Ohio State left guard Billy Price approached a round table surrounded by cameras and media members on Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He wondered if it was all for him.
“This is really not necessary,” Price joked. “I can go get Braxton Miller.”
The media would have made that trade — no disrespect to Price. The Wayne grad Miller, Ohio State’s starter at hybrid back, touched the ball only twice — once on a rush and once on a reception — in a 34-27 victory at Indiana on Saturday, but he remains one of the most intriguing players on the team.
Somehow, someway, the No. 1 Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) have to find a way to get Miller more involved Saturday when the Buckeyes host Maryland (2-3, 0-1) at noon. After the Indiana game, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he felt sick Miller didn’t get the ball more. Meyer tried to get Miller going on the first play, and Miller lost nine yards on a pass from Cardale Jones.
“That’s my fault,” Meyer said. “I just wanted to give Braxton a touch, get him to the field, and they blitz the corner.”
Although he didn’t make much of an impact on the box score, Miller earned a champion grade for his play. He didn’t grade that high in the season-opening game against Virginia Tech, even though he broke the game open in the third quarter with a 54-yard touchdown catch and 53-yard touchdown run.
Miller’s high marks came because of his improved perimeter blocking, despite a chop block penalty that cost Ezekiel Elliott a touchdown run in the second quarter. All the receivers did a much better job blocking, Meyer said. That’s one reason Elliott rushed for a career-high 274 yards.
“They were challenged about their perimeter blocking,” Meyer said, “and it was the best we’ve had this year.”
Miller rushed 13 times for 118 yards in the first two games and has rushed nine times for 32 in the last three games. He had five catches for 95 yards in the first two games, no catches in the third game and three catches for 36 in the last two games.
Miller saw action on 30 plays Saturday, Meyer said, but the defense directs where the offense goes.
“You can’t say, ‘Throw it to him,’” Meyer said. “You just can’t do that. What if he’s covered? It’s frustrating.”
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