4Q's With the Enemy : Ohio State

Can Braxton Miller Show Sophomore Improvement?

This year Miami (OH) fans will get to know their opponent a little better than ever before by infiltrating enemy territory and getting 4 Questions answered by publishers from opposing Scout team sites. This week, Jeff Svoboda from the Buckeye Sports Bulletin was nice enough to answer our inquiries.

What are OSU's expectations for the 2012 season? How will the fan base define success after such a dramatic offseason and the postseason ban in place?

-I'd say expectations are pretty varied. Some people expect Ohio State to go 12-0, but that's because it's Ohio State and that happens every year. But I think most fans would be happy to see the team simply improve from last year's 6-7 team and show some new things on offense. Obviously, Jim Tressel was wildly successful, but his offensive game plans didn't exactly wow people at times, and it showed on the stat sheet. Meyer is known for putting a ton of points on the board wherever he goes. His talk of a no-huddle attack and aggressive play-calling have OSU fans really champing at the bit to see it all in action. As long as you get some point explosions, I think the fans will understand a loss here and there.

Urban Meyer was a hated nemesis for OSU fans just 3 years ago. What has the transition been like for players and fans?

-Well, people tend to forget pretty quickly. Having a guy who is from Ohio and owns two national championship rings walk through the door pretty much overwhelms a lot of the bad feelings of the fact that one of those titles was won against OSU. It's been a huge love affair from the fans, as shirts that say things like "Urban Era" and "Urban Nation" have been all over the place.His straight talk with the fans has also seemingly won a lot of admirers as well. As for the players, I think it was quite a shock to the system when Meyer took over. He demands "competitive excellence" at all times, and the players are strictly graded not just on the field but off in the weight room and the classroom. The practices have also been a lot more intense and up-tempo. It has been quite an adjustment but a lot of players have clearly embraced it.

Braxton Miller has shown flashes of brilliance. Can he develop into the championship leader that puts OSU over the edge?

-That really is the million dollar question for this team. Miller came to OSU as a five-star prospect and was thought to be a pretty developed passer for a dual-threat high school QB, but he didn't look like it at times last year. He's also a very quiet kid. The coaching staff's first goal was to develop him as a leader this year, trying to get him more vocal and more at the forefront, especially when it came to organizing offseason workouts and stuff. On the field, this system looks well-suited to his skills, and players have been raving about his progress, but we still have to see it in action.

For Miami to compete in this game, the RedHawks are going to need to exploit what weakness on the Buckeye squad?

-It will be interesting to see how the Miami pass attack matches up against OSU. I think the RedHawks will have to run it some to keep the Buckeyes honest -- something it seems Miami didn't do last year -- but Ohio State's pass defense last year wasn't all that great. There wasn't a great pass rush at all, and the entire secondary was made up of first-year starters. The Buckeyes really want to see improvement in this areas this year, so Miami should provide a test with the Zac Dysert to Nick Harwell connection. Ohio State's wideouts are still totally unproven, too, so maybe someone like Dayonne Nunley can help MU keep the OSU passing attack bottled up.

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