Tag:Braxton Miller
Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:49 am
 

Ohio State to use two quarterbacks in opener?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the race to replace departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State has had four possible candidates emerge: Senior Joe Bauserman (pictured at right), sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, and true freshman Braxton Miller. Each have their own considerable strengths and drawbacks, but the sense in the spring was that all four had a chance to compete for the role.

[READ MORE: Ohio State's four quarterbacks

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the race has worked itself out to an extent, and two quarterbacks -- Bauserman and Miller -- have emerged as the top two quarterbacks in the mix. This isn't much of a departure from the consensus opinion from this spring; Bauserman's got far more time in the program than anybody else, and of the younger players, Miller's by far the most physically talented. 

Since two's an easier number to pick between than four, this means we're closer to getting a starting quarterback designation from head coach Luke Fickell, right? Well, via the Buckeye RapidReports... no:

QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller are listed as co-No. 1 on the depth chart released Monday afternoon before the opener Saturday against Akron. Coach Luke Fickell has not said how long he’ll wait to designate a starter.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Ohio State used the tandem of Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine back in 1996 to considerable success; those Buckeyes went 11-1, beating Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and finishing second in the nation.

Moreover, there's hardly permanence to a Week 1 status when it comes to quarterback races. In all likelihood, this race will sort itself out on the field over the next month or so, and if it doesn't lead to a starter by then, then OSU's probably better off going with a platoon instead.

Posted on: June 9, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:41 am
 

CBSSports.com CFB 100, No. 2: The Fall of OSU



Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's fitting that Jim Tressel's nickname was The Senator. In Columbus and around the rest of the nation, that nickname was used as unironic praise, a testament to the Ohio State coach's maturity, open faith, and businesslike approach to running his football program. The name stuck because it fit. It also stuck because people conveniently forgot that Congress is and always has been one of the most reviled institutions in American history, one whose abysmal approval ratings are fueled by an institutional history of corruption, hypocrisy, and mistruths. Oh, Jim Tressel is a senator, all right. People just didn't really know it.

Back in 2010, Senator Tressel made the grave error of placing his players, his program, and himself above the law of the NCAA, and that's why we're here today (here's the full timeline). He found out that QB Terrelle Pryor and several teammates had been receiving impermissible benefits back in April, and hid the evidence from his athletic department. Astonishingly, there isn't a guarantee that the compliance department would have punished Pryor or would have withheld him from the 2010 season; after all, the department ordered memorabilia dealer (and purported Pryor payer) Dennis Talbott away from the program during the season, but Pryor was allowed to remain eligibile. 

So now, not only is Tressel out of a job and likely facing a mammoth punishment from the NCAA -- not an ideal situation for a newly unemployed, 58-year-old coach to find himself in, to say the least -- but Pryor is gone from the program now as well, right on the heels of a major NCAA investigation into his relationship with several prominent Columbus figures, and there's even been some speculation that AD Gene Smith's job is on the line too, along with president Gordon Gee

There's also a distinct possibility that the NCAA forces Ohio State to vacate some or all of the 2010 season's victories. Tressel knowingly used several players who, under NCAA statutes, were ineligible to play. And if the NCAA does indeed come down hard and takes away the 31-26 Sugar Bowl victory -- the bowl for which the "Buckeye Five" had controversially been allowed special eligibility -- oh, how the cackles of glee will ring forth from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and throughout the rest of the Southeast. The one thing OSU had been able to hang its hat on from the 2010 season that it never could before is that elusive bowl win over the SEC. It's one thing for Arkansas fans to claim that the Buckeyes only got that win by cheating, after all; it's another for the NCAA to agree with them.

More on Ohio State
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Still, it's worth reiterating that since the NCAA investigation is ongoing, it's impossible to know precisely how the story ends just yet. With Tressel and Pryor both gone from Columbus and thus no longer obligated to comply with the NCAA investigation -- though if Tressel ever wants to coach in the NCAA again, complying would be a wise idea -- the NCAA doesn't have as much to work with. That's not to say OSU's going to get off easy, though, since the NCAA probably has enough to justify significant penalties. How bad we're talking here remains to be seen.

