Just as Buckeye Nation thankfully swallowed a goodbye, a new farewell came up unexpectedly.
The first announcement, the unexpected goodbye if you will, came as a shock to most and what seemed to be at the time, a significant blow to the program.
OSU’s defensive line coach Mike Vrabel made the decision to bolt for the NFL and join former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s staff at the Houston Texans.
At first I, along with undoubtably many OSU followers, thought this would be a great hit to the recruiting ability of the Buckeyes. It’s always nice to be able to shine three Super Bowl rings in front of a recruit (Vrabel won three with the New England Patriots) and that influence is now gone from the program.
Enter Larry Johnson.
Less than a week after losing Vrabel to Houston, OSU coach Urban Meyer reeled in Johnson from O’Brien’s former staff in State College, Pa.
Johnson spent 18 years coaching at Penn State. He has recruited and developed players such as Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali and former No. 1 overall draft pick Courtney Brown.
Needless to say, OSU not only rebuilds in terms of players, but coaches as well.
The second bit of news that came in shortly after the news about Vrabel’s departure was that junior quarterback Braxton Miller would return for his senior season.
While this did not come as a surprise to some, I was a little shocked the star quarterback didn’t make the leap to the NFL.
After taking a beating in the second half of the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl, some, including myself, thought Miller wouldn’t be willing to take another beating like that unless he was being paid for it. Yet he made the decision to return to Columbus.
Hearing OSU was hanging onto Miller came as a relief after losing Vrabel.
Losing both would have been a significant blow to a team that struggled on defense in 2013-14 and is graduating four of five starters on the offensive line.
OSU fans should consider themselves lucky that the news was not reversed and Miller had left with Vrabel staying.
Remember OSU fans will no longer have the luxury of seeing redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton — who graduated in the fall — come off the bench to save the day in the event that Miller goes down with an injury. Had Miller left, the Buckeyes would be preparing to enter 2014 with a group of quarterbacks — freshmen Luke Morgan and J.T. Barrett and redshirt-freshman Cardale Jones — that combined for only two pass attempts in their careers.
So be grateful, Buckeye Nation, the future is still bright and we will all be able to enjoy one more year of No. 5 in Columbus.
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