Miller’s role at quarterback still is unclear
Braxton Miller has had an “incredible week” of practice, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
What that means for Miller in his new role as backup quarterback Saturday at home against Minnesota is unclear, because his teammates are not saying much.
Miller, the former quarterback who now plays H back, returned to his old position after starting quarterback J.T. Barrett was issued a misdemeanor citation for operating a motorized vehicle while impaired last week.
Barrett is suspended for the Minnesota game, leaving Cardale Jones to start for the top-ranked Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten).
Meyer had packages for Miller to receive snaps this season, but more is expected of him against the Gophers (4-4, 1-3).
How much more?
“I’m not answering any Braxton questions,” linebacker Joshua Perry said.
Miller, who missed last season after undergoing two shoulder surgeries that prompted him to move away from the QB position, may actually throw the ball downfield. His one attempt this season was a shovel pass to Jalin Marshall, essentially a forward handoff, for three yards against Northern Illinois.
So how far is Miller throwing the ball in practice this week?
“No comment,” linebacker Darron Lee said.
Right guard Pat Elflein did offer that Jones and Miller could be used in red zone situations.
“(Jones) and Braxton are dangerous weapons,” he said. “I feel we’ll score points with both.”
Meyer said it’s been a packed week for Miller, shuttling between quarterback work, H back and still working on his receiving skills.
“There’s a lot going,” Meyer said. “He works with (quarterbacks coach) Tim Beck for awhile, then goes over to H for a bit. It’s a busy week. The good thing he is a natural at that (quarterback) position.
“He’s had an incredible week of practice. He just shows up and really goes about his business.”
Meyer also praised Jones, who started the first seven games before losing the starting job to Barrett before the last game against Rutgers.
“I imagine as a competitor, a guy who wants to play, this is his shot to be the starting quarterback,” Meyer said. “We’ll worry about next week next week.”
He doesn’t believe that Jones will be more relaxed without having to worry about Barrett this week.
“How you get more relaxed is to perform well in practice because then I know they are going to be ready and understand the game plan,” Meyer said. “He’s done a great job.
“I made the comment earlier on the year, how do play and not look over your shoulder? You’re the quarterback at Ohio State.”
Elflein said it’s a team effort to make sure Jones succeeds.
“I expect Cardale to play great,” he said. “He’s had a really good week of practice. We all have. If we all play good around him, too, that will get him going to play good as well.”