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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Tuesday briefing: High praise for Miller

By Austin Ward

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Quick hitters from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's weekly appearance on the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday.

Percy Harvin
Urban Meyer said that Braxton Miller's running ability reminds him of Percy Harvin's.
On the run: The comparisons have already been made to previous quarterbacks in his system.

Now Urban Meyer is expanding the pool of athletes to other positions when he breaks down Braxton Miller.

Even before the season the Ohio State coach wouldn't hesitate to give Miller some physical edges against a couple of his old signal-callers such as Utah's Alex Smith or Florida's Tim Tebow. But after his dynamic start as a rushing threat through six games, Meyer is now putting him in the same company as former star Percy Harvin, a game-changing, multipurpose weapon the Gators used all over the field.

"I think [Miller] is one of the top-five runners in America, maybe even higher," Meyer said. "I haven’t studied the country, but Percy Harvin and Braxton Miller are the two best runners I’ve ever had.

"So, when it’s time to go make a play and win the game, I think it’s rather obvious that you give the ball to Percy Harvin or Braxton Miller."

Miller ran it 16 times in last week's win over Nebraska, producing a career-high 186 yards and a touchdown as he moved up to No. 11 in the nation in rushing at the midway point of the season.

The Buckeyes would like to complement that ability to rack up yards carrying the ball with a few more through the air, particularly after he completed just 7 of his 14 attempts against the Huskers. Both of those numbers were the lowest he's posted all season as a passer, though the easy success Ohio State was having running the ball certainly skewed the data -- and Meyer hasn't lost any confidence in Miller as a thrower either.

"The job description is to win the game," Meyer said. "We know that as we continue to develop, for us to win a game, he has to become a better thrower. I’m very pleased with his progress as a thrower, a lot of the time the game dictates what you’re going to do.

"We felt like we had a pretty good plan against Nebraska as far as running the ball -- and he is our best runner."

And now Miller is putting himself on a pretty short list among the best Meyer has ever had to work with in his system.

Back to attention: There are two game films the staff can pop in to make sure the defense isn't overlooking its next opponent.

The Buckeyes can watch what the Hoosiers have done with an offense that is averaging more than 300 yards passing and an attack that jumped out to a lead last week against Michigan State. Or they can study themselves as they gave up 38 points and 437 yards to Nebraska.

"I think on video we’ll find out they’re very good on offense," Meyer said. "We have not done well against that style of offense this year, so I’m concerned about executing and stopping them -- not that they’re overlooking them.

"We’re not at the point where we can start overlooking anybody, because we certainly don’t have the answers. That is a concern, these kids are 6-0 and a lot of people are telling them how good they are, and quite honestly we have a long way to go."

Honors for Simon: The recognition kept pouring in Tuesday for John Simon after easily his best game of the season, adding the Chuck Bednarik Award's national player of the week honor to similar recognition from the Lott IMPACT and College Football Performance committees.

The senior defensive end racked up five tackles for a loss and a couple sacks as he consistently tormented Nebraska behind the line of scrimmage, and he jumped up to second in the Big Ten in tackles for a loss despite coming into the weekend with just two to his credit.

He said it: "I was hoping it was a competitive group, and if you have a competitive group then you don’t have to come up with all kinds of motivation. I’m finding right now there’s zero conversation about anything other than getting better and getting to the next game. I like this group, this is a competitive group. We have a lot of holes to fill, and they all know that. Very competitive and very intelligent group, which is fun to coach." -- Meyer on what he was expecting from the Buckeyes in August