(Check out the video interview segment with Miller above.)
The team has moved into full pads and is starting a series of two-a-day practices. It is obvious, Miller said, that the intensity level has raised.
“We just have to go hard every time,” Miller said. “Every play is like a game rep. Putting the pads on makes it more realistic than just having shorts and shoulder pads.”
The 6-2, 210-pound Miller is becoming comfortable with the fast pace of the OSU offense. It seems like the Buckeyes want to operate out of a hurry-up set a majority of the time.
“If you run a play and the whistle blows, I’m looking to the sideline for the next play,” he said. “You have to keep the momentum going.”
One of the big questions for Miller and the offense has been the improvement of his wide receivers. He said the receivers are working overtime to make those strides.
“The guys are trying their best,” he said. “Some of them are out there (after practice) catching balls on the Jugs machine. We’re just working every day.
“They have improved a lot through the summer workouts. We had a lot of individual time with the receivers. I think they are a lot better.”
OSU fans are also hoping that Miller can take the next step in his progression after an up-and-down freshman year.
“You can definitely see Braxton is clicking right now,” Guiton said. “He is definitely getting the offense down and he has Coach (Tom) Herman helping him out as well. It’s all starting to come.”
Guiton Growing As Well
Speaking last week, OSU coach Urban Meyer said he has confidence that Guiton can lead the team if Miller is unavailable for a stretch.
By the nature of the spread offense, Meyer knows the quarterbacks can get banged up as they run the ball.
“There is a huge concern,” he said. “But it’s the same concern you would have in an I-formation tailback offense. You hand him the ball 30 times and what happens if he sprains his ankle?
“We’ve been fortunate to stay healthy, but I like Kenny Guiton. We’re going to be more aggressive (with Miller) because I have trust in two quarterbacks. It was like the year when we had Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. They fed off each other. They were different. We’ll always have a contingency plan. But it is a concern.”
Miller returned the compliment to Guiton, a fourth-year junior who is just looking for an opportunity to play.
“He’s a great leader and everybody looks up to him as well,” Miller said. “He is just going to keep working hard, too.”
Meyer did not have a strong initial impression of Guiton – perhaps in part due to opinions expressed by holdovers from the previous staff. But the backup quarterback won over the head coach gradually during the winter and springtime.
“I think that came just through my work ethic and coming out every day and working hard,” Guiton said. “I had to show him exactly who I am. I’m a hard worker and I’m going to come out and give it my all every day.
“My biggest improvement has been coming out and having leadership with the team. I’m an older guy and I have guys looking up to me. I have to lead.”
Guiton was asked how the offensive players are dealing with the new offense.
“Everybody is catching on to it in terms of routes and protections,” he said. “We are getting along together and we’ve got the timing down. It’s looking good.
“I know, personally, I’m getting it down. I’m doing pretty good with it. I get what we’re trying to do. I’m just trying to keep moving forward.”
The 6-2, 206-pound Guiton has only played sparingly for the Buckeyes over the past two years. He has only thrown two passes, completing one, and carried the ball four times with a touchdown against Eastern Michigan in 2010. He was asked about trying to push Miller for the starting job.
“I am trying to do my best,” he said. “Braxton and I are cool. We’re always talking and I try to help him out as much as I can. I help him out and he helps me out.”
One area where Guiton’s game has improved has been with his velocity as a thrower.
“I focused on that all summer long,” he said. “Coach Mick (Marotti) helped me out on that all summer long. I’ve tried my best to work on my velocity. It’s about getting your legs into it. I’ve been working on that and keeping my legs under me and not get outside my frame with the ball.”