So what if he hasn’t been getting full reps in practice every day since Ohio State began camp Monday. As co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner described things earlier this week, Miller is on a pitch count, and until his arm is ready to handle the day-to-day pounding of sometimes two two-hour practices a day, he’ll still be limited.
But that by no means is an indication that he won’t be ready to start game one in Baltimore against the Midshipmen.
“Right now I feel pretty good. I feel great,” Miller said. “Yesterday I took a day off to get back to where I need to be. Rehab, icing it, taking Ibuprofen – I’ll be fine.”
In fact, Miller said he is 100 percent right now, just being careful not to stress the joint that was injured in the Orange Bowl loss to Clemson too much. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman described the shoulder as in good shape after the offseason surgery, indicating that it’s the muscles around it that need to improve to the point that Miller can take full reps in practice.
“I really don’t think the shoulder is going to be an issue other than managing the volume early because structurally it’s fine,” Herman said. “It’s the muscles around it that get fatigued and tired, much like if you and me were to go in and jump under the squat rack and start squatting a bunch of weight for the first time. Then tomorrow you wake up and you’re going to be pretty sore. That’s his deal is just managing that volume.”
And as Miller pointed out, a typical practice at Ohio State would include a lot more throws than a game, so just because he’s not able yet to take on a full complement of the workload doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to make the 20 to 25 passes he might have to throw in a typical contest.
“I’m 100 percent right now,” he said. “It’s just out of shape a little bit. If I go out there and throw 80 balls in on practice, you’re not going to do that in one game, so it’s just sore from throwing a lot.”
Head coach Urban Meyer added that there’s no reason to rush his quarterback, the two-time defending winner of the Big Ten’s Silver Football as the league’s most valuable player.
“He’s doing great,” Meyer said. “I anticipated this. I’ve had guys with arm issues before and we’re working very cautiously. We’re in this for the long haul.”
As for any concern whether the injury will prevent Miller from getting the needed chemistry with his teammates and reps necessary to keep going what has been a steady line of improvement during his career, Herman didn’t seem too concerned.
“I don’t know if we think too much about it – the old phrase, it is what it is,” the third-year offensive coordinator said. “You can’t change that and so, does it affect it? Probably a little bit, but it doesn’t keep me up at night.”
Miller did not take part in Ohio State’s scrimmaging Saturday but will be back at it Monday as the team goes into the toughest week of the year as far as the camp schedule goes.
“I feel good,” he said. “I can throw right now if you want to run routes. I feel good, just resting up. Tomorrow, I’ll get back to it and get back to where I need to be.”
When he is ready to go by the time the Navy game rolls around, Miller will be leading a team many expect to contend for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff – and he’ll likely be a major candidate for the Heisman Trophy after finishing fifth in the voting in 2012 and then setting the OSU record for touchdowns accounted for last year.
That’s not on his mind, though, as the season sits 20 days away.
“You know, that’s on the outside of things right now,” he said. “I’m not really focused on that right now. I’m just making sure I’m doing what I have to do this year for my senior year, for the guys around me, and make sure I lead the offense where it needs to be, make sure we don’t have any hiccups.”