COLUMBUS — During last football season, the Ohio State coaching staff handled quarterback Braxton Miller with kid gloves ... and that's putting it lightly.
I mean, they were like the parents who follow close behind their child with a box of tissues, anti-bacterial soap, ouchless band-aids, a helmet, knee pads and a plastic bubble.
Well, new Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer has a totally different approach to parenting with the sophomore signal caller.
"The head coach is putting pressure on Braxton," Meyer said.
While the staff last season hesitated at every turn to apply any kind of pressure on the young quarterback, Meyer is all about loading anvils on his star player's shoulders.
"In our offense the quarterback can't have a bad day," Meyer said. "He really can't have a bad snap."
Meyer understands the great talents and potential Miller possesses, and feels that in order to turn those seeds into a bountiful harvest, the quarterback must have the mentality that the success of the team rides solely on his shoulders. That he isn't just a leader ... but THE leader.
Miller is up to the challenge.
"Everything's on me," Miller said. "If I mess up on a pass, it's on me. If a receiver drops a pass, it's on me ...
"Anything bad that happens on offense is in my hands."
You can already see a great relationship brewing between Meyer and Miller. Although the relationship between former head coach Jim Tressel and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith was special, it was more of a father-son type of union. Tressel looked out for Smith, groomed and encouraged him like a son.
Meyer is more like a big brother with tough love. I've noticed in practice that Meyer pushes and prods, hammers but jokes. He keeps Miller loose, but accountable. He also never allows his young signal caller to get too comfortable with himself.
"He made the comment to me that he knows what he's doing," Meyer said of Miller. "Well, he doesn't know it all yet. There's still a lot more to go.
"I just winked at him and said, 'Yeah, right, pal.'"
When asked about the relationship with Meyer and the pressure he puts on him, the young quarterback just flashes a smile ...
"I'm cool with it," Miller said. "No pressure!"