Defending Braxton Miller

Before the 2013 season started Braxton Miller was the odds on favorite by many in the oblong university sports ball world to win the Heisman Trophy. Perhaps that was the ultimate kiss of death for the super star junior QB from Ohio State. He started off the season with a ho-hum performance vs. Buffalo and was knocked out of the next 2.97 games due to an MCL injury suffered during the 1st drive vs. San Diego State.

Enter Kenny Guiton

Guiton stepped in for the injured Miller and put up the following numbers, which lead to many Buckeye faithful clamoring for Kenny Guiton to start over Braxton Miller:

Guiton

While this looks great, and it was…lets also remember this:

ranks

Guiton’s performance was outstanding. He did what a backup QB should do. Come in for an injured starter and be able to run the offense. And against literally terrible opponents, that is exactly what he did. Enter the Wisconsin Badgers, who currently have the 5th ranked scoring defense and the 5th ranked overall defense in college football. Many fans did not want Miller to start against Wisconsin fearing he would be too rusty, or not be able to read the zone read option, or Guiton was simply better. The “ors” were seemingly endless. What did Miller do?

He threw for 4 touchdowns, threw for 198 yards and ran for another 83. After that you would have thought that any QB controversy looming in Columbus would have subsided. Nope.

Millers next game was vs. Northwestern and at times he struggled. He turned the ball over 3 times and OSU found themselves down by 10 in the 2nd half. After Millers 2nd fumble Meyer and Herman contemplated yanking Miller for Guiton. Guiton began to warm up but never saw the field. Down late in the 4th quarter, Miller lead an 81 yard drive setting up the Carlos Hyde go ahead TD and OSU prevailed vs. an outstanding Northwestern team in Evanston. Miller accounted for 68 of the 81 yards.

I believe Millers criticism has been unfair and magnified by Guiton’s stellar play. Any time Miller throws an incompletion, turns the ball over or makes a poor read on the zone read option he will have Buckeye fans pleading with Urban Meyer give him the hook and insert Guiton to save the day.

Braxton Miller is the starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The last time he lost a football game Jim Bollman was still coaching the offense and Luke Fickell was still the head coach. Can the vocal minority of Buckeye fans please put down the grain alcohol and stop already? Braxton Miller been outstanding for most of his career and he continues to improve and become a more consistent and complete QB. Remember his 1 for 4 passing numbers vs. Illinois his freshman year? Those stat lines are a thing of the past. Guiton is a game manager…at best. Miller is a game changer.

All I have to say is:

keep-calm-and-serenity-now-9

Braxton Miller myths:

He can’t read the zone read option. This may have been true AT TIMES last year, however he certainly got better as the year went on. It was drilled into his head last year that in order for that offense to click he had to be the primary ball carrier. I believe this fact hurt Miller and his ability to properly read the unblocked edge defender and he grew a bit of a superman complex. The Wisconsin game last year is a great example of this, as he kept the ball numerous times when he should have been giving to Hyde. Late in the game he did that and Hyde does what Hyde does….runs over defenses.

This year Miller is reading the zone read much better and is making the right read far more often than not. I put together every option play I saw vs. NW:

All but a couple plays are read correctly. Him not reading the zone read properly is flat out false sans the occasional miss, which even the great Kenny Guiton does from time to time.

He isn’t living up to his hype. Serenity now. Here is what is on Millers resume thus far:

2011 UnderArmour HS All-American
2011 2x Big Ten Freshman of the Week
2011 CFPA National Freshman Trophy
2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
2012 Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award
2012 Davey O’Brien Award Finalist
2012 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
2012 Big Ten Quarterback of the Year
2012 All-Big Ten 1st Team (Media)
2012 5th Place in Heisman Trophy Voting

Honestly this probably isn’t a myth, simply because of the ridiculous expectations put on him by media and fans alike, including myself. Everything pointed to him having a monster year. 2nd year in a Meyer offense usually means amazing things for the QB. Collectively the QB combination compares very well with some other Heisman front runner QBs. Even with all the awards he has won and the fact that he is undefeated since Meyer has taken over, he still has to deal with the fact that many Buckeye fans aren’t happy with him.

Going forward, all Braxton Miller has to do is continue to help Ohio State win football games, just like he did vs. the two best teams on OSU’s 2013 schedule.

Comments

  1. Kade, you are my hero! haha no but seriously this article is what I’ve been shouting and yelling about on my twitter. I could not agree with you more. I also appreciate you debunking certain myths about Braxton which have become complete hyperbole. Great article

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