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Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE Meyer to listen to Urban Meyer's season wrap up press conference**
Braxton Miller finished 2012 with 3,310 yards of total offense, an Ohio State single season record. He accounted for 28 touchdowns (13 rushing, 15 passing) and led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record. But at Monday's season wrap up press conference, coach Urban Meyer made it clear...Miller can be a lot better.
"I still have no idea where his ceiling is," Meyer said. "Pocket awarness and just the fundamentals of throwing the ball, I don't see a ceiling yet. He has that much further to go."
That's not to say Miller didn't develop. Meyer said his quarterback's growth was "exponential," especially in the area of leadership and "running the show" on offense. But Meyer sees so much more, laying down a challenge for not only Miller, but quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
"Our quarterback fundamentally wasn't the best funademental quarterback in America so Tom Herman and I are going to have a chat, why didn't that happen?," Meyer said. "That's his job to explain to me why that didn't happen. This is big boy football and that's your job. He did great work in other areas. Tom Herman did a fabulous job but Tom Herman and Braxton Miller understand that they have to get better. Braxton, if he becomes fundamentally the best quarterback in America, I think he will be the best quarterback in America. It will be comical what he'll do."
Miller's passing statistics, from freshman to sophomore year improved dramatically. In the same number of games, Miller threw for 2,039 yards this season, 880 more than a year ago and his completion percentage was up to 58.3 percent. It was only 54 percent last year...but Meyer said he would give the overall pass game only a C-minus. To improve on that grade, Meyer said it's up to Miller and his receivers.
"I'm very disappointed in just the whole approach we had," Meyer said. "It's so hard because the coaching staff isn't allowed to throw with these guys until spring practice so it all falls on the players. It probably was the most unprepared group I've ever been around as far as to throw the ball from here to there and know how to get there to catch it. It was awful. Those areas have improved but we're still not very good at that."
Dating back to last winter, and from day one of the spring and in fall camp, Meyer wanted his 2012 Buckeyes to be an angry football team. Mission accomplished. Unable to go to a bowl game, the Buckeyes had an edge that helped them finish 12-0. The bowl ban is gone next year, but Meyer hopes the anger is not.
"We're going to try to push the right buttons to get an angry team (again)," Meyer said. "If they're not angry and (are) complacent, this team is average as dirt. If you don't have a chip on your shoulder, you lose...You see it across the country. There's teams that are highly ranked and have a bunch of NFL prospects and they're losing 3, 4, 5 or 6 games. It's because you have a team that doesn't have an edge, so that's what we're going to have to watch."
Meyer didn't mention them by name, but you have to wonder if USC isn't on his mind. The Trojans were on NCAA probabtion last year, went 10-2 and finished in the top 5. They were preseason number one, with a Heisman trophy candidate at quarterback but finished just 7-5, losing four of their last five games.
How good are they?
As he did after Saturday's win over Michigan, Meyer again said he believes the 12-0 Buckeyes could play with any team in the country.
"Five weeks ago if you'd have said tell me about your AP (rank) I would have said, 'we better learn how to tackle...we better learn how to leverege the ball a little bit better, we were playing a fullback (Zach Boren) at linebacker," Meyer said. "Well guess what, that fullback is pretty good now. We're tackling very well. Our special teams...we couldn't get a punt off...but all of the sudden (Saturday) that punt team netted 44 (yards) so I would just say this team has grown to the point where it can play with any team in the country."
Kudos to Fickell
Meyer admitted he was concerned about the defense and coordinator Luke Fickell midway through the season.
"I did have the same concerns that probably every person in America watching our defense had...but I'm one of those guys who gets concerned about everything," Meyer said. "You could see the steady growth our defense staff...I felt the comfort level of Everett Withers and Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel...so I'm very pleased with the way the last half of the season went, especially on defense."
Meyer later said he has no plans to make any coaching staff changes, on offense or defense.
Meyer nabbed by the red light cam
When Meyer took the job as Ohio State head coach, he talked about the contract that his daughters drew up, requiring him to be more involved in the family. One year later, Meyer said he was successful in striking the proper balance between his football life and his home life...even if it did cost him a few bucks.
"I'll give you an example. Every Sunday I busted out of here at noon to watch my son play football...that would have never happened (before)," Meyer said. "I saw that (contract) sitting there and I knew that there would be heck to pay if it got back to some people. I got two running stoplight tickets too, because I was late for one (game.)"
When reporters asked if an officer actually gave him a ticket, he continued.
"It's the camera things," Meyer said. "(The ticket) showed up and I thought..because I let guys use my car and I thought, 'that son of a gun got a ticket and didn't tell me about it,' but then I looked at it and it September whatever it was on a Sunday at 12:30 when I was 15 minutes late and getting texts from my wife saying 'you'd better get here,' so I went through a couple red lights. That's 50 bucks. It's worth it whatever it is. Great stories isn't it?"