Sunday, July 22, 2012

Look Away Ann Arbor Fans, Look Away — Braxton Miller Will Outperform Denard Robinson In 2012

By Tim Featured Contributor
The idea of Ohio State's sophomore QB Braxton Miller outperforming Michigan's decorated senior Denard Robinson is a crazy notion on the surface. After all, Robinson has slowly started to develop into a very deadly dual-threat.

When you look much deeper, however, Miller's chance to be better than Robinson is not very far-fetched at all.
Robinson is an amazingly talented runner, but his passing remains somewhat of a hit-and-miss—it improved greatly in his junior year.
Miller showed some struggles through the early part of his freshman year, but grew tremendously as the season went on, including his fantastic four-touchdown night against Wisconsin—three of which were on the ground.
He was very protected in terms of the passing game, and his accuracy needs some work, especially on the deeper throws where multiple times he overshot open receivers down the field.
A spring with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman showed some good improvement in terms of the short passing game and getting his receivers into good spots.
The new Ohio State offense better suits Miller's skills, although he will truly shine when he finds some playmakers that can make his life easier. That's the big advantage Robinson had with some talented skill players like Roy Roundtree and Fitzgerald Toussaint to give him some go-to weapons.
Miller has potentially dangerous players like Corey Brown and Jake Stoneburner, neither of whom have had the big year that fans hoped they would have had by now.
The biggest reason Miller has a chance to have a strong 2012 and probably a better year than Robinson is because of how Meyer can manipulate the offense around Miller. He is an excellent open-field runner that has proven several times he can make great defenders look silly with great moves.
Ohio State is moving to a high-tempo, power-spread attack that will let Miller use his natural talents to their peak.
It's about making him the No. 1 weapon on the ground and using that to not only open throwing lanes in the passing game—from screens to intermediate and deep routes—but option lanes that make him so much tougher to defend.
The important trick for Meyer will be to make sure that he doesn't have what happened to Robinson as a sophomore—where he seemed to slow down as the year went on—happen to Miller.
If Miller takes the quantum leap in passing that fans believe Meyer and Herman can spark, there's a good chance he can surpass Robinson in the passing game.
Robinson's passing numbers declined last season in most categories, where Miller's should skyrocket, especially if OSU's new offense allows them to run more plays throughout the course of a game.
The simple fact that Meyer will allow Miller to throw much more often than he had in the past should mean that Miller will be a much better passer.
The key will be how Miller progresses in the fall and if the offense continues to come together after a slow start in the spring. The offense has come a long way; now the fall is about the finishing touches.
For Miller, that's about improving as a passer whether it be just in the pocket or on the run as well.
If he can do that, there's no reason to think he won't come close to matching or even surpassing Denard Robinson's numbers.



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