If today’s practice is any indication, the Ohio State football team isn’t wallowing in despair after losing quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury.
Meyer called this morning’s practice -- the first in the final two-a-day of the summer -- perhaps the best he’s had in his three seasons at Ohio State.
“I still like our team,” he said. “After today’s practice, I really, really like our team.”
The spirited practice is a sign to Meyer that his team is using Miller’s injury as motivation and that the culture of “competitive excellence” that he has spent so much time trying to establish is taking hold.
“It’s a huge test,” Meyer said. “It’s what you prepare for.”
Meyer said that the long-term question is unanswerable yet, but said that the team has earned a passing grade each day since the injury.
Meyer said he didn’t immediately realize that Miller had been hurt on Monday. It had been a routine short throw. Suddenly, his star quarterback was down.
“It was devastating,” Meyer said. “It was a bad deal. I didn’t see exactly what happened, because I thought someone hit him. I went berserk. Then they said no one hit him.”
Linebacker Curtis Grant acknowledged that in the immediate aftermath of the injury there was a sense of doom.
“You automatically go into panic mode,” Grant said. “That’s the human element. You just go into panic mode.”
But that was gone by yesterday he said. The Buckeyes have faith in presumed starting quarterback J.T. Barrett and in themselves, he said.
Meyer likened the redshirt freshman to former backup quarterback Kenny Guiton in his poise and knack for distributing the ball. He even called Barrett “Guitonish.”
Meyer said that Barrett has had 300 throws going against the first-team defense this year, so he’s as prepared as he can be under the circumstances. By comparison, he said that Guiton had six such throws last year.
Meyer said that Miller’s demeanor “is better than I thought.” He said that the injury was a torn labrum. He suffered what was diagnosed as a partial tear in the Orange Bowl that required surgery in February.
Meyer said a date has not been set for Miller’s upcoming surgery.