Future bright, but also confused for OSU


First Posted: 1/1/2015

NEW ORLEANS – Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett stayed in the locker room during Sugar Bowl media day earlier this week because they did not want to answer a lot of questions with no definite answers or become a distraction.

It was only a brief respite for the two Ohio State quarterbacks who were each considered Heisman Trophy candidates during 2014.

If you are not already tired of the discussion about who will be Ohio State’s quarterback in its 2015 opener at Virginia Tech, you probably soon will be.

With Miller and Barrett both sitting out spring practice while rehabbing the injuries that ended their 2014 seasons, nothing is going to be decided anytime soon.

Right now the No. 1 quarterback is Cardale Jones. It’s unlikely he will keep that job when one or both of Miller and Barrett are healthy.

Choosing between a healthy Miller and Barrett means picking between a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and this year’s first-team All-Big Ten quarterback.

It won’t be an easy choice but it is the kind of choice most coaches would love to have the option of making.

Rumors about Miller transferring have been out there for weeks. The latest came up two days before the Sugar Bowl when it was reported he was looking at Florida State.

OSU coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday he and Miller have had conversations about the future and he thinks the three-year starter will be back in 2015.

“We’ve had conversations and I expect him to be back at Ohio State,” Meyer said.

How fast Miller recovers from the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that kept him out all season is the No. 1 unknown in the situation.

Barrett’s recovery from a broken ankle is regarded as a shorter and simpler healing process than Miller’s.

There has also been speculation that Miller could change positions, especially since the NFL’s infatuation with running quarterbacks is fading fast. But it seems unlikely a highly competitive athlete who has played quarterback since pee-wee football is going to be receptive to that idea.

Whoever plays quarterback, Ohio State could be headed for another season of being in the conversation about the national championship.

In addition to the three quarterbacks, Ohio State will have its top two running backs, Ezeikiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel, returning, along with its leading pass catcher, Michael Thomas. Four of the five offensive line starters will be back.

Seven starters will be back on defense, led by first-team All-American defensive end Joey Bosa.

If there is a concern on defense, it is the defensive line, where Michael Bennett and Steve Miller won’t be back. In the unlikely possibility Adolphus Washington declares early for the NFL draft, the line would become a big question mark.

Raekwon McMillan will be a more than capable replacement for Curtis Grant at middle linebacker. Replacing Doran Grant at cornerback will take some time.

There are some questions, but only one of them will dominate the discussion.

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