The college football world went into a tizzy Thursday night over the news that Braxton Miller would be switching from quarterback to wide receiver for the upcoming season, taking himself out of the the much anticipated quarterback competition in Columbus.
But the man running the show is saying not so fast.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer told multiple reporters that Miller's move to H-back — something Miller told Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel was happening — hasn't been signed off on quite yet.
"I haven't made those decisions yet," Meyer told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's a little bit jumping the gun here. Braxton came to see me. He's been talking to me about it (the switch). We've been working at it, but I'm not ready to say exactly how we're going to use him yet."
Miller told Thamel that he hasn't fully recovered from his shoulder injury suffered just days before the start of last season, and his inability to throw at full strength led to him looking for a different way to get on the field, choosing H-back and punt returner. Miller said he's been practicing as a wideout for months and that he asked Meyer not to tell anyone about it.
Miller was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, when he led the Buckeyes to a combined 24-2 record. But after a pair of shoulder injuries — one in the 2014 Orange Bowl and another right before the start of the 2014 season — an injured Miller had to yield to J.T. Barrett, who was sensational as the Buckeyes' regular-season starter. Barrett's own injury in the regular-season finale meant Cardale Jones had to take over for the postseason, and Jones led Ohio State to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon en route to a national championship. If Miller does end up switching positions, Barrett and Jones will compete for the starting quarterback job.
Miller seems as though he's taken himself out of that position battle, though he's not completely giving up quarterbacking, telling Thamel he'll spend 80 percent of his time on training as a receiver and the other 20 percent prepping as a quarterback. Miller wanting to get on the field surely has a lot to do with his career goals to play in the NFL. Prior to his injury, he looked like a surefire draft pick at quarterback. But health and the increased competition at the position could mean he needs to take an alternate route to the pro game, and this could be it.
Meyer said he'll need some time to see Miller and see if this plan is going to work.
"We won't know enough until practice starts how we can use him and what he can do," Meyer told Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises. "I just don't know. He's a great athlete, but he's never caught a pass for us. So we'll know more and we have plenty of time when practice starts."