Healthy Miller Anxious To Get Back On Field

Cabin fever is natural for a young man in the Buckeye State during the winter months, when snow covers the ground and keeps him inside when the natural inclination is to be outside playing games, but Braxton Miller is learning a whole new meaning to the phenomenon as he continues his sophomore year at Huber Heights Wayne.

Anyone who grew up in Ohio knows the feeling.

"He's champing at the bit to get outside and throw the football," Wayne coach Jay Minton told "He begs me all the time, ‘Let's get going, let's get going.'"

The snow that covered the ground in Huber Heights on National Signing Day was but one factor in Miller's being antsy.

The young quarterback phenom has had a longer layoff from football than usual because of a broken leg that cost him the last six games of the 2008 season.

Prior to the injury, Miller completed 59 of 113 passes for 642 yards and five touchdowns for the Warriors, who started 5-0 before losing to Clayton Northmont in week six, the game in which Miller was injured.

Wayne went on to lose to perennial area power Centerville the following week but was able to circle the wagons in time to qualify for the Division I playoffs. The Warriors bowed out in the second round at the hands of Cincinnati Colerain.

Minton said Miller might have been healthy enough to play in the regional final had his team beaten the Cardinals, but the coach was also unsure if they would have allowed him to.

"Why chance it with a kid that young and with such a bright future?" Minton said.

The same desire to be absolutely sure Miller heals properly has him sitting out basketball season, too.

"We just wanted to make sure everything was healing up right," Minton said. "It's fine, not any complication coming out of it. It was a pretty ‘safe break,' if you will. It wasn't displaced. There are no screws in there or anything like that. But when you've got a guy like that who is a freak, basically, you want to make sure that you take every precaution, and our basketball coach is real close to him, too, so there was no objection on his part. He's not pushing him. Everybody is on the same page with that young man."

Colleges from around the country are starting to get on the same page, too. Georgia, Florida and West Virginia are among schools to agree they want to know more about him, although the only offers on the table as of National Signing Day '09 are from the Buckeyes and Bearcats.

Given Miller's potential, the nationwide attention is no surprise.

Minton reports that even in an abbreviated sophomore campaign, Miller was able to continue developing as a passer and decision-maker.

He is still getting bigger, too.

"He's starting to fill out," Minton said of the athlete who is listed in the Scout database at 6-1 and 174 pounds, though his coach said he is now 6-2, 190. "He's been a little on the slender side. He's starting to look good. We've got to thicken up his legs a little bit, but other than that he looks the part, we don't want him to get too thick, but I think he's solid."

Gaining weight is important for a quarterback with the ability to run Miller possesses. He ran for 234 yards and five touchdowns in Wayne's multiple spread offense last season, but Minton said he hopes not to have to ask the youngster to take off too often as time goes on.

"He's going to have to be a little smarter sometimes when he wants to try to run over a kid," Minton said. "He needs to get out of bounds or slide. So what if they call you a wimp, who cares? You're going to be a healthy wimp.

"Last year we had to be careful because sometimes we ran him too much. We were running him too much because he was a great complement to (Bowling Green 2009 signee) Erique Geiger there in the backfield. People started keying on Erique and they would leave it wide open for him. When they both got going, it was pretty tough to stop. So sometimes we went to the well too many times with him – too many times than I would like to see him on a called run. When he takes off with it, that's on him."

As a passer, Miller continues to come along. Minton said his team's lack of a deep threat in 2008 likely will turn out to be a positive for Miller, who was forced to read defenses more often rather than chuck the ball deep whenever he wanted.

"I tell you what, you'll see the next couple years he's a thrower, too," Minton said. "He zings it, and he's usually pretty close to being on the money.

"He's got a lot of development to do, but he's got a bright future."

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