"Yep, I did. I caught myself and I was like, ‘Dang, I used to go through the same situation.' Now I see why."
- Braxton Miller via Austin Ward, ESPN
It was only a couple of years ago that Braxton Miller was the player throwing the passes instead of receiving them. Now that he's on the other side, he understands the receiver position much better. When asked about how during his seasons at quarterback some of his receiver teammates would mention in huddles that they were wide open on a play, Miller said he's already been doing the same thing for Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. With the coaching staff trying to figure out how to best utilize Miller's explosive ability, it has taken some bumps in the road when they try and force the issue.
Miller himself knows it's not realistic to have the ball every play as a receiver, but after playing quarterback his whole career, it makes sense that he's at his best with the ball in his hands. But he's been adjusting to his new role and has been adapting to it as the season has progressed. After his solid performance against Maryland, Miller will hope to continue his success and flow within the offense to help the Buckeyes win games.
"I think that's pretty much the focus of most people. When you get in the red zone, you better be able to run the ball, but you're a guy short. How do you equate that? You run option football or you run the be quarterback."
- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Ohio State had only scored once in its nine attempts in the red zone entering Saturday's game against Maryland. After a personnel change in the red zone with J.T. Barrett taking over at quarterback, the Buckeyes were perfect on the day, scoring all four times they entered the red zone. Bill Landis of Northeast Ohio Media Group is intrigued by the sudden shift and wonders if the success was because of J.T. Barrett or if it was simply the play-calling that made the difference. After all, the Buckeyes had previously tried using Cardale Jones throwing once they entered the short field but didn't yield any results.
While it's likely a mix of both, Urban Meyer points out that Barrett is simply the better runner at quarterback, and that can give Ohio State a huge advantage against its opponents close to the goal line. Teams have to prepare for both the threat of an option run, a hand-off, or a pass. While Jones is capable of doing those three, Meyer notes that Cardale can't run the sweep nearly as well as Barrett. In the end, Ohio State got it to work, and if it continues to work there should be no issue with running the two-quarterback system.
"I don't know that it's anything to take away from any other coach, it's just that I'm upstairs, I see things, I'm away from the crowd, the players, the noise. You don't get the emotion, necessarily, drawn into it as you do when you're down on the sidelines."
- Tim Beck via Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch
Urban Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff have stood behind their statements in the past that the offensive playcalling isn't all on one person. It's an offense by committee, but there have been some changes recently. Previously, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner had been the one using the headset to call the plays. As it's well-documented now, the offensive line play has suffered quite a bit since the switch. So the Buckeyes mixed it up and now Tim Beck, the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has the headset calling the plays after a decision has been made.
The move makes sense, considering Beck is up in the press box and Warinner is down on the field. Now Warinner has the chance to work more with the offensive line and get the men up front back to what they are capable of playing. After a win over Maryland in which the offense looked stronger than in its previous games, it may be a sign that Ohio State is turning the corner and ready to step up to its No. 1 ranking.
"Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott (8-1) had attracted the most overall bets, Station's sportsbook director Jason McCormick said, but Fournette had attracted the most money."
- David Purdum, ESPN
Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman campaign is still going strong, though the rest of the contenders are no slouches. Though Elliott isn't the current Heisman favorite, he's still among the top candidates for the Heisman trophy this season. The favorite for now is LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who has been incredible so far this season for the Tigers. Fournette has rushed for 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns on 119 carries and currently has 8-5 odds to win the award.
Georgia running back Nick Chubb and TCU quarterback Treyvone Boykin sat tied for second with 7-1 odds, though Chubb suffered a horrendous-looking knee injury this past Saturday and will be out for the foreseeable future. Elliott is just behind Boykin with 8-1 odds, and has 835 yards and 10 touchdowns on 121 carries. The Buckeye star has also rushed for 100+ yards for 11 consecutive games and looks to continue that streak against Penn State on Saturday.
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