The Best of the B1G, #1 Braxton Miller

b1g_iconThe returning B1G Offensive Player of the Year promises frightening new potential in Urban Meyer’s second year. A very early Heisman favorite, Braxton Miller will have several advantages this year that he did not have last year, including experience, continuing improved passing and a second year in Urban’s system. However, the strongest new development is the emergence of the receiving corps which for the two years prior was the Achilles heal of the offense. After the 2011 tat-gate suspensions deprived the offense of its only experienced receiver DeVier Posey, the offense has had to struggle with young receivers not yet strong enough to separate themselves with frequency.

Braxton Miller

Braxton Miller

That has all changed now. Not only does Braxton have a strong group of hardened veterans, but a strong recruiting class, highlighted by what should be the immediate impact of JUCO signee Corey Smith and playmakers Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall and James Clark. Also, not to be overlooked is the prospect of a healthy Jordan Hall catching passes out of the backfield alongside the power of Carlos Hyde. And we have not even gotten to tight end where Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman promise to be as robust as any unit. If I had to pick a surprise bust out darkhorse, I would go with junior Evan Spencer who has all the athleticism, strength and now experience to be a guy who can make a big play. But if you want to make an impact in this group, Evan you better start early.

One group that Braxton does not have to worry about is the offensive line. Replacing Reid Fragel will not be easy but there are several strong contenders and the unit, which was strong to begin with, is otherwise intact.

Funny how you can talk about Braxton’s potential and how great it looks by spending so much time on others before getting to Braxton himself. For the record, in 2012, Ohio State led the B1G in scoring offense and was third in total offense. The Buckeyes were also second in passing efficiency, rushing offense and red zone conversions. But they were eighth in passing offense, and Braxton was 7th in YPG. Braxton himself was second in overall offense and fourth in rushing but only the seventh leading passer.

The point is, Braxton has carved out his success largely by himself, that is mostly with his feet. He had no choice really, with such an inexperienced receiving corps and with banged up running backs. So the prospect of a Braxton Miller sitting in the middle of many other explosive weapons is tantalizing indeed. But from a different perspective, it was kind of like he has been strafing, with deadly precision, the B1G in a WWII Mustang fighter. Now it looks like he will be dropped in to seize the controls of a jet fighter. Perhaps that is a challenge in itself–it remains to be seen whether he can pull all the right levers with so many potential options, but given the experience he now has, one has to like his odds.

Every Reason to Smile

Every Reason to Smile

Immediately after the 2012 season ended, Braxton, got together with noted “quarterback whisperer” George Whitfield, Jr., who said , “Braxton has one of the biggest arms in college football. “I know people see his speed and his playmaking ability. But I am talking about, he’s got rare, rare arm talent.” The Spring Game obviously has been the only opportunity to view Braxton since working with Whitfield, but the results, admittedly limited, were all thumbs up. And of course, Ohio State is blessed with a very capable backup in fan favorite Kenny Guiton. So Ohio State fans can expect to buckle up and enjoy the ride–it promises to be a blast.

Previously on MotSaG’s Best of the B1G
#2 Taylor Martinez
#3 Bradley Roby
#4 Ryan Shazier
#5 Taylor Lewan
Best of the B1G, #10-6
Best of the B1G, #15-11
Best of the B1G, #20-16
Best of the B1G, #25-21

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