The Best Ohio State News/Writing Of September 6

Get up to speed on the day that was in Ohio State athletics news and long-ish reads.

It's a Thursday that feels like a Wednesday but we all wish was a Friday. Remember 'Thirsty Thursday' when you were still in school? That kind of thing might be necessary on a day like today. While you basically figure out how to kill the remaining 10 work hours between you and pre-gaming for Ohio State's first real-ish "test"(?) of the young 2012 football season, we encourage you to take in these delectable long-ish forms on subjects far nearer and dearer to our collective hearts than work.

ON GROWTH

Braxton Miller 2.0 is anything if not merely a year older. The sophomore edition has shown no signs of slump; in fact, in an offense far more catered to his natural abilities, the prolific Ohio State quarterback did things that had non-Buckeye fan friends of yours text you things like "it's not even fair you guys have Braxton." So what comes next for potentially the next great quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes?

The Columbus Dispatch Bill Rabinowitz Ohio State football: Miller knows where he needs to improve

All of this might be true. What's also true is that all of the promise in Miller that Meyer has gushed about since his hiring looks to be well-founded.

Miller completed 14 of 24 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 161 yards against Miami. That included a dazzling 65-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter featuring a stutter step that froze an approaching defender at the RedHawks 30-yard line.

Throwing and running for a combined 368 yards is bound to get national attention, and some way, way, way premature Heisman Trophy talk was directed Miller's way. That prompted an "oh, gosh," of disbelief from Meyer when that was broached on Monday.

"I think he's one of those freaks of nature that has a lot of ability, and great things can happen to him," Meyer said. "But there won't be billboards posted anywhere, or anything like that."

ON UPSET ALERT

As Iliana Limón Romero pointed out to us yesterday, a win over the Buckeyes in Columbus would basically go down as the biggest victory in the young FBS history of the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. So what is it going to take for the Knights to make such a fantasy a reality?

Associated Press Central Florida embraces shot at signature victory

That’s what I told our players at the beginning of the season, was that we expect to play 14 games this year. And you go into each game with an opportunity to win it. Now we have to perform to get that done."

Still, O’Leary has frequently maintained that true sustainability will come only when the Knights can begin to earn consistent nonconference victories over BCS foes.

"It’s why you play in Division I football is to play in games like this," O’Leary said. "That’s the challenge I’ll pose to the team."

There’s no question that beating the Buckeyes will be difficult.

ON BEING MORE THAN AN ATHLETE WHO THROWS

Coach Urban Meyer has truly hammered it home: he wants Braxton Miller to be a quarterback who runs, not an athlete who happens to chunk the ball downfield. Game one was certainly a strong first step, but there's still plenty of room to grow for the sophomore signal caller.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Doug Lesmerises Ohio State wants Braxton Miller to pitch, but touchdown runs are OK, too

That 65-yard touchdown run by Braxton Miller on Saturday, the one with the little stutterstep? Good decision to not pitch it on that one.

"Yeah," Ohio State's freshman quarterback said with a laugh on Wednesday. "The [Miami of Ohio defender] got outside of me, so I gave it a little flip and took it up the field."

There were a few other times in the Buckeyes' season-opening 56-10 victory when Miller maybe needed to let the ball go on pitches. He ran for a school-record 161 yards for a quarterback, but OSU coach Urban Meyer said 17 carries was too many for Miller.

The quarterback wound up cramping twice. And it is a long season.

ON STRATEGERY

We all knew that the introduction of Everett Withers as co-defensive coordinator would mean the incorporation of some new schematic elements to the tried and true Ohio State defensive approach. Now that we've gotten a chance to take some of those in, how might we see these philosophies incorporated against future foes for the Buckeyes?

Eleven Warriors Ross Fulton Ohio State v. Miami (Ohio): Defensive Breakdown

Ohio State's defensive philosophy Saturday should have looked very familiar to observers of Ohio State's defenses over the last decade. Against Miami's "throw all the time" approach, Ohio State was almost exclusively in its 4-2-5 over nickel defense.

As seen above, this is an 'over' defense in that the defensive line shifts one gap towards the formation strength. For Ohio State, that means that their 3-technique and 'Viper' (Rush End) play to the strength, while the 1 and 5 technique play to the weakside (the opposite of OSU's base 4-3 under). The secondary, meanwhile, plays to the field, with the nickel back ('star') generally over the field-side slot.

OSU coverages were one of two varieties. The Buckeyes featured an extensive amount of cover 4, which is the biggest change from the Jim Heacock era.

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