Monday, September 17, 2012
Monday briefing: Awards talk for Miller
By Austin Ward
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The first weekly award of the season arrived for Braxton Miller.
His coach still isn't ready to discuss the Ohio State quarterback as a candidate for a yearly honor.
Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten's offensive player of the week after a five-touchdown performance against California.
Miller's hot streak to open the season earned some recognition from the Big Ten on Monday. His five-touchdown performance in a win over California earned him offensive player of the week honors. It was a dynamic outing that only added to the possibility he could wind up in the conversation for more serious hardware this season. But Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer isn't ready to have that discussion just yet, though when the time is right, he suggested he'd acknowledge it.
"I don’t think he’s played well [enough]," Meyer said. "Let’s put it this way, at some point if he does, I’ve been asked and I’ve been lucky enough to have guys go to New York, it’s been kind of fun to be part of that and have Heisman candidates. Three or four have been mentioned and all that, and I think at the appropriate time, I won’t say he’s not.
"I don’t believe he is now -- he’s not playing well enough yet."
There could still be room for improvement, but few quarterbacks have enjoyed a better stretch to open the season than Miller.
The sophomore is 10th in the nation in rushing, 12th in total offense and improved to No. 2 in the country in points responsible for after throwing for four scores and adding another rushing touchdown in the 35-28 victory Saturday. But Miller might just be getting started as he and Meyer's spread offense keep growing together.
"We’re getting close," Meyer said. "I am pleased with his progress. He’s a much different player than he was a year ago, and that’s just coming from [running backs coach] Stan Drayton, who was on the staff a year ago since I didn’t know. I mean, Braxton Miller showed up in training camp and wasn’t in the conversation about playing, and ability-wise he should have been. That tells you he wasn’t a great practice player. Tthat’s why I think he’s improved the most because freak athletes have got away with it for so long from little league to high school because they’re just so much better than people.
"That’s probably where I’m most pleased. I think he’s on schedule."
Bumps and bruises:John Simon did his best to hide the pain in his shoulder last week, and Meyer almost wound up without the defensive end on game day.
The Buckeyes don't want any surprises against UAB on Saturday, so Meyer is looking for straight answers as his team hits the practice field again this week.
"He says he feels a lot better," Meyer said. "I asked him to be honest, and he said he feels a lot better than a week ago. I said, ‘You didn’t tell me that a week ago, John.’ He goes, 'My shoulder is a long way from my heart.'
"I get it, Braveheart, just tell us so we can get you treated and get you right."
There are two Buckeyes still getting treatment that appear unlikely to play against UAB on Saturday: defensive end Michael Bennett (groin) and running back Carlos Hyde (knee).
Team honors:Devin Smith showed up yet again in the Champions Club. This time, the Ohio State sophomore didn't even limit himself to just one award.
Smith was tabbed as the offensive player of the game after his two touchdown catches and 145 yards receiving, but he also picked up recognition from the coaching staff as the standout on special teams, according to the weekly grades and honors handed out by the Buckeyes.