How Does the Braxton Miller Position Change affect the Hokies Game plan?


Well Hokie fans if you are anything like me, you are just itching for some college football.  It has been a long off season of waiting for the beginning of the 2015 Virginia Tech season.  The 2015 season does start off with a bang, as in just a little over a month the Hokies welcome into Lane Stadium the defending national champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes.  This is a game both Hokie fans and Buckeye fans have had circled on their respective calendars since their last matchup.

Both teams have the game marked for different reasons.  The Buckeyes are looking to avenge their only loss in a championship season, a loss which many believed would keep them out of the inaugural college football playoff.  The Hokies however, are looking to prove the win was not a fluke, and they are significantly better than their record last year showed.

The Hokies and the Buckeyes both have questions coming into the game, as well as the season.  Both teams have questions at the quarterback position, but for different reasons.  The Hokies quarterback situation is a question of who can get the job done under center.  The Buckeyes however, have three quarterbacks that had great success as the signal caller.  Until last week there was a possibility that either Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones would be the starter when the Buckeyes traveled to Blacksburg.  However, last week came the announcement that two time Big Ten Offensive player of the year, Braxton Miller, was changing positions to wide receiver.

Well Hokie fans the question of the day and for the next month plus, will be how this move will effect Bud Foster’s defensive gameplan?  Let’s be honest Hokie fans this announcement creates some interesting problems for Bud to solve, however it does cut the number of quarterbacks the defense will need to prepare for down by one.  Last year the Hokies faced J.T. Barrett so defensive veterans such as Kendall Fuller, Luther Maddy, and Dadi Nicolas are aware of his elusiveness as well as his arm strength.  Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones would have been different animals for the defense.

With Braxton Miller moving to wide receiver the Hokies must now worry about figuring out Cardale Jones if head coach Urban Meyer decides to go with the quarterback, who led the Buckeyes through the college football playoff.  In my opinion it will be J.T. Barrett who will get the start for the Buckeyes, however I would not be surprised at all if Jones makes an appearance during the game.

Now we have the question how will Braxton Miller be used.  There is no question Miller is an exceptional athlete.  Miller also has the height and speed most coaches covet at an outside receiver.  The only problem I foresee with this transition is his ability to do the little things receivers who have played the position for years do as a second nature.  Miller will have to learn the proper way to run routes and separate from the defensive coverage.  Miller being a quarterback will have a decent idea about the route tree, which should help his transition.

The beautiful thing about Miller moving to wide receiver from a defensive standpoint, is you don’t have to put your best cover guy on him.  However, with is athletic ability and the fact he was a former quarterback whoever is covering him will have to be extremely disciplined and a stellar tackler.  The defense as a whole will have to aware when Braxton Miller is on the field and where his is lined up for the simple reason trick plays are going to be an almost guarantee from the Buckeyes.  Bud Foster usually has a very disciplined group playing for him.  I would bet the defense will have discipline and sure tackling stressed to them in the weeks prior to September 7th.

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The College football season represents a new opportunity for teams.  This is true for the Hokies and the Buckeyes.  It is also a new opportunity for Braxton Miller.  Hopefully the Hokies will be able to spoil this opportunity for Miller.  One thing for sure September 7th Blacksburg will be rocking and the majority of the country will watching to see if Bud Foster’s defense can hold the newly minted Buckeye receiver in check, along with his other offensive counter parts.