Last Monday in the second last week of training camp before the season kicks off against Navy the unthinkable happened, Braxton Miller got injured. Miller reinjured his throwing shoulder after initially injuring it against Clemson in the Orange Bowl in last year’s los the former 5-star recruit is out for the season but has committed to return in 2015. With Miller gone for the year the question everyone in Columbus wants to know is where do we go from here?
Braxton Miller being helped off the pitch in the Orange Bowl
Well the first thing to do was to find Miller’s replacement, JT Barrett. You’d be forgiven for not knowing who Barrett was as even Urban Meyer didn’t know his name calling him Barrnett instead of Barrett in a press conference recently. As a result of his ACL tear, Barrett hasn’t played in a game since 2012 but did get plenty of 1st team reps as Miller eased his way back into training before reinjuring his shoulder. A mobile QB though not in the game changer Miller is, Barrett should fit well in the Buckeyes scheme but it’s difficult to tell. With Barrett’s lack of experience the play making load will fall on the shoulders of sophomores Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliot and the experienced defence will be relied on heavily. It’s a good job that a tough team weren’t scheduled as the first non-conference game as Barrett has played since October 2012 when he was still in high school and sat out all of last year to rehab a torn ACL.
The second thing that has people in Columbus in a panic is the playoff hopes. With Miller gone for the year there is plenty who want to write off the Buckeyes year but there is no need to be so rash. The strength of scheduling which was once Ohio State’s Achilles heel has now become its saving grace. With Virginia Tech being the only real bogey team before the Buckeyes begin conference play at Maryland, there is no reason to believe that JT Barrett and the offense won’t have clicked by then. Even if the Buckeyes do manage 8-0 it all really comes down to how the game away to Michigan St goes. Realistically the Buckeye’s chance to go undefeated are probably gone with Michigan St, Penn St and the team up north all believing they can beat use this year without Braxton Miller but as Joel Klatt said “the last two years, we’ve had a redshirt Freshman win the Heisman trophy… they are still certainly a playoff contender”
To conclude, the playoffs just became a lot more difficult to reach for the Buckeyes and the B1G Ten’s best player won’t play this year. All hope is not lost though if JT Barrett can pull something out of the bag but it means any playoff spot go through East Lansing.1