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes slips through the Nebraska Cornhusker defense during their game at Memorial Stadium October 8, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Luke PashkeCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2011

Times have certainly changed since Woody Hayes' illustrious tenure as head coach at Ohio State. Woody's trademarked "three yards and a cloud of dust" offensive scheme used to dominate elite teams, but this is not the case anymore.

The fact that the Buckeyes were able to get away with a win in Illinois while completing only a single pass in the year 2011 is flabbergasting to say the least. However, this extremely conservative approach won't do the job against top-tier teams like Wisconsin.

Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller has been playing under an intense magnifying glass since he stepped on the field in his first appearance against Akron. At times, the highly touted recruit has shown great promise, but, for the most part, these have been short glances.

The best we've seen him so far (against a breathing defense) is, without a doubt, his first half against Nebraska. The young talent did a great job of scrambling for positive plays and made some solid passes. Along with his throw/run option on passing plays, he was also an effective rusher on designed runs and gave a very vanilla offense some much-needed wrinkles.

But just when it seemed like Miller was having his "coming out" party in Lincoln, his night was abruptly ended with an ankle injury in the third quarter.

The next week, against Illinois, the freshman QB was definitely a less-used weapon. His running ability may have been hampered from the lingering ankle injury he endured against Nebraska the week before and he only threw the ball FOUR times in the entire game. The product out of Huber Heights High School was a non-factor against the Illini and was bottled up by the offensive game plan.

If the coaches want to have any chance of pulling off this upset, this cannot happen again.

While OSU did come away with a win against Illinois almost two weeks ago, without the threat of the pass, the Buckeyes will have no shot against Wisconsin this Saturday. The coaches absolutely have to include Miller in this week's game plan.

Now, Miller may make mistakes in the passing game, but if he can minimize these blunders and at least put the passing game in the back of the Wisconsin defender's minds, it will aid this offense tremendously.

Also, Miller's ability to stretch passing plays and pick up first downs with his feet will enable the Buckeyes to keep the potent Wisconsin offense off the field and give the defense some valuable rest. Without a solid outing from Braxton Miller, Buckeye Nation will be hanging their heads after Saturday night.

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