This 2013 Ohio State football team has to be one of the most intriguing teams college football has seen in the last 10 years. That does not mean that I think they are the best team in the last decade, rather the “unknown” factor is through the roof.
Coming off of an undefeated season, the Bucks will look to continue their success under Urban and crew. This is a team that won every game they played last year but never really looked like a dominant football team. Their 12-0 finish didn’t come without any excitement as they relied upon an overtime win against Purdue, a Ryan Shazier poke at the goal line and a 3-point win against lowly Indiana to eventually call themselves perfect. The catch? It all meant nothing as Ohio State was on a bowl ban and couldn’t play for a national championship.
That is why this year’s team is so intriguing. Are we going to get a dominant Buckeye team that does it again and gets a chance to prove themselves? Or are we going to get a team that squeaks by the regular season and ends up letting us all down? There is no knowing for sure.
There is one thing that we DO know for sure, though: The 2013 Buckeyes are going to go as far as their quarterback takes them.
What to Expect from Braxton Miller
1) His athleticism and talent will keep this team in every game
Braxton just might be the most athletic player in the country playing quarterback. There is no secret that he will be the key to our success as a football team. Just when things are looking down, Brax has the ability to make something happen and put us right back into a game. Whether it is an 80-yard run for a touchdown or a 4th and inches conversion, the kid has the ability to amaze. Last year the offense was Braxton Miller. Every play you knew where ball was going, and it still couldn’t be stopped. That is special.
2) An improved passing game
All of the news coming from Columbus is that he has been working on his passing game and that it is coming along. When I see Braxton throw, it is clear that the fundamentals are there, but he needed serious work in order to become a consistent passer. It is not like looking at Terrelle Pryor throw, or in other words, Miller doesn’t throw like a girl. That gives hope within itself. Usually the problem with an athletic quarterback is that the throwing dynamics do not come naturally. I don’t see this as an issue. That mixed with a great work ethic and improving receivers, I look for number 5 to throw the ball quite a bit more this fall.
3) Stronger Leadership
In order for an offense and a team to be successful, there needs to be strong leadership at the quarterback position. Entering his junior year, Brax knows that it is his time to step up. All that I have heard is how great of a leader he has become and that the team is forming around him. Urban was quoted saying that Braxton is the most humble leader that he has ever been around. That is saying something considering the fact that the second coming of Jesus in Tim Tebow won two championships under Meyer. Coaches and media love to talk about how their quarterbacks become great leaders in the offseason, so I take this news with a grain of salt. But unlike other hot shot quarterbacks, and current teammates, Braxton has been able to keep himself out of the media, which is a good sign to me.
There is a lot of hope surround this team because there is a lot of hope surrounding its quarterback. Let’s look at where Braxton will have some help this year on offense.
Receivers Maturing With Age
1) Philly Brown and Devin Smith
Lets talk about two guys who both had bright spots last year in the Ohio State offense. Philly Brown has the athleticism to take over a game both as a receiver and as a return man. Don’t believe me? Look at the Nebraska game from last year. His explosion will create problems for defenses this year. If Braxton in fact did improve his passing game, don’t be surprised if Urban calls some more pass plays this year.
Devin Smith also showed that he can be an elite receive in college football this year if the Buckeyes decide to pass. We all remember his jumping one-handed catch last year in the endzone, but don’t forget about the rest of his play last season. Lining up alongside Philly Brown, Smith can add another dynamic element to the Buckeyes this year.
2) Having Hope in Evan Spencer
Evan Spencer is a big wild card for the offense this year. He is now entering his junior year and has done little to nothing for this team. He has been a slot guy that plays about 15-20 downs a game but has really not done anything special with those opportunities. I think that he can have a year that may change that. With new recruits coming in, Spencer sees the writing on the wall. If he does not perform, he knows he won’t be seeing 15-20 snaps again.
3) Fresh Blood coming in
The Bucks have three 4-star receivers coming in with Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith and James Clark. I don’t know how much time these guys will get, but it is intriguing to see some more athletes surrounding Braxton.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this squad and it all starts with these guys. If Braxton is able to stay healthy this year, there is no telling what these guys are capable of.
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