College Football's New Look

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Braxton Miller's inability to throw during Ohio State's spring camp presented an opportunity for the Buckeyes to push the envelope in furthering the senior quarterback's education.

Miller's physical tools are well documented, so the Buckeyes had no problem shutting him down during March and April after offseason shoulder surgery. With a little creativity and some technology, the coaching staff turned the practice field into a classroom.

Miller participated in drills with a camera on his hat to monitor how he was reading defenses from behind the play and a microphone that recorded him calling out where he would deliver the ball. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman reviewed the film to grade his decision-making process.

After practices, Herman would assign Miller homework that included his own video review of other quarterbacks, including grading the live practice reps of redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett.

That Miller could have a productive spring without throwing is a tribute to both him and a support staff that did everything it possibly could to maximize his time while recovering from his shoulder surgery.

"You're talking about the Big Ten Player of the Year two years in a row," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "I believe he gets it now, and he's a wonderful kid that wants to be great.

"I think he had a great spring."

Meyer helped set up a meeting between Miller and Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly to talk shop, and more of those types of informational sessions are still planned -- including practice runs the Buckeyes are putting together to simulate ESPN analyst Jon Gruden's "QB Camp."

Another potentially valuable silver lining to not having the starter taking snaps this spring: The coaching staff got to take a closer look at the candidates to fill Kenny Guiton's spot as the backup, a role that was critical in a handful of wins the past two seasons when Miller was forced to the sideline due to injury.

Ideally, the Buckeyes won't have to worry much about those health concerns in the fall if they're going to make a run at a title. But in the spring, they had no problem with it at all.

NORMAN, Okla. -- The breaking point for Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight came midway through spring practice in 2013.

Coming off a redshirt season at OU in 2012, Knight was battling Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson for the Sooners' starting job. But after a couple of weeks of spring practice, Knight looked and felt like the team's third-best quarterback.

"It was stressful," Knight recalled. "It was really the first adversity I'd faced in sports."

But after Knight led the Sooners to a 45-31 upset of No. 3 Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, he's the Sooners' undisputed starter at quarterback. He completed 32 of 44 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns, the most completions ever allowed by a Nick Saban-coached Crimson Tide defense.

"It's what we expected from him all along," OU coach Bob Stoops said.

With one breakout performance, Knight went from relative anonymity to celebrity on the OU campus. No matter where Knight goes, from sporting events to restaurants, he's a popular target for autographs and photographs.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...