Ohio State Spring Game: Braxton Miller Shows Improved Passing in Exhibition

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2013

Apr 13, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Scarlet team quarterback Braxton Miller (5) warms up before the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Although spring games are usually more about a team's depth than it is about their stars, Braxton Miller was impressive in Ohio State's matchup between Scarlet and Gray. 

Last season, Miller was absolutely incredible for the Buckeyes. The quarterback led his squad to a 12-0 record behind his impressive dual-threat abilities.

As a sophomore, he finished third in the nation among quarterbacks with 1,271 rushing yards while also adding 13 touchdowns. Just imagine what he could have accomplished if his team was able to play in the Big Ten Championship Game and a bowl game.

Miller struggled at times as a passer, though. He finished with only 2,039 yards through the air, and his efficiency rating of 140.5 ranked 44th in the country. His completion percentage of 58.3 percent was also relatively weak.

The good news is that it seems Miller has been working on his throws during the offseason. In the spring game, he appeared to be a much better passer.

In the first half, the quarterback threw two nice touchdown passes to put his side on top. The first was a 20-yard throw to Devin Smith, with the other being shorter but more difficult to Corey Brown in the end zone.

Overall, he completed 16-of-25 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He was throwing down the field with a great deal of consistency, and he avoided any poor mistakes that could have led to turnovers.

Most importantly, his accuracy at 64 percent is a nice goal for Miller in the upcoming season.

He only topped that mark in three games last season, but it would make the entire offense much more dangerous if he could hit that mark on a regular basis. Of course, the stats in this exhibition game do not mean everything in that he was going against his own team.

However, the Gray defense was very aggressive throughout the contest.

The entire unit was able to continually get into the backfield and cause the quarterback to make some rushed decisions.

By the end of the game, Miller suffered seven "sacks" by the opposing defense (any touch on the quarterback counts as a sack).

These sacks should not be anything for people to worry about offensively, as the quarterback has shown a unique ability to scramble and break tackles in real games. However, this also shows that this game was not exactly a walk in the park.

Miller took on an aggressive defensive front and still did extremely well as a passer. This is a very good sign for a player who is already dominant as a rusher. 

If he can utilize these two skills to the most of his ability, he will be very tough to defend next season. 

Note: All spring game stats courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com.