As far as on the field goes, 2011 might be a little rough. Luke Fickell is the interim coach for now, and while there's probably a reason why Jim Tressel had named the 37-year-old his assistant head coach back in March, there's virtually no chance that Fickell has the gameday coaching chops, players' respect, or recruiting skill that Tressel had. No first-year head coaches do, for that matter. Fickell's going to have to make sure all hell doesn't break loose on that roster, keep as many recruits in the fold as possible, and also try to keep the team motivated for 2011 even if Ohio State receives some sort of postseason ban (an apt possible punishment, considering the strings pulled to keep Pryor and everyone else eligible for the game).

Meanwhile, under center, the loss of Terrelle Pryor could be disastrous. The long-running joke in Columbus was that the depth chart had been "Pryor and Prayer," and now Buckeye fans will have to prostrate themselves in front of the football gods in search of mercy. Left on the depth chart are four quarterbacks whose benefits scarcely outweigh their drawbacks at this point, and it's unlikely that any of them will be given a long leash in 2011 until a clear No. 1 QB emerges. Braxton Miller has the highest upside, but the kid is 18. Joe Bauserman was the backup last season, but he might not actually be any good -- and he's already 26. Neither Kenny Guiton nor Taylor Graham seems ready to start yet. Yes, this motley crew was going to have to take care of the offense for the first five games no matter what after Pryor was initially suspended by the team, but now there's no cavalry coming -- and Big Ten defensive coordinators know it.

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The biggest consequence of Ohio State's fall from glory, though, might have nothing to do with Ohio State itself. Now, every compliance department is under increased scrutiny, whether from outside media sources or from within the program. There's no shortage of secretly terrified athletic directors who look at what's happening in Columbus and now have to double-check that their own athletic departments are actually on the up-and-up or if there's the possibility of serious malfeasanceColt McCoy's wife gave the city of Austin a collective minor heart attack when she went on the radio and described the uphill battle Texas' compliance office faces, but she stopped short of actually saying any violations had ever occurred. Is that because none had occurred, or she just knew better than to publicly admit anything? That's the type of million-dollar question every major football program faces now, thanks to Tressel and Ohio State.

And yet, regardless of what happens from here on out, the fall of Ohio State is still going to be an endless topic of debate in the 2011 season -- just as it has been already. Everyone's got an opinion on Tressel, and everyone's going to have an opinion on what the NCAA ends up doing to the Buckeyes. Once football season rolls around, all it'll take is one "how about this Ohio State situation" from a play-by-play announcer, and all of a sudden the guys in the booth have something to talk about for the rest of the fourth quarter of some inconsequential September blowout. Most of the opinions aren't exactly going to be positive, though Tressel will probably remain something of a sympathetic figure among the talking heads. He is not a crook, they will say, and they will be correct. Tressel is not a crook. He is a senator, and one whose senatorial hubris brought down his entire football program. Other powerhouses should take heed.

Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:58 pm
 

So who's Ohio State's next starting quarterback?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

With the wholly unsurprising but still consequential news that Terrelle Pryor is leaving Ohio State, there's now a rather large, quarterback-shaped hole in Ohio State's starting lineup. Finding a replacement QB isn't exactly a new challenge for the Buckeyes -- Pryor was suspended for the first five games of 2011 anyway -- but the dynamic shifts somewhat now that Pryor won't be coming to the rescue in Week 6. It's one thing to be a five-week placeholder; it's another to be a true No. 1 quarterback.

With that in mind, here's a look at Ohio State's new quarterback situation. 

Joe Bauserman, Sr.

PROS: Joe Bauserman is the most seasoned of the Ohio State quarterbacks now, and as always, that means he's old. Bauserman is 26, in fact, having pursued a baseball career after high school instead of enrolling in college. And being that Bauserman's 26, he's further along physically than his teammates are. From a foot-speed standpoint, he's not the most athletic of the quarterbacks, but he's experienced, has good footwork in the pocket, has the football IQ to look off defenders, and has the arm to make plenty of throws.

CONS: Bauserman has never distinguished himself as a passer during his time at OSU, and his 4-11, 42-yard performance in the spring game did little to quell concerns that he's actually just mediocre. Obviously, he'll do better than a 36% completion rate and 3.8 yards per attempt over the course of the 2011 season -- he went 16-22 for 174 yards in 2010, after all -- but as pure upside goes, Bauserman might be last on this list. Fortunately for Bauserman, OSU needs a quarterback right now, not in five years. 

