Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
With two years as starting quarterback under his belt, rising junior Braxton Miller is starting to embrace his role as a leader of the Ohio State football team.
Miller said it’s a position that has taken him a while to get used to.
“When I first got here, it was because no one really taught me how to be a leader like I should be,” Miller said. “Now I’m working on little things like that. I’m getting better at it.”
Miller, who many have pegged as an early candidate for the Heisman trophy, rushed for 1,271 yards, passed for another 2,039 and racked up 28 total touchdowns last season.
But offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said the quarterback still has a lot of room to grow.
“As improved as he got, he’s not the best fundamental quarterback in the country, and they pay me a lot of money to make sure that he is,” Herman said. “So we’re going to do whatever it takes to get him going sooner rather than later.”
Primarily known for his running ability, Miller’s focus this spring has been on developing his air attack. After all, he completed 58.3 percent of his passes last year. He said his goal this year is to complete at least 75 percent of his passes.
“I’m working on just getting the ball to the guys,” Miller said. “Just knowing where the guys are going to be at. Last year I kind of second-guessed myself because I didn’t really make plays as well.”
At the end of last season, coach Urban Meyer said he wants Miller to be the most fundamentally sound quarterback in the nation. Those words have served as the rising junior’s motivation coming into the 2013 season.
“I think about that all the time, every time I step onto the field,” Miller said. “When a ball sails on me, I know why. I worked on that in the off-season in LA. So I know what’s going on if I throw a bad ball.”
Miller worked with quarterback specialist George Whitfield in Los Angeles over the summer.
Rising redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Guiton said he and Miller do their best to improve each other’s game.
“We kind of feed off of each other,” Guiton said. “If one of us sees the other doing something wrong, we let them know and try to help them out.”
As Miller continues to improve, so will his chances at becoming a Heisman winner. With time, Herman said he believes his quarterback has what it takes to win the award.
“He’s got every necessary tool to be that good,” Herman said. “But to say that that’s even the apex of his potential, I don’t know if you can see it. You can’t, but it’s out there. We just have to keep staying on that upward trajectory and you’d like to think, if we continue on this path at the rate we’re going, he’ll get there.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to take the field for their eighth spring practice Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.