"It's really cool to have him back, especially for him to have a coming out party in his first game. It's been a long time since Braxton has been on the field with us, and I think maybe we don't necessarily forget, it's just been awhile since we've seen those wow plays out of him. I can't say enough about how much I respect him to be able to humble himself enough to switch positions, and then to come out and have the type of game he did in his first outing in that position was just fun to watch, and he's going to be a threat for a lot of teams."
It's a great feeling to see Braxton Miller making headlines for Ohio State again. Two years removed from leading the Buckeyes to a 24-consecutive winning streak as a quarterback, the senior H-back is again coming up big for his team when they need him the most. Sparking a suddenly confused offense on Monday night, Miller finished with two touchdowns in his debut at his new position. The praise he received not only from his teammates and coaches, but the media, clearly meant the world to Braxton. After an injury kept him off the field last season, it was an emotional night for Miller, as evidenced by his reactions in the locker room via Urban Meyer:
"I love Braxton Miller," Meyer said. "He made a lot of decisions as young people have to, and he did it for the best interests of his team and Ohio State, and when you think about it, that makes you feel good. I love that kid, man, and of course I love what he does. He broke down in (the locker room), he got real emotional, and the negative about football is you don't see their faces — it's their helmet, their visor — and you don't get to see what this kid is all about. He's about the right stuff, and I'm honored to coach him again."
What a great story. Confidence is going to be sky high for Braxton Miller from here on, and he has a chance to help lead Ohio State to the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive season.
"People make a big deal about the system you run. But I've learned though the years that your system has to marry your talent. One of my proudest seasons is when we went 12-0 in my first year at Ohio State in 2012. Philosophically, we wanted to be balanced. But we couldn't throw the ball. We had a good line, a beast at tailback in Carlos Hyde and a freak at quarterback in Braxton Miller. It was one of my proudest achievements in coaching. We didn't try to fit a square peg in a round hole. And that's how we're going to approach stuff at Houston."
Former Ohio State offensive coordinator and current Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman may have left the Buckeyes after their national championship win, but that doesn't mean he didn't take some of the atmosphere from Ohio State on his way to Houston. Coach Herman is now trying to build what he calls a 'mini-Ohio State' program in Texas, with the Cougars holding some of the same values and methods that the Buckeyes do today. Herman's plan for success is to build the program up with the right mentality and get his players fired up and proud to be a part of a program like Houston.
The way Herman is doing it is by using a similar blueprint that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has used before and even now. From conditioning, class schedules, and general structure of the program, Herman believes he's using about 90 percent of the same ideas that coach Meyer does at Ohio State. Herman mentions that just like Meyer didn't come up with a blueprint on his own, but made it his own by tweaking things here and there, Herman plans to do the same. And it's hard to argue that the plan won't work - it has everywhere Meyer has gone.
"I'm going to have constant conversation with him -- I have -- and I think he would know that's not (the case). There might come a time we have to do that. This journey's going to be interesting. We've got to make sure I'm not screwing it up."
A lot of fans were a tad worried on Monday night, midway through the second quarter. Cardale Jones hadn't completed a pass the entire quarter. The offense was struggling to get any sort of momentum. Once Jones threw an interception, panic was starting to set in on fans' minds. They wanted a switch, many calling for J.T. Barrett - the other Ohio State quarterback - to be put into the game. Urban Meyer proved why he's the head coach. He stuck with Cardale, after naming him the starter for the Virginia Tech game, and kept him in the second half. The result? A 42-21 thrashing of Virginia Tech, sparked in the second half of the football game.
Jones finished the game with two touchdowns and just under 200 yards passing. He scampered for a touchdown to cap off his night before letting Barrett take over with the second-team. While Jones rose to the occasion, Meyer said before halftime that he might have Barrett warm up. That sentence alone might have one thinking what if things had gotten worse? And if they had, and Barrett went in, how would Jones react? At the end of the day, Meyer himself recognizes his team's ability and the reason they are the top team in the country. It's his job not to mess it all up.
"In the last two seasons Washington's two most productive games as a pass rusher (four pressures last night, five pressures last season) and his highest overall grades (+5.0 last season) have come against the Hokies who will surely be glad that they've seen the last of him."
Ben Stockwell took in the Ohio State-Virginia Tech game on Monday night and graded players on both teams. The Buckeyes would win 42-21, and their players graded much higher than that of the Hokies. The top standout? Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. Despite some pass rush struggles at points, Washington was the anchor on the defensive line that was needed while Joey Bosa was serving his suspension. Though Washington missed three tackles, he still graded fairly high, and provided enough to help Ohio State get the win.
The next four highest grades went to Jalyn Holmes, Darron Lee, Ezekiel Elliott, and Taylor Decker. Interestingly enough, Braxton Miller didn't rate all that high, despite his excellent performance. He still graded well, just not as high as one might expect based off the moves and receptions he had. Still, a quality performance all around, and the Buckeyes got the revenge they were looking for.