September 8, 2012

Miller, Meyer concerned by quarterback's run total

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

If Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was concerned about the amount of times that quarterback Braxton Miller carried the ball a week ago, he didn't show it on Saturday.

A week after carrying the ball 17 times in the Buckeyes' season-opening win against Miami (OH), Miller added 10 more carries to his workload a week later, compiling 27 total rushing attempts throughout OSU's 31-16 win against Central Florida. After the game, Meyer admitted that 27 rushing attempts by a quarterback are too many.

"We called some of those- we had more direct runs," Meyer said. "That's too much. 27 hits. He's blown out right now. We have to be smart."

Miller agreed with his coaching, stating that his rushing total on Saturday was far from ideal.

"I've never had 27 in my life," Miller said. "It's a lot."

But while neither Miller nor Meyer were satisfied with the quarterback's final rushing total in terms attempts, perhaps there's a part of of each of them that's aware that Miller's 27 rushing attempts were necessary against the Knights. Especially given the MCL sprain suffered by starting running back Carlos Hyde, which coupled with a pre-existing injury to Jordan Hall brought the Buckeyes down to their third-string running back on Saturday.

"Someone's gotta run the ball. And right now he's our best answer," Meyer said "We have to find a way to win that game."

Although some may be concerned by the amount of times that Miller was running the ball on Saturday, nobody on the Buckeyes' sideline seemed to be complaining about what he was doing when doing so. For the second consecutive week, Miller ran for more than 100 yards, totaling 141 yards on the ground against the Knights and scoring three rushing touchdowns in the process. Meyer admitted that there's a reason that OSU offensive plays have ended with the ball in Miller's hands so often in the past two weeks.

"Braxton Miller's the most talented runner on the team," Meyer said. "He's kind of the guy that's an athlete playing quarterback. We're changing that. But that's too much."

With Hyde expected to miss 1-2 weeks and Hall's status still yet to be determined, Meyer will now turn his attention towards finding runners on the OSU roster to help shave some rushing attempts off of Miller's stat line. Always an innovator, Meyer is mentioned fullback Zach Boren, running backs Bri'onte Dunn and Rod Smith, and wide receiver Corey Brown as potential replacements for Hyde and Hall.

"We need a guy to turn around and hand the ball off and pound it in there, get six, seven, eight yards and line up and go. And we've certainly got some guys with some talent. Not much experience now," Meyer said. "We've got to develop a running back."

The 44 hits that Miller has taken in the past two weeks are all the more concerning when you consider the history that he's had with injuries dating back to high school. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback said that despite some initial soreness, he felt fine following the Buckeyes' win over the RedHawks, but he also knows the impact that 10 additional hits can have on his body.

"I felt pretty good. I wasn't as sore as I am right now," Miller said. "You know, 27's a lot. There's a big gap between 27 and 17, so I'm sure I'm going to feel sore tomorrow."


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