“I’m doing fine,” he said. “It’s just progression in my shoulder and it’s precaution. I don’t want to overdo it before the first game and have to sit out the first game… it’s a part of playing.”
The senior quarterback once again reiterated that he’s 100 percent, but Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman mentioned that the recent news on Miller hadn’t all been good.
“He had a little bit of a setback with some additional soreness that we weren’t expecting, but I’m not ready to say ‘concerned’ is the right word,” Herman said.
Herman repeatedly stressed that the precautions being taken are not related to the shoulder injury itself but to the soreness that has come on as Miller has worked his way back into throwing. This will be the first week in which Ohio State attempts to have Miller practice every day instead of taking days off in between throwing.
“He is where he is right now not because of the shoulder but because of the fatigue of multiple practices, practices day after day after day after day, 50, 60, 70 balls being thrown… the kid’s going to get tired,” Herman said. “The muscles aren’t ready for that, so we’ve got to continue to build them up. Going out and throwing 30 routes for 20 minutes with the wideouts is a lot different than a two-hour practice with your team, so we’ve just got to continue to build him up to where he can do that muscle-wise.”
When it comes to playing against Navy, the staff will make the determination on whether Miller will start by assessing whether he’ll be able to play the whole game. There won’t be a scenario where he’s on a “pitch count” and is replaced by a backup quarterback after a certain number of throws.
By the end of this week, the team should have a good indication of whether Miller will be fully ready for the season opener, Herman said.
One thing that will change is that Miller will likely be given a day off on Sunday, when the skill players usually do seven-on-seven work in practice to help get rid of any lactic acid buildup from the day before. Coupled with the squad’s traditional Monday off day, skipping Sunday would give him an adequate amount of recovery time before taking on the next week of practice.
“I would imagine he would probably take Sundays off early in the season to rest that thing so he’s not throwing on back-to-back days, knowing that Monday is their day off,” Herman said. “That gives you over 48 hours of full recovery heading into Tuesday and Wednesday practice.”
While it’s obviously concerning to the staff that Miller is being slowly worked back into the fold due to his injury, the time off hasn’t come without benefits. Extolling the value of mental reps, Miller said he’s never felt as comfortable or as in control of the Ohio State offense as he does now.
“I just feel so comfortable I want to go out there and call my own plays sometimes,” Miller said. “I see a defense and I can switch to an audible. You get to that point in your career and you just know what you’re doing.”
Whether he’ll be able to show off his newfound command of the offense in Baltimore remains to be seen.