Braxton Miller, Fr.

PROS: If Bauserman's ineffective at any point, Ohio State will probably go next to Braxton Miller, a tantalizing true freshman prospect who was rated the top quarterback in last year's crop of recruits by Tom Lemming. Miller has a frame more like Troy Smith than Terrelle Pryor, but that's fine, because Smith did win a Heisman, after all. More importantly, Miller's athleticism has drawn many more comparisons to Pryor.

Miller enrolled early at OSU in order to start getting acclimated to the offense; that's welcome news for the Buckeyes, because if Bauserman struggles early on, the Columbus faithful will probably be clamoring to see Miller under center. You can't balme them, either; Miller is electric in the open field, and he's already a competent passer.

CONS: Miller is still just a true freshman, though, so either the coaches will have to substantially dial back the offense for Miller, or he'll likely struggle too. He's probably a year away from really getting up to speed, but that's a luxury Ohio State doesn't have right now. Starting and struggling in 2011 may do wonders for Miller's on-field maturation process, but that doesn't make him the best option in 2011.

Kenny Guiton, So.

PROS: If it's athleticism that interim head coach Luke Fickell wants and Miller's experience remains an issue, however, OSU could also turn to Kenny Guiton. Guiton is a dual-threat QB with speed to burn. He's got all the intangibles a coach could want in a quarterback, and he has performed pretty well in spring game situations thus far. With Terrelle Pryor leading the team, that hasn't led to much playing time for Guiton -- just mopup duty behind Bauserman last year, in fact -- but that's probably about to change.

CONS: Guiton is in his third year with the program, and generally by Year 3, there's a pretty good sense of what a quarterback's going to be capable of. For Guiton, the passing acuity doesn't appear to be where it needs to be yet. His experience may make him a better option than Miller on Day 1, as the mobile QBs go, but that's a gap that'll move substantially in Miller's favor over the course of that freshman season.

Taylor Graham, RFr.

PROS: If quarterbacking were a matter of just looking the part, the OSU job would be Taylor Graham's to lose; Graham has the frame of an NFL quarterback, tall and strong. He's got the arm to match, too, with the ability to make just about any throw in the Buckeye playbook. He's even got the pedigree to succeed: his father is Kent Graham, a former Ohio State and NFL quarterback.

CONS: What Graham doesn't have is experience; he's just a redshirt freshman, and he spent a significant portion of his high school career on the sidelines, injured. The concern here isn't the injuries themselves, but the amount of time and repetitions they've cost him already. Combine that with the fact that Graham is only in his second year in Columbus, and he's going to have to blow coaches away with his passing if he wants to shoot up the depth chart. There hasn't been any indication that that's going on yet. The potential for rapid growth is there, though. 

Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Nightclub tries to get OSU in more trouble

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As if Ohio State isn't having a hard enough time keeping itself out of trouble, now nightclubs are trying to get the school hit with NCAA violations. A nightclub in Huber Heights, Ohio was planning on having a graduation party of sorts for Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and his high school teammate Tre Moore. Both players graduated from high school earlier this year and enrolled early in college for spring practice, though Moore is attending Northern Illinois.

The club, Heat, had advertised the party on Facebook and since it used both Miller and Moore's names, it was an NCAA violation and one that both players had to distance themselves from.

Even though [Miller and Moore] said they had no part in the planning of the event, they moved quickly to disassociate themselves from it after being questioned about their involvement by Wayne coach Jay Minton.

“I was coming home from Illinois after spring ball at Northern Illinois, and coach Minton gave me a call when I was in the airport trying to get to Ohio,” Moore said. “And then Braxton gave me a call and said, ‘We have to find out who did this and get it taken care of.’

“I’m guessing they found some people who knew me and Braxton, probably some Wayne kids. I don’t how they picked me and him, but I’m glad we can clean this mess up.”

The bar had been planning on charging $10 at the door for guys, and $7 for ladies.

Making things more interesting, the club was supposedly throwing a party for two 18-year old kids when it's a 21-and over establishment. Local police said that it would be illegal for the club to even let Miller and Moore inside. Not that this club is averse to breaking the law, as the story points out that there have been 15 incidents with police, including arrests for drug possession, gun possession and an assault of an officer, at the club since it opened in December.

