Braxton Miller has been in the spotlight nearly his entire career at Ohio State, so watching practices with someone else running the show and the senior quarterback frequently on the sidelines this offseason has been unusual to say the least.
Sitting out spring practice is one thing, but when August rolled around and backups Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett again were taking reps with the first team, some began to wonder if there was cause for alarm.
Miller and head coach Urban Meyer say they are not among that group, though.
"Braxton Miller is doing great," Meyer said Sunday afternoon at the team’s annual Picture Day. "Because of a volume issue we decided not to throw him today. He’ll practice tomorrow."
Miller didn’t express any concerns, either, as he fielded questions with his familiar cool.
He even felt good enough to joke with a reporter who inquired about his health that he could throw him a pass on the spot if the reporter felt like running a pattern. That offer was politely declined, but it gave everyone a chance to laugh at a potentially troublesome topic.
"I feel good today, I’m just restin’ up," Miller said. "Tomorrow I’ll get back to where I need to be."
He said soreness of a couple days ago has subsided, and he has been able to continue to soak up mental reps and work with youngsters such as Jones and Barrett.
"I’m 100 percent right now," he said. "It’s out of shape just a little bit, but if I go out there and throw 80 balls during practice, which I’m not gonna do in one game, it’s just sore from throwing a lot in two days, so I just need to get back to where I need to be."
Meyer admitted if the Aug. 30 season opener with Navy were tomorrow as opposed to three weeks away, Miller’s current status could affect the game plan. Presumably that means limiting the running opportunities for Miller, who is Ohio State’s all-time leading rusher from the quarterback position with 3,054 yards.
Miller did not express concern over that and explained that he plans to curb his running anyway and let the playmakers Meyer has been recruiting since his late 2011 arrival in Columbus to begin to show their stuff.
"I’m gonna get a chance to throw it around to a lot of different guys this year," Miller said, naming redshirt freshman Jalin Marshall among potential weapons to unleash. "I’m very blessed to have that opportunity this year and it’s gonna be fun as soon as we step out on that field."
Miller is one of the only holdovers from a 2013 offense that set records for points, points per game, yards, touchdowns and rushing yards, but he sounds as if he does not plan on adding a third 1,000-yard rushing season to his resume.
"You don’t wanna run when you’re a quarterback," he said. "You want to get the ball out of your hands to athletes."
Asked if he thinks the plan for him to be a distributor would go out the window late in a tight game, Miller said no.
"It’s a different year, different mentality, different guys around me," he said. "That’s not what I’m going for this year."
Whatever the plan, Ohio State figures to be better off with Miller on the field than the sideline.
"I’ve dealt with guys with arm issues before, and we’re being very cautious," Meyer said. "He could have practiced yesterday but we’re in it for the long haul, so he’s right on schedule."