In a move that seemed to make so much sense for over a year, Ohio State superstar Braxton Miller will be play wide receiver for the Buckeyes this season, leaving the quarterback position to Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.
How will this position switch affect all parties affiliated with the Buckeye program?
Braxton's perspective: First off, had he insisted he was THE quarterback and deserved his job back because he lost it due to injury, that could have fractured the most talented team in the country. Hats off to Miller's unselfishness. From a practical standpoint, the move enables Miller to start his NFL prep today, and not wait until after the season ends next winter. This switch absolutely was going to happen for him to have a shot at the next level, so why wait even another day? For Braxton Miller, and the people that care about him deeply, this is the best possible scenario.
The team's psyche: How can it be that Ohio State is better off with the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year giving up his spot? From a morale point of view, there was simply no way to utilize a three-quarterback system, so a good player was going to be sitting on the pines. That's a tough one to swallow for whoever it ended up being, so this problem has just been instantly solved. Chemistry issues would be high on my list of opponents likely to beat Ohio State in 2015. They are now 1-0 in the QB game.
On the field: Look, you just saw the top wide receiver walk out the door in Devin Smith. There is talent behind him, but it's unproven. Devin Smith scored touchdowns, and you don't have a lot of proven touchdown-scorers ready to replace him. But I can think of a guy that scores touchdowns in bunches, and he wears #5. Having Miller on the field with Jones or Barrett helps make up for the loss of Smith in a big way. I will bet we will see a lot of Braxton at the Wildcat as well this year, and oppoenents will have to spend serious time game-planning for that. This move makes Ohio State better offensively. That's a good thing.
Tim Beck's standing: Coaches get paid big bucks to make tough decisions, but that's a doozie for a first year quarterback coach. He will now implement a two-quarterback strategy, and not lose the quarterback room, or the locker room over having to choose between three qualified signal callers. Beck was facing a potential hornet's nest, without any capital built up with this team like Tom Herman would have. Beck has to be breathing easier.
The unknown phenom: There's no way to answer this question, but how will this move affect Torrance Gibson? The switch to wideout is one he will HAVE to make at some point to play in the NFL. Why not now? Why not slot Braxton into Evan Spencer's role, and let Torrance become the new Devin Smith? Having Miller and Gibson on the field as wideouts, along with Jalin Marshall and Mike Thomas in a four-wide set? Shoot, let me play quarterback.
Long term impact: I've proven I'm a dummy over and over, but with Braxton as the starting quarterback I would not have picked Ohio State to go undefeated and win the national title this season. You have to be able to make throws on third-and-15. You need to answer with a touchdown drive when down early in a game. I've seen J.T. Barrett withstand Michigan State's early lead. I saw Cardale Jones bring Ohio State back from the brink against Alabama. I also saw the Michigan State and Clemson games of two years ago. To win and dominate the Big Ten, I think Braxton could do that. To repeat as national champs? I like the way things are right now, although I'm not calling for that to happen right now. Give me another month before that call has to be made.