Manziel is Pulling for Miller

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller had surgery to repair a torn labrum this morning.

“Everything is good. He just sent me a picture of him and the doctor and his dad, so it’s very positive,” said coach Urban Meyer, “All reports are there were no surprises, and everything went well.”

Happy to hear the news was Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who joined the list of Miller’s well-wishers.

“It’s tough to see a friend like Braxton…I mean, it’s rough. I don’t wish that for anybody. I don’t wish that for him especially. Hopefully everything in that situation works out for him,” Manziel said.

Miller has said that his plan is to graduate in December and then attend graduate school, thus returning to the Buckeyes in 2015.

“I hope he can…because first and foremost, I’m a fan of Braxton,” Manziel said. “I think he’s incredible for college football. I think he’s incredible for Ohio State and the state of Ohio.”

While Miller is out, redshirt freshman JT Barrett is expected to take over, and Manziel had some advice for the young signal caller.

“I think more than anything, he needs to depend on Coach Meyer, who’s been through it all. Their quarterbacks coach is a very creative guy, who is a standup guy as well. I would say lean on those guys. Lean on the older players that have been there. They have a lot of playmakers, so you get the ball to those guys in space, and they can really do a lot with it. Don’t try to do too much. I would say rely on your coaches. Rely on what they’re telling you, and most of all, have fun and go out and play football like you did in high school and like you’ve been doing your whole life.”

In the end, what Manziel would like to see is pretty simple.

“Man, I really wish them nothing but the best,” he said, “And I hope Braxton is OK.”

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Ohio State Looks Ahead to Navy

The Buckeye football team held their first weekly media availability today. Hear from Coach Urban Meyer and his players:

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Get to Know: Navy

One expects discipline of the service academies. Even so, Navy’s streak is impressive. Since 2004, they’ve always ended the season as one of the three least penalized* team’s in the country. And back in 2003 before that streak started? Well, then they dropped all the way down to fourth.

With that type of self-command, Navy tends to be the type of team the Buckeyes saw in 2009: A pesky squad that just won’t go away. That season, OSU relied on an intercepted two-point conversion that was returned for two points in the final minute to hold on 31-27.

More than just putting a scare into teams, though, the Midshipmen are known for pulling off the occasional upset. Since 2003, Navy has racked up 21 victories over the members of the so-called Power 5 conferences.

Keenan Reynolds, who owns a 15-6 (.714) career record as the starting quarterback, already has two wins over a Big Ten opponent. (Both times it was Indiana.) Five of his wins involved fourth-quarter comebacks, including the 2012 match-up with the Hoosiers.

Plus, Reynolds has a little extra motivation Saturday. He told The Baltimore Sun the first time he ever saw the Midshipmen play was that close call in 2009.

On top of that, “Growing up I was a Gator fan, when Urban Meyer was there,” Reynolds explained. “So I always wanted to be a Florida Gator and play for him. Now I get to play against him, so I think that’s pretty cool.”

Reynolds’ 31 rushing TDs last year were the most ever in the NCAA by a quarterback. In fact, he’s just the fourth player in NCAA history to rush for 30-or-more touchdowns in a season. He’s scored a rushing touchdown in 8-straight games, and if he adds another against OSU, it will tie the school record of nine set by Chris McCoy.

While the signal caller does most of his damage with his feet, he is capable of throwing one long. (One Buckeye player said the thing that stands out most about Reynolds is how much he can overthrow a pass.) Combine that with the fact that Navy runs the triple-option offense, which can tempt defensive backs to be overaggressive or lull them to sleep, and last year the Midshipmen averaged 15.1 yards a completion (6th in the country).

Make no mistake, though, the run game is Navy’s offensive staple. They had the second-ranked rushing offense nationally last year, rolling up an average of 325.4 yards per game. (They were just 122nd in passing offense.) In addition to Reynold’s carries, they’ll hand the ball to slotback DeBrandon “Bug” Sanders, who’s very generously listed at 5’7″. He romped for an average of 10.2 yards every time he he was handed the ball. The team’s other starting slotback is a poised senior out of Columbus, Ohio named Geoffrey Whiteside, who averaged 7.4 yards a carry last season.

One last thing about the offense? Navy has been working in some no-huddle into their scheme, so despite their reliance on the ground game, they ran a respectable 921 plays last year.

As far as the Middies defense, they return 7 starters, who all helped the team rank 40th last season in terms of the number of points they gave up per game (24.4 points).

Gone, though, are the team’s top two tacklers. On the other hand, they had three players record three interceptions each, and they’re all back. Chris Johnson, Parrish Gaines and Brendon Clements are all hoping to cause problems for the Buckeyes.

In addition, keep an eye on Paul Quessenberry. The defensive lineman has already earned two varsity letters, and he’s heavily motivated this season. His brother David was playing for the Houston Texans until just recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Finally, note that Navy returns both their punter and placekicker. So their special teams should be solid.

*In terms of penalties per game.

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With Ohio State football playing Navy this week, let us take a moment to revel in the glory of this highlight of a performance courtesy of Navy athletics.

That’s a pair of baseball playing Midshipmen lip-synching. This performance absolutely melts my heart.

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Whiteside Ready For The Scarlet and Gray

Navy has two players on their roster from Columbus, Ohio. Here’s an interview with one of them.

The Midshipmen also have a really nice story on Whiteside here.

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Ohio State Moving On After Miller Injury

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Statement From Ohio State on Braxton Miller

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller re-injured his right shoulder attempting a short pass in practice Monday and will miss the 2014 football season. Miller, who was not hit on the play, was in the process of returning from off-season surgery in February for an injury sustained in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. This latest injury will require surgery.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Braxton and his family,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “This is an unfortunate injury to a young man who means so much to this program and to Buckeye nation.”

“I love Ohio State and Buckeye nation, and my goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever,” Miller said. “I am on course to graduate in December and I want to attend graduate school, and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season. In the meantime, I want to give all the support I can to my coaches and teammates as they chase a championship this season.”

Miller, a communications major, did not practice this spring and had been limited by athletic trainers and coaches in the number of throws he was making this fall. Third-year sophomore Cardale Jones and red-shirt freshman J.T. Barrett took turns behind center with the No. 1 offense when Miller was not on the field.

Miller, who has yet to take a red-shirt season, entered his senior season with 5,292 career passing yards and 3,054 rushing yards to rank ninth and eighth, respectively, in school history and with the prospects of holding close to 20 school records. His 8,346 total yards and 84 touchdowns responsible for are each second in school annals. His 52 touchdown passes are fourth at Ohio State and just six from the school record.

Miller, 26-8 as a starting quarterback, also entered his senior season as a viable contender for all of the major national awards. His seven Big Ten Conference individual awards, including consecutive Chicago Tribune MVPs, Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year awards and Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year awards, are the most in conference history.

It was previously announced by Meyer on Saturday that Barrett, a 6-1, 225-pounder from Wichita Falls, Texas, had moved ahead of Jones for the No. 2 quarterback spot.

Jones, a 6-5, 250-pounder from Cleveland, is the only quarterback on the roster with any game experience. He played 39 snaps from scrimmage last season in games vs. Florida A&M, Penn State and Purdue. 

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