After months of speculating, we now have a firmer grasp on Ohio State’s three-man quarterback competition.
Actually, make that a two-man competition.
Braxton Miller, a two-time Big Ten Offensive Payer of the Year, has announced that he will move to wide receiver for the 2015 season, thus opening the quarterback door for J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
“Well, I’m certainly not surprised,” former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL running back Eddie George said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think Braxton is doing what he thinks is best for him and his future, and you look at his situation: He hasn’t played competitively in over a year, and there’s a lot of rust to knock off. And he has to knock off some pretty rough competition in Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, and there’s no guarantee he’s going to be at 100 percent throwing the football. When you look at his football future, will it be at the quarterback position? I’m pretty sure Braxton had plenty of time to weigh this decision. He feels like this is best for him. He could be the next Randall Cobb or the next (Antwaan) Randle El. He is a great, dynamic playmaker. You cannot deny that. I think making that move will only make him better, as well as Ohio State better as a team.”
But will the transition be as seamless as many people assume? Miller is extremely athletic, yes, but you need more than raw athleticism to play wide receiver.
Where will he struggle?
“On the field, there’s nothing much he can struggle with,” George said. “He’s a great athlete – one of the fastest guys on the team. Again, he’s a dynamic playmaker. I think the toughest thing for him will be how he can deal with the ego of not being the quarterback. Listen, he was the only two-time Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten as a quarterback, and now to say he’s not going to be playing the position he loves to play, how will that affect him mentally and emotionally as a player? Can he put that aside and go out and embrace a new role and try to flourish in that? That’s the biggest hurdle that he has to overcome. Athletically, the guy can do anything he wants to do.
“Now, there’s going to be some nuances that he has to understand in terms of route running and operating through the passing tree in terms of his routes,” George continued. “But I think he can catch on pretty quick to that in terms of getting off the line and everything of that nature. But (the challenge) certainly is going to be the mentality of embracing this new position and this new role.”
Either way, you’ve got to hand it to Urban Meyer. Miller could have transferred and played quarterback elsewhere, but he’s staying. Cardale Jones could have gone to the NFL, but he’s staying. Young men just seem to want to be in his presence.
“I think Urban preaches team first, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to obtain greatness,” George said. “I’m a firm believer that things don’t happen by coincidence. I think in the end this could be a great thing for everybody – because I think what we’ve come to know is that Cardale Jones is probably the guy they’re going to go with. He certainly has the size, he has the pedigree, he has the big arm, he has the moxie that you want at the quarterback position – and they just buy into whatever Urban is telling them because it’s worked. Since Urban stepped foot on that campus, they’ve lost (three) games in three years. So they’ve definitely bought into what he’s telling them, so they’re on board. In terms of whatever they’re willing to do to win, they’re going to sacrifice, even if it’s costing them their own desires.”