Is Braxton Miller Capable of Lifting Ohio State Football to the Next Level?

Leo VartorellaContributor IIJanuary 15, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Quaterback Braxton Miller #5 of Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass during the first half at the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

After a down regular season, Ohio State was beaten by Florida in the Gator Bowl, the closing mark on a year most fans would like to forget. It was Ohio State's first non-BCS bowl game since 2004, and while that may be a disappointment to fans who have grown to expect the best from the OSU football program, the season was not a total wash.  

This year gave us a glimpse of freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, a player with tons of potential, but also someone with a lot to work on this offseason. Miller, who took over for Terrelle Pryor before the season began, demonstrated that he has unparalleled raw athleticism and speed, but he struggled to pass the ball consistently throughout the course of the season.  

Though he showed improvement as the year went on, he was more of a liability than an asset in many games. Completion percentage was his biggest enemy, as he completed only 50 percent of his passes this year and had five games where he completed under 50 percent of his passes.  

However, he shined in the final game of the year against Michigan, passing for a season-high 235 yards on a season-high 25 pass attempts.

Miller's ability to run the ball jump-started the often-anemic OSU offense over the course of the season, with the shifty quarterback running for 695 yards and seven touchdowns. His athleticism will probably be used very creatively by new coach Urban Meyer in 2012. But for the Buckeyes to be successful, Miller will have to develop into a more balanced player.  

The sky is the limit for Miller, and if Meyer and his staff can help him out on the passing side of his game then the Buckeyes will be a tough team to beat in 2012.

 

Leo Vartorella is also a blog contributor for Gold Star Games (www.goldstargames.com), a tailgate gear supplier.