Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer doesn’t want sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller to take unnecessary risks when he dashes and darts out of the pocket. Sliding after making a first down is good. Running out of bounds is even better.
But while Miller has a long history of injuries because of his fearless scrambling, Meyer wants to make QB runs a big part of the Buckeyes’ arsenal. He doesn’t intend to rein Miller in. He plans to turn him loose.
“We’re going to be — I don’t want to say reckless, but more aggressive because I have trust in two quarterbacks,” Meyer said.
The back-up QB is fourth-year junior Kenny Guiton, who has never played meaningful minutes but has impressed the OSU staff by undergoing a complete transformation as a player and a person.
“The guy behind (Miller) is really pushing him. You talk about a 180 … it’s one of the biggest turnarounds I’ve seen in six months,” Meyer said.
Guiton has gone from taking a lax approach to football to earning a place on Meyer’s leadership team, which is reserved only for high performers on and off the field.
“Last year, I was into football and everything, but Braxton had come in and he did a great job during the season, and maybe I was a little down and didn’t even know it,” Guiton said. “It was good having (Meyer) come in. I felt like he got the best out of me, especially in the spring game, and then telling me what I had to work on during the summer.”
Miller, of course, is the clear No. 1, but Buckeye fans may be able to breathe easier if he gets knocked out of the game for a series or two.
Last year’s back-up, Joe Bauserman, completed 1-of-10 passes while subbing for the injured Miller in the third quarter at Nebraska when OSU blew a 21-point lead.
But Guiton went 16-of-24 passing for 185 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. And while he’d relish being the starter, he knows his job is to make sure Miller never gets the sense that it’s safe to ease up.
“I’m trying to push him as much as I can. Me and Braxton are cool. I help him out as much as I can, and he helps me out,” Guiton said.
“You can see Braxton is definitely clicking right now. He’s getting the offense down. With (quarterbacks coach Tom) Herman helping him out extra, it’s all starting to come together.”
Meyer believes Guiton is athletic enough to be an asset for the Buckeyes even if it’s not under center.
“I wouldn’t mind coming up with a play where they’re both on the field at the same time,” he said. “Braxton doesn’t know it yet, nor does Kenny. But I have it on a little piece of paper. We’ll have that chat pretty soon.”