Miller Taking Pressure In Stride

Urban Meyer was not shy about telling reporters how much he believes Braxton Miller can do in his offense this season and beyond. For his part, Miller looks ready to lead after a positive offseason.

So far, so good for Braxton Miller.

The Ohio State quarterback entered preseason practice heaped with expectations from both the fan base and new head coach Urban Meyer, and the earliest indications are he is on track to meet them.

More than three weeks remain before the Buckeyes begin the season by playing host to Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 1, but Meyer said he liked the starting point he saw for a passing game that was among the worst in the Big Ten in 2011.

He gave much of that credit to Miller and backup quarterback Kenny Guiton for leading offseason workouts with a group of receivers that struggled with youth, consistency and injuries last season. Miller himself was also inconsistent in finding open targets and delivering accurate passes as a true freshman starter.

"Braxton had a really good day, and he feels good about it," Meyer said Monday. "He made the comment to me that he knows what he's doing, and I said he doesn't know yet, there's still a lot more to go. I winked at him and said, ‘Yeah right, pal.'"

Miller got his chance to speak to reporters three days earlier and did not sound too impressed with himself, but that is nothing new. Although he became a high-profile prospect early in his career at Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne High School, Miller has always had it stressed upon him the importance of remaining humble.

In fact, those lessons were instilled so well he has had to make it a point to be more vocal, something he said is easier to do in year two as opposed to year one.

"It's just so different coming in as a freshman playing," Miller said. "I didn't really feel that comfortable with the seniors and everybody like that, but I didn't really speak up that much. In high school, I was just all out there vocal-wise.

"I feel comfortable doing it this year. I talk to the coaches about that stuff, too, so I'm getting better at it."

Junior running back Carlos Hyde said Miller did more to take charge on the first day of practice, but his is far from the only voice on the field providing leadership. Veterans such as junior center Corey Linsley also fill that role.

"He doesn't speak too much, but he's a leader through his actions," Hyde said of Miller. "It's kind of like me. I don't go out there yelling in people's faces. I try to lead by actions, getting pumped up off a good play or a long run or something like that."

Meyer has done as much as anyone to build up expectations since he took over as coach of the Buckeyes in January. Although just a sophomore, Miller has the blend of talent to run Meyer's vaunted spread option offense, one that calls for a quarterback to threaten a defense with his legs and punish it with his arm when opportunities arise.

Meyer also expects the quarterback to be among the team's up-front leaders, and last month he called the youngster the most dynamic player he has coached.

"I've had first-rounders all over the place, but Braxton is strong, he's 215 now, and his acceleration is just off the charts," Meyer said. "He also has a degree of humility that you almost never see in quarterbacks at top 10 programs."

Miller took that in stride when a reporter mentioned it to him.

"He said that to you?" Miller replied. "I'm cool with it. I'm learning each and every day. No pressure."

He is feeling more comfortable in the new offense as time goes on and credited new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman with aiding his development since coming over from Iowa State.

"He just gives me a whole bunch of knowledge I never knew, especially the offense," Miller said. "Reading defensive fronts and stuff like that. That helps a lot. I never knew that coming in as a freshman. He came in and taught me that ASAP.

"I love the pressure. It's made me go a little bit harder."

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