Braxton Miller’s season-ending injury will result in some changes to Ohio State’s play-calling, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said today, but the expectations for a successful season haven’t changed.
Speaking on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show (with former Buckeye Cris Carter subbing for Mike Golic), Meyer described the moment of Miller’s injury in practice on Monday.
"You see a guy that's like a member of your family go down, and your gut starts to hurt,” Meyer said. “It was a tough situation."
J.T. Barrett, who recently surpassed Cardale Jones as the second-string quarterback, is now in line to be the starter. Barrett is a redshirt freshman who hasn’t played in a game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during his senior season at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Meyer said that the offense under Barrett is likely to resemble what it looked like when Kenny Guiton took over when Miller was injured early last season.
"We're not at this point going to ask him to throw that post corner on the field a 35-yard route on a seven-step drop,” Meyer said. “He's not made for that yet."
Meyer said he told his coaches that Miller generated about 100 yards of offense a game on his own and that it is their task to make that up. Meyer said the addition of more playmakers on offense should help Barrett.
"It's kind of exciting,” he said. “If I'm a young player, that's four more touches I have" because Miller isn’t there to dominate the offense.
Asked whether Ohio State remains a national-championship contender, Meyer replied that his team’s focus before Miller’s injury was on the present and not January, so that nothing has changed.
"I think we're going to be a very good team,” he said. “Has my thought changed? Not at all.”
As for Miller, Meyer said that he has been in good spirits.
"Our guys have responded,” he said. “The best thing is Braxton's reaction. Braxton has a big smile on his face, is out at practice, is talking to our quarterbacks. I'm telling you, he's a grown man. That's credit to him, his family and his high-school coach, Jay Minton."