Miller’s injury untimely
News of Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller injuring his throwing shoulder again in practice Monday put me in a bind.
Just that same afternoon before it happened, I was in the office proof-reading all of my stories for our annual Pigskin Preview including two on Ohio State, one a feature on Miller himself from an interview during the Buckeyes’ football media day.
So when I found out about it that evening, I knew I now had a couple of rewrite jobs on my hands.
The next day, I updated the main OSU preview after the announcement that Miller was not only lost for the season, but also would require more surgery on his shoulder.
That meant entirely scraping the piece on Miller, which was now basically unusable, and replacing it with another feature on Ezekiel Elliott, likely No. 1 successor to Carlos Hyde at tailback, and Devin Smith, the Buckeyes’ top returning wide receiver.
Of course, my first thought though when I heard about Miller’s misfortune was logically in the context of how it would affect the team in the upcoming season, especially with a highly-possible Big Ten championship and subsequent spot in the first-ever four-team College Football Playoff (CFP) hanging in the balance.
I mean, this was probably the worst scenario that could have befallen the Buckeyes before the season even began, with Miller’s primary backups having hardly any college experience.
All we’ve heard from the Ohio State players, however, in the wake of Miller’s season-ending injury is positive about his main replacement, redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who unfortunately has never taken a snap in an actual college game. He may be a cool customer under pressure in practice, but I guarantee you that will change when he steps on the field against Navy in Baltimore next Saturday at noon in the Buckeyes’ season opener.
From then on, how Ohio State fares this fall minus Miller will be nothing if not an interesting journey to watch play out as the season progresses.
One non-football point that has been brought up that caught my attention was should Miller, who obviously would qualify for a redshirt year in 2015, now hang around to use his final year of eligibility next season when OSU could take another – and probably even-stronger step – toward a berth in the CFP? Or should he – after getting medically cleared following his operation – test the NFL draft waters to see if he might conjure up any interest from the pros.
While I think the latter is an unlikely option for Miller, he is on course right now to graduate from Ohio State in December. So if he stays in Columbus through next fall, Miller will be in graduate school at OSU when he throws his next pass for the Buckeyes.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.orgMiller‘s injury untimely