Bank Blog: Miller Time Arrives Early

The dawn of a new era is beginning at Ohio State as freshman phenom Braxton Miller takes over as the starting quarterback against Colorado this Saturday. Whether this is the right move, at the right time, won't be answered soon, but there's no doubt it is the correct call to the Buckeye fan base.

Let's take a look at what's going on in Buckeye-Land this week, as Ohio State prepares to take on Colorado in what appeared to be a rather ho-hum affair, prior to the announcement that Braxton Miller would be starting at quarterback against the Buffs.

What may still end up being a snoozer at least now has one huge storyline, and that is exactly how big the news is that the freshman five-star recruit has nabbed the starting assignment.

WHY BRAXTON? Aside from the obvious answer of "Why not?", don't discount fan reaction as a part of the equation in Luke Fickell making this decision. Fickell is smart enough to know his team will get a huge rush off the excitement the fans will show at the beginning of the game, when Miller takes the field. As opposed to the cascade of booing if Joe Bauserman were the starter, this will allow Ohio State to feed off the home crowd and could jump-start the Buckeye offense.

Also, although Braxton Miller might not be 100% ready for this task, it is quite apparent that Joe Bauserman needs to take a step back and clear his head, in case he is needed down the line. There will come a time where Miller puts up a 3-14 game with three interceptions after three quarters, and a change-up will be needed to pull out a game. Will Ohio State go back to Bauserman in the third quarter against Wisconsin or Penn State? Or will one of the young guns, Ken Guiton or Taylor Graham, get a shot? Stay tuned, but for now it's MILLER TIME.

RECRUITING: In an odd twist, there just isn't much happening right now with Ohio State and the current senior class, both in-state and across America. Now, the junior class is something else, as they have invited nearly every 2013 prospect in for visits and they are in great shape with most of the big-timers. Why the decision to basically proceed slowly with the 2012 recruiting class? Are they waiting until sanctions are finally announced? Won't they be behind the eight-ball trying to get in on prospects that late in the game?

There are rumblings that Ohio State will look to take a kicker in this class, and Gahanna Lincoln's Tyler Grassman has been in contact with the Buckeye staff. After letting Walsh Jesuit's kicker, Ross Martin, get away to Duke, Grassman might be the next best option.

Bam Bradley will visit Pittsburgh officially this weekend, and the Panthers might be the favorite in this race. Bradley's brother, Nick Grigsby, is a freshman at Pitt and the two are very close.

With the offensive line needing some serious attention, both from a numbers and talent standpoint, it would seem paramount to be recruiting offensive tackles. Although Jordan Diamond talks about visiting officially and he might, this one seems like a huge longshot for Ohio State. Kyle Kalis is 100% solid to Michigan, and there isn't much at all coming out of Kyle Dodson's camp about his commitment to Wisconsin, so maybe they take a run at him?

Wide receiver recruiting might not be the priority everyone assumes, especially with the progress shown by Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, plus the development of Verlon Reed, and all three have three years left in the program. For now, Frank Epitropoulos and Roger Lewis are in the hopper and they could take one more. Candidates in the mix would be Dwayne Stanford (assuming he has an offer) and JUCO Mike Thomas, who seems to have Ohio State as his top choice and is probably awaiting a formal offer to pull the trigger.

Orrville linebacker Mason Monheim is playing at a high level, and an offer from Ohio State wouldn't be surprising at all. Nor would a quick commitment be surprising if an offer headed his way. Monheim would be a great player to have in the program, playing on special teams early and challenging other linebackers for playing time down the road.

The Brionte Dunn saga just might be rolling on for a while, at least until he takes his two official visits to Ohio State and Michigan. I can't see him taking officials anywhere else, but that could happen, especially if he gives up on the idea of enrolling early. Enrolling in January would push his clock up a few months earlier than if he simply decides on or before Signing Day in February. Ohio State would definitely love to see him get back on the plan of enrolling early, with the hopes of running out the clock on his recruitment. The decision of his cousin Dymonte Thomas to commit to Michigan was definitely a surprise to Dunn, and it seems to have given the Wolverines at least another reason to get him to take another look at them. Watch for Thomas to accompany Dunn on his official visit to Ann Arbor.

YOUTH MUST BE SERVED: There are a few younger players on the Ohio State roster that are making a case for more playing time in addition to Miller, and a few older, established starters might be looking over their shoulders. Christian Bryant, Michael Bennet, Devin Smith and Ryan Shazier have all flashed in limited opportunities, and they might be making a strong case that they need to be out on the field a lot more. Ohio State has not been tackling as well as they have in years past, nor are they causing turnovers at a high rate with only four in the first three games. Shazier caused a fumble on the goal line against Miami that could have been big had it not went out of bounds. Bryant is another that brings the lumber. Look for some younger players to get extended playing time against Colorado, setting themselves up for the Big Ten season.

OFFENSIVE CHANGE? With Miller running the show, look for Ohio State to spread the field more than they did under Bauserman, giving the new quarterback more opportunities to tuck it and go. We should see far less of the two tight end-one wide receiver look, which is definitely not Miller's best look. Even in the spread, Ohio State can still look to pound the football behind an offensive line that is playing at a high level. Ohio State needs to win the time of possession statistic, and playing power football with four talented tailbacks, a nimble-footed quarterback, all running behind the best line in the country is the way to accomplish that goal. The spread look takes another defender out of the box, which could open things up for Miller to run. At this point, Ohio State will probably scale things back for Miller, giving him a few passing plays he has demonstrated he can run, and look to put the football game more in the hands of Mike Brewster, J.B. Shugarts, Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort, Marcus Hall and Corey Linsley. Miller should be given opportunities on the edge, where he can either make the throw or tuck it away and run.

PREDICTION: While Colorado isn't a good football team, neither is Ohio State a dominant team currently. I look for a relatively close game as Ohio State plays extremely conservative offensively, and with the defense not getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback or causing turnovers, Colorado could hang around all game long. The Buffs are weak in pass defense, and that is certainly not Ohio State's strength offensively, so Colorado will load the box defensively and dare Miller to beat them with his arm. This should be a boring, snooze-fest, with weather possibly playing a factor. Let's call it Ohio State 23 Colorado 14, and hope folks can stay awake throughout the entire game. A bounce-back win for the Buckeyes as they get ready for conference play.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories