Miller Ahead of Pryor at this Stage?
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State freshman Braxton Miller has been on a crash course since he arrived back in January.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The young quarterback had barely finished the Under Armour All-America game by the time he had to be on campus for the school’s academic winter quarter.
When Miller takes the field Saturday, it will be in a similar fashion to the way Terrelle Pryor was rushed into action as a true freshman in 2008. But Miller will have one distinct advantage over his predecessor.
“The thing that we’ve had that’s been a little different is Braxton was here in the spring,” Ohio State assistant coach Nic Siciliano said.
“So he's probably a little further along at this stage than TP might have been, because he's had 15 extra practices. So we've been fortunate that he's been further along, and rightly so, than what we hoped.”
Now in his sixth season with the Buckeyes, Siciliano has been Ohio State’s full-time quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons. It was his job to help mold Pryor along the way, so he understands the difficulties a young quarterback faces early in his career.
Even when Miller was working as the No. 4 quarterback in the spring, the Ohio State coaches were not thinking about the possibility of redshirting their young star in the fall.
“I don’t know if anybody gave that much thought because we’ve always gone in with the thought that our No. 2 quarterback has got to play early just in case we get in a spot late in the year where it matters,” Siciliano said.
“We want to get all those guys game experience early on.”
The Buckeyes last decided to rotate quarterbacks during Pryor’s freshman season. Sixth-year Todd Boeckman was the veteran signal caller and the returning starter for Ohio State, but the coaches knew they needed to find a way to get Pryor on the field in 2008.
That season began with Boeckman taking the bulk of the snaps, while Pryor came off the bench to provide a change-of-pace with his superb athleticism. The two quarterbacks in this rotation aren’t quite as drastically different—although Miller is obviously the superior athlete—but Siciliano didn’t rule out the idea of alternating series or even snaps.
“I would assume that the flow will dictate how we handle things,” he said Wednesday after practice.
Although Miller was struggling with some parts of the playbook early in fall camp, Siciliano said the freshman is now caught up with “just about everything.”
“We’ve always tried to do what our quarterbacks could do, and that hasn’t changed. It’s the same game plan for both of them,” he said.
“Some things Joe may do better, some things Braxton may do better, but we don’t have two separate game plans for the two quarterbacks.”
It will be interesting to see how long the Buckeyes stick with a quarterback rotation. It lasted all of three games in 2008 before Pryor took over as the full-time starter in week four.
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