With senior quarterback Braxton Miller’s health status in doubt after he re-injured his shoulder on Monday, Ohio State football fans won’t have to look far to see how the current coaching regime does when a signal-caller goes down.
Coach Urban Meyer and co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman were both around just last season when Miller missed two full games, and the majority of another, after injuring his knee.
Miller was first injured on OSU’s opening drive against San Diego State Sept. 7, 2013. Then-backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who has since graduated, entered the game and passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-7 victory.
Guiton’s success continued in historic form as he set OSU records for the longest pass play and the most passing touchdowns in a game over the following two weeks.
In all, Guiton played in 13 of 14 games in 2013, including the two aforementioned starts. He passed for a total of 749 yards and 14 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions. The Buckeyes were 2-0 when Guiton started, on top of the win against SDSU.
While Guiton slotted smoothly into Meyer and Herman’s system, both coaches have had experience with replacing quarterbacks even before coming to OSU.
Meyer’s previous coaching stop was at Florida, where his No. 1 quarterback played in every game all six seasons while he was in charge. Before that, Meyer spent two years at Utah.
In 2003, Meyer’s first year with the Utes, Brett Elliott, then a senior, started the season on top of the depth chart at quarterback. Elliott broke his wrist two games into the season, paving the way for then-sophomore Alex Smith.
Smith went on to lead Utah to a 9-1 record in 10 starts that season while throwing 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He then led the Utes to an undefeated record his senior year before being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Smith eventually became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
Between Smith and Guiton, the last two quarterbacks to come in for an injured starter under Meyer, their teams have totaled an 11-1 record in games they started in those seasons.
Since 2007, Herman has been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rice, Iowa State and OSU.
At Rice, where Herman coached in 2007 and 2008, his No. 1 quarterback, Chase Clement, played in all 25 games. But while at Iowa State, Herman had at least two quarterbacks start at least one game in each of his three seasons.
In 2009 Austen Arnaud played in 12 games and threw for 2,015 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the Cyclones under Herman. Backup Jerome Tiller played in seven games, including a start, and tossed one touch down compared to four interceptions. The two quarterbacks led Iowa State to a 7-6 overall record.
The following year, Arnaud started nine games and threw 13 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Tiller started another game, and threw one touchdown in eight total appearances. The Cyclones finished the season 5-7.
In Herman’s final season before leaving Iowa State for OSU, 2011, Steele Jantz started seven games at quarterback while Jared Barnett stated six under center. Both threw for more than 1,000 yards, but combined for 17 interceptions compared to 16 touchdowns. Iowa State went 6-7 after starting that season 3-0.
While Herman and Meyer both helped the Buckeyes to success when Miller was out injured last season, it is yet to be seen if they can find that same success in 2014.
The extent of Miller’s injury was not yet known as of Tuesday morning, pending the results of an MRI on Miller’s shoulder.
With out without the senior in the lineup, OSU is scheduled to begin its season Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
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