Welcome to "Inside The Game," a weekly discussion of some aspect of the Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry with BuckeyeNation’s Austin Ward and WolverineNation’s Michael Rothstein.
To kick things off, Ward and Rothstein will make arguments for each position group as to which has a better unit -- Michigan or Ohio State. Then you get to decide. The two start where almost everything starts on a college football team -- the quarterback.
Ward: Thrown into the pool as a freshman, Braxton Miller didn’t drown.
Playing in an offense that might not have been ideally suited for his skills, the sophomore now has a spread system and a new Ohio State coach in Urban Meyer who is salivating over his athleticism.
A year older and with starting experience, still as dynamic but in an offense tailor-made for his abilities, Miller could be on the brink of exploding on the national scene.
And assuming he stays healthy, he’ll have almost another full season of action under his belt by the time the Buckeyes take on their rivals in November -- a showdown that could include two of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
Miller might not have quite as much national recognition as his counterpart just yet, but what might give the Buckeyes an edge is the depth they have under center this fall thanks to a similar set of skills backup Kenny Guiton brings to the table.
Both players are more than capable of making plays on the ground, and while there might have been some initial concern about accuracy or arm strength, Meyer tested his passers plenty in the spring and clearly feels comfortable with both options heading into camp.
Rothstein: Denard Robinson is back for one final go-round and if he wants to have the kind of success he’d like this season, all of it will start with how accurate his passing is. Gone are his two biggest safety nets -- Junior Hemingway and Kevin Koger -- and in their place come Roy Roundtree, Jeremy Gallon and a lot of inexperienced players at receiver and tight end.
This means Robinson will have to be more accurate with his passing.
His running will be there and he has a shot at breaking Pat White’s NCAA quarterback rushing record with a good season. But for the Wolverines to have success, he has to finally mature as a passing quarterback as much as a rushing one.
Robinson has already made great strides in other areas. His leadership has improved. His public speaking has grown exponentially. All of that could help him on the field, but if he puts the type of effort into the on-field growth as much as he did with his off-the-field stuff, he could have a special year
Teams still don’t know totally how to stop him and he’s going on his third season as a starter. All of that could line up for a special final season for Robinson at Michigan.