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Ohio State Defense Talking Buckeye Offense: Braxton Miller
By Patrick Murphy
Ohio State's defense knows how electrifying Braxton Miller is
Photo by Jim Davidson

COLUMBUS – Yesterday we learned, “the sky’s the limit” for the Ohio State offense according to the Buckeye defense that squares off with them every day in practice. Today we take a more focused look at one of the major pieces of this offense, again from the defensive lens.

Braxton, if there’s better athletes in the country, I don’t know where they are. He is got tremendous ability to make moves in space that are extraordinary.”

This was OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs talking about the Buckeyes’ electrifying athlete, Braxton Miller. The former quarterback turned wide receiver has gone a bit under the radar, as nationally the talk as focused on who will win the signal caller competition between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.

Miller was very good as a quarterback, but had his critics as a true passer. His ability with the ball in his hands to make one or two or three guys miss and take it the distance is uncanny, but he was doing all that behind center. With the position change, the offensive coaches are finding ways for Miller to touch the ball all over the field.

They’re kind of lining up Braxton everywhere,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “I don’t really know where he’s going to be, I just know that they’re going to try to get him the ball in space.”

Athleticism can only get Miller so far as a receiver; he must learn the ins and outs of the position as well. This is the biggest challenge.

“I have had a couple of opportunities to press Braxton and you can tell he’s not really used to getting people’s hands on him,” Apple said earlier this offseason.

With the Virginia Tech defense, which will certainly press the Buckeye receivers and Miller in particular, coming fast, Miller is working tirelessly to improve this area of his game and he is making noticeable progress.

Miller is doing all he can to be ready for the opening game
Photo by Dan Harker

He’s learning every day. Leaps and bounds about the receiver position. If you make a mistake when you cover Braxton Miller, you’re going to pay for it,” Coombs said.

“Braxton, I think he improves every day, as you would expect. I think he’s very serious about what he’s doing, and I think he’s taken to it. I’m really excited to watch him play on that side of the ball.”

It’s not just coaches that are noticing the improvements either, but his teammates as well. Safety Tyvis Powell is never afraid to tell it like it is and he can see Miller making strides from the other side of the ball.

"Where he came from to where he is now is a tremendous improvement,” the junior told the-Ozone.net. “He’s definitely looked more like a receiver. His routes have definitely gotten a lot better. And I’ve actually seen him go in the backfield and get a couple of handoffs, so he’s definitely taken on that H-back position and he’s definitely fitting in there really nice."

The potential for Miller is limitless. He has the frame of a running back and the athleticism to play receiver. He also has the arm and knowledge of a quarterback, so his abilities can cause nightmares for defenders.

There should be a lot of stuff going through your mind,” Apple said of opposing defenders when Miller is one the field. “You never know what could happen. It could be a reverse, a reverse pass. It could be him in the backfield. Anytime you have a great athlete like Braxton on the field, you definitely have to identify him.”

With suspensions and injuries already creating depth issues in the wide receiver room, Miller will be counted on more than initial expected in the season opener. Powell had some words of advice for those that have to go against Miller: Be careful.

"He’s dangerous. He is definitely dangerous,” he said. “When you see him lining up across from you, you know you have to bring your ‘A’ game because he will embarrass you."

Return to theOzone.net this week for more from the defense talking offense.
Player profiles relevant to story:
1 - Miller, Braxton | 13 - Apple, Eli | 23 - Powell, Tyvis | Coach - Coombs, Kerry
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