COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Getting the ball to Braxton Miller is one of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s goals at Indiana this week in the Big Ten opener.
Miller, the Big Ten player of the year as a quarterback in 2012 and ’13, made an explosive debut as the hybrid back with two long touchdown plays against Virginia Tech in the season opener, but has been quiet since for the top-ranked Buckeyes.
“He’s doing fine. I’m not panicking,” Meyer said.
Miller had four carries for 11 yards and two catches for 27 yards in the last game against Western Michigan. In the previous game against Northern Illinois, he had no receptions and 7 yards on four carries.
“I don’t think he’s getting frustrated,” Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones said. “He feels at home when he’s behind center. (He’s) just probably trying to get back used to – you have different things when you’re in the box than when you’re out wide at receiver.”
Miller had 140 total yards against Virginia Tech, including a 53-yard touchdown pass from Jones and a 54-yard scoring run. He had eight touches in the game and 10 the following week against Hawaii.
“That’s the receivers position, it’s not quarterback,” Meyer said. “He’s not touching the ball every down. The good thing about this offense is there’s way of doing that. We can do better and we will be better.”
The problem, a good one for Ohio State, is it has a multitude of weapons. In the 38-12 victory over Western Michigan, hybrid backs Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel had big games.
Marshall caught a 37-yard pass for a touchdown and Samuel had a 40-yard scoring run and a 40-yard reception. And, running back Ezekiel Elliott has nine straight games of more than 100 yards rushing.
“(Samuel) probably deserves more touches,” Meyer said. “(Hybrid) Dontre Wilson deserves more touches. Zeke probably needs a few more. Braxton Miller needs a few more.”
Miller has taken a few direct snaps but defenses are geared to stop him from running. He sat out last season because of shoulder surgery and although he said he is healthy he has yet to throw a pass.
Meyer is confident Miller will get comfortable in his new role.
“He’s learning the game,” he said. “He’s learning how to be a perimeter blocker for the first time in his life. He can’t play receiver here and not be great at it. That’s the transition he’s going through. It takes time.”