Braxton Miller wore a smile and a sling as he posed for an Instagram photo on Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla. Over Miller’s right shoulder stood famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who operated on that same shoulder earlier that morning.
”So happy this man said everything went well!” the Ohio State senior quarterback and Wayne High School graduate Miller wrote.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer confirmed that news Tuesday afternoon in a media teleconference with Big Ten coaches. Meyer talked to Miller before the surgery on his torn labrum, and Miller sent Meyer a photo of Miller with his dad and Andrews after surgery.
“It’s very positive,” Meyer said. “All reports are there were no surprises. Everything went well. He’s out of surgery, and he’ll be back (in Columbus this) morning.”
Meanwhile, the fifth-ranked Buckeyes move forward without the player expected to be their star. Preparations continue for the season opener against Navy at noon Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett is still expected to start, but Meyer has said several times now both Barrett and sophomore Cardale Jones could see action, especially if Barrett struggles. There’s not a vast difference between the two, he said.
“It’s pretty close,” Meyer said. “It was thrust upon us pretty quickly because in my heart I thought Braxton would be ready to go. I didn’t envision this. So I thought, man, this would be a really close battle for the backup spot. J.T. is the starting quarterback, but there’s not a big separation.”
Barrett has yet to take a snap as a Buckeye, unless you count the spring game. However, Meyer has already seen his leadership potential emerge.
“I started to see it actually before because Braxton didn’t get many reps in spring practice,” Meyer said. “Throughout the summer, he was very limited.
“We started to see this young man (Barrett) develop. We all thought he would. … He comes from a really good high school program, a really incredible family. All those positives are coming out right now. I saw it before the injury, but you really see it now.”
Miller’s season-ending injury has not only tested the team’s depth before the first game, it’s tested its resolve. Meyer planned a 5 p.m. team meeting Tuesday to discuss adversity, a topic he often addresses with his players.
“They’ve been training for a year and a half about how you can’t control events,” Meyer said. “You can control your response to events. This is as difficult as an event that we’ve had to deal with: when your captain goes down and it happens to be a quarterback, which is a very important spot. But they’ve handled it well. We’re ready to go play and see how it goes.”
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