And it's only open on weekends.

Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Ohio State passing game suspect without Pryor

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Ohio State Buckeyes held their spring game today, and even though the offense "scored" plenty of points in its 59-27 victory over the defense, it was clear that the passing game was far from perfect.

With starter Terrelle Pryor sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery, OSU coach Jim Tressel (at right, looking every bit as unusual in camouflage as you'd expect) made use of four backup quarterbacks in today's scrimmage, with each throwing at least nine passes. Taylor Graham made use of a picture-perfect 69-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Williams to lead all passers with 91 yards, but he was only 4-9 on the day. All in all, the four quarterbacks combined to complete just 20 of 43 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns -- one by each quarterback.

"We’re all battling hard to make strides," said senior quarterback and putative starter Joe Bauserman, who went 4-11 for 42 yards. "We made some mistakes and there were some good plays and some bad plays."

Kenny Guiton went 5-11 for 43 yards, and Braxton Miller added 73 yards on 7-for-12 passing.

Although the offense had 59 points on the scoreboard, only 40 were points in the traditional sense; the other 19 were rewarded for first downs and plays of 20+ yards. Moreover, those 40 points came against a secondary stretched thin by injuries, as 10 defensive backs (nine on scholarship) were forced to miss the spring game.

The question of quarterback play isn't exactly moot without Pryor around, either; even though he's likely to fully recover long before the opening of the season, he's one of five Buckeyes suspended for the first five games of the season, as is DeVier Posey, the senior leader of an otherwise inexperienced WR corps. Still, fortunately for the Buckeyes, those younger wideouts performed well today.

"We have young guys at receiver and they really came along this spring," said Tressel. "They are starting to understand. First, they have to know where to line up. Then they have to understand what to do. Then they have to figure out how to it against the best guys."

"They’re just out there practicing hard," added Posey. "It’s difficult since they haven’t even been here for an entire academic year yet. The older guys are getting them to understand how everything works here and just leading by example. I felt like a proud dad today seeing three of them score touchdowns."

All in all, there's a difference between "inconsistent" and just plain "bad," and what the Ohio State Buckeyes got from their passing game was inconsistent play. Four touchdowns and no interceptions is nothing to scoff at, after all, even against a depleted secondary. The quarterback battle is still going to take months to resolve itself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Buckeyes as long as those quarterbacks are getting as much practice time as possible.

In fact, the substandard performance may be something of a blessing in disguise if Tressel can use it as an impetus for a strong QB battle through summer and fall practice. Any coach can say a player needs to improve, but when he's got the stats to back up such a statement, there's some extra motivation, and that's the situation Ohio State's in now. Today wasn't a disaster for the Buckeyes, but hopefully it wa a reminder to the quarterbacks that there's a lot of work to be done between now and September.

Posted on: February 5, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Braxton Miller may start for Buckeyes this fall

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When Ohio State signed quarterback Braxton Miller on Wednesday as part of its newest recruiting class, many thought that Miller, a talented dual-threat like Terrelle Pryor, was coming to Columbus as the successor to Pryor down the road. That road may be a lot shorter than was originally planned. While we know that Terrelle Pryor will miss Ohio State's spring game as he recovers from foot surgery, we don't know how long he'll be suspended for the start of next season.

All we do know is that the Buckeyes will need somebody to play quarterback for a few games while Pryor is out, and according to quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano, that quarterback could be Miller.

"He's going to get a shot like everyone else will this spring," Siciliano told The Columbus Dispatch. "Because we don't have a guy cemented. He's got a special skill set that not everybody has."

Miller said he was in a similar situation when he entered high school, coming in his freshman season, putting in the work and being given the starting job. Of course, winning the job at high school isn't quite the same thing as winning the job at Ohio State. Especially when you consider that Pryor, nor any other freshman quarterback, has opened the season as the starting quarterback under Jim Tressel in Columbus.

Given that history, I'd say Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton or Taylor Graham have the edge in this battle. Though if Miller is impressive enough, who knows? Maybe Tressel will loosen the sweatervest a bit and give the kid a shot.
 
 
 
 
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