Final countdown: Impact player No. 1
August, 31, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Training camp is done and game preparations have begun. The torture of the offseason is nearly through, and Ohio State's first game with coach Urban Meyer is closing in. Leading up to the opener against Miami (Ohio), BuckeyeNation will count down the 10 players who figure to have the biggest impact on Meyer's first campaign, finishing strong with the guy to whom Meyer is handing the keys in the spread offense.
- POSITION: Quarterback
- BASICS: The sophomore might never have been truly comfortable after getting thrown into the fire right away in an offense that perhaps wasn't ideally suited for him. But his lightning-quick acceleration combined with 220 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame and a stronger arm than he perhaps gets credit for make him ideal for Meyer's system.
- BY THE NUMBERS: Miller will be asked to throw more often in the up-tempo, no-huddle offense the Buckeyes will run, and they'll need a higher completion percentage to really make it hum. As a freshman, Miller completed just over 54 percent of his attempts, and Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman will be looking for improvement -- while still keeping his interceptions (four in 2011) to a minimum.
- OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT: Since taking over the program and getting to know his next signal-caller, Meyer has had no issues comparing him to guys he has coached in the past. Athletically, Meyer has actually placed Miller above a certain Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback he had at Florida. Now Miller has to prove that he can translate that physical ability into points and victories, which will require him to consistently make the right reads in the option running game and deliver the ball quickly to the correct place as a passer. There might be some bumps along the way, but the Buckeyes are confident that Miller can take them where they want to go.
- HE SAID IT: I think he’s more mentally confident right now. Physically in the spring, his problems all stemmed from his footwork and he’s done a really good job over the break of trying to break some bad habits. Those still show up every now and again, but I think he’s a lot more mentally confident and you can see a little bounce in his step. He’s certainly still got a long ways to go, but you can tell he studied in the offseason and he’s worked with his wideouts in the offseason and that’s paid dividends. -- Herman