By Matt McCoy
Listen To Urban Meyer's 8-20-14 Press Conference Here:
From Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer's perspective, the Buckeyes have handled the season ending injury to star quarterback Braxton Miller the right way. They've gone to work.
"When injury happens we lift (Miller) up, with prayer and just lift him up as a friend and a teammate and then you pick up the rifle and go as hard as you can possibly go," Meyer said. "That's the mentality here and if there's anything other than that mentality, that's when you have problems."
At least initially, there have been no problems. In fact Meyer called the Buckeyes Wednesday morning practice, "maybe the best practice we've had since our staff has been at Ohio State."
It's a definite change in the mood from Monday, when Miller suffered a torn labrum making a routine 7-yard throw.
"It was devastating. It was a bad deal," Meyer said. "I didn't see exactly what happened and I thought someone hit him. I went berserk, saying 'What happened?' (The coaching staff) looked at me and I said 'No one hit him?'"
No one did. Miller simply went down in pain after the throw. He has been limited in training camp with shoulder soreness. Miller had what was thought to be minor surgery on his right shoulder in February after it was injured in Ohio State's loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Miller, the two-time Big Ten M.V.P, was thought to be the key to the Buckeye season. Without him, you might think the expectations at Ohio State have changed. They haven't.
"The expectations are still the same," senior defensive back Doran Grant said. "We're the Ohio State Buckeyes. We're going to move forward and get it going."
They're moving forward with redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett at quarterback. He's expected to be the starter now that Miller is on the shelf. Cardale Jones will be his back-up, though Meyer said he is not opposed to playing two quarterbacks.
Barrett has yet to throw collegiate pass, but he has won over his teammates.
"He's a great leader. He's super smart and a hard worker," tight end Jeff Heuerman said. "I think everyone looked up to him before (the Miller injury) even happened."
Meyer called Barrett "Guiton-ish," referring to now graduated Buckeye quarterback Kenny Guiton, who starred when he filled in for an injured Miller last year, winning a national player of the week award following Ohio State's 52-37 win over Cal.
Exactly how Barrett will perform is the great unknown. What is known is he has big shoes to fill.
"It's no secret or anything, (Braxton) is probably one of the most explosive players to every play this game, especially here at Ohio State," Heuerman said. "We're not naive to that. We're going to have to make up some ground but we have the players and the coaching staff that we can do that."