Thursday, December 23, 2010

IT COULD BE BRAXTON MILLER TIME SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

Braxton Miller
COLUMBUS — Before people start marking Ohio State for death in 2011, let's step back, take a deep breath and evaluate how the suspensions will affect next year's team.

First, which games will the suspended players — Terrelle Pryor, Dan "Boom" Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas — be missing? Well, if the suspensions hold up after appeal, they will miss games against Akron and Toledo at home, a road trip to Miami (Fla.) and home contests against Colorado and Michigan State.

Other than Miami and Michigan State, Ohio State's scout team would be able to roll over the rest of that competition.

Now, losing Pryor will hurt ... but maybe not as badly as people think. Why you ask? Because incoming freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, has the abilities to come right in and start from day one. Yes, he's that good. He'll be enrolling at OSU in January so he can be ready for spring practice — which means many, many reps with the first team for the true frosh.

Remember, Pryor started his freshman year and did pretty well, and Miller is much further along as a pure quarterback than Pryor was at that age. Kenny Guiton will also be in the mix, but let's face it, Tressel isn't going to have Miller riding the pine behind anyone not named Pryor, plain and simple.

Herron's loss will be felt, too, but with runners like Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Jaamal Berry in the stable, the Buckeyes still possess one of the finest and deepest backfields in the country. Herron's absence will force Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel to go to a committee backfield, and with the talent the Buckeyes have at the tailback spot, missing Boom could be a blessing in disguise.

Losing Posey hurts more because of the graduation of Dane Sanzenbacher. But then again, I was expecting Posey to turn pro anyways, so this isn't a new issue to me. With Miller taking the snaps in spring ball — as well as summer training camp — he will surely gain a rapport with some of the other "talented" wide receivers on the team like Corey "Philly" Brown, Chris Fields, T.Y. Williams, James Louis, Verlon Reed and incoming freshmen Evan Spencer and Devin Smith.

Miller has never thrown one pass in his life to Posey, so how can you miss something you never had?

Adams will hurt some, but luckily, Andrew Norwell got enough playing time this season to be able to step in at the left tackle spot and perform at a high level. Besides, with the mobility of Miller, and going up against some pretty inferior defensive fronts early on, Norwell doesn't have to be the reincarnation of Anthony Munoz.

As for Thomas, well, the Buckeyes are loaded with deep talent at the defensive end spot, and it was no guarantee that he was going to be the starter anyways.

Look, losing these players for five games could never be looked at as a good thing, but it's also not the end of the world like so many people are crying today.

As the saying goes ... when one door shuts, another door opens.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they have plenty of talented players ready to turn the knob.