Braxton Miller reportedly re-injured his throwing shoulder in practice this week, putting his season, and the fate of the Ohio State Buckeyes, in jeopardy heading into 2014. If Miller does in fact miss significant time, Ohio State’s hopes of making a run at a national title this fall will take a major hit. In Miller’s place, the Buckeyes would have to turn to redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett to lead the way. Is the young man up to the challenge?
Barrett was only recently moved up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Miller after a strong spring and early part of fall camp. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound signal caller has yet to throw a single pass at the college level as he spent last season recovering from a torn ACL suffered in his senior year in high school. But he’s impressed coaches up to this point with his approach to the game and have raved about his mental maturity, pinpoint accuracy, and the kind of athleticism needed to run the Ohio State spread attack.
The major knock on Barrett is his lack of arm strength. Even as the team moved him up the depth chart, coaches admitted that he has the weakest arm of the top three quarterbacks on the roster but he finds ways to make up for it with “above-average” tools in every other aspect of his game. With the athletes on the Ohio State offense, getting the ball out on time and accurately will likely be more important than the ability to throw the deep ball, anyways. Miller was often criticized for his downfield passing but that didn’t stop Ohio State from boasting the No. 1 offense in the Big Ten last season.
There is no replacing the leadership and experience of a Braxton Miller but Ohio State may be forced to give it a try. They obviously have faith in their No. 2 quarterback, J.T. Barrett, despite his lack of experience in game situations. Will their faith be well placed and can Barrett keep Ohio State on the path to the College Football Playoff in 2014?