COLUMBUS: When he first arrived at Florida, coach Urban Meyer inherited a pretty good young quarterback in Chris Leak who wasn’t a very good leader. Now at Ohio State, he is facing a similar situation with Braxton Miller.
For all Miller did well on the field last year, Meyer said Monday he wasn’t a very good leader. As the Buckeyes prepare to face Miami (Ohio) in their season opener Saturday, that is beginning to change.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of leadership between [Miller] and the receivers,” Meyer said. “Not a whole lot of relationship there and now it’s a much different animal.”
Meyer conceded a large reason for Miller’s lack of leadership skills was the fact he was a freshman thrust into an unexpected situation. He enrolled at Ohio State believing he would sit and learn for a year, but all of that changed when Terrelle Pryor bolted for the NFL.
“If you wanted to start as a true freshman, there are plenty of places that would’ve taken him,” Meyer said. “All of a sudden, bang, that’s gone.”
Meyer has been pleased with Miller’s growth in the huddle and among his teammates. Similarly, Leak was a highly touted prospect who had played two years at Florida when Meyer arrived. Together, they ultimately won a national championship. Meyer is hoping for the same evolution with Miller.
“When we first got [Miller] there wasn’t a whole lot of urgency,” Meyer said. “I think the no huddle up-tempo makes the quarterback have to be urgent. I think he’s becoming a pro. He’s a quarterback of an offense that’s counting on him every play. I think that’s the urgency and the way you attack the preparation for the game. It’s much better.”
Linebacker Storm Klein returns to the team this week after Meyer reinstated him. Klein was initially kicked off the team when he was charged with domestic violence during the summer, but Meyer allowed him to return when Klein pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
He will still serve at least a two-game suspension, but was allowed to return to practice this week.
“Today is our first day seeing Storm,” linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “We’re just going to welcome him with open arms.”
Meyer said last month he loves to coach angry teams and believed this team had the ingredients to be one. Now as the first game week begins, he still believes that to be true.
“They’re not very well thought of,” Meyer said. “They lost a lot of games, the most games since the 1800s.”
The Buckeyes’ 6-7 record last year was their most losses in a season since 1897.
“That’s their legacy, they’re going to be known as that group,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to be that group.”
Meyer said there is a chance defensive lineman Nathan Williams (knee) could play in a limited role on Saturday. … Meyer’s daughter, Nicki, was elected captain of Georgia Tech’s volleyball team. … Freshman running back Warren Ball had surgery on a sprained foot and is out indefinitely.