Miller time

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

It was already brutal enough for LSU fans to watch from afar as Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller decided to stay in Columbus.

The view has just gotten tougher to digest.

Not only did Miller dash the dreams of the Tiger faithful when he decided not to transfer, but because of the embarrassment of riches the Buckeyes have at quarterback, he will now transition to wide receiver.

Yes, a guy that was under center for three years and was widely considered one of the best QBs in the country has now been forced to change positions.

That has LSU fans staring off in a daze, mumbling "what if" and "it could have been different" to themselves as they watch the dreadful highlights of last year's production at quarterback.

"What if?" That's a valid question.

What if Miller did in fact transfer to LSU as some predicted he would? Would he be forced to transition to wide receiver?

I think it's a pretty easy question to answer: no.

However, there is a question that is still looming, and that question is much more difficult to answer.

What is more beneficial to Miller, transferring to LSU and most likely becoming the starting QB or staying at Ohio State and moving to receiver?

In my opinion, the former is the best option for him in the short term. But when it comes to Miller's long-term future, his decision to stay in Columbus is probably his best option.

Everyone knows about LSU's woes at quarterback.

Anthony Jennings' inaccuracy was a problem all season long, and it was clear that Brandon Harris was still too young and inexperienced to lead the offense.

During the summer, Jennings was arrested for unlawful entry and suspended indefinitely.

So, Tiger fans were wishing, hoping, planning and dreaming that a savior would come along to save them from this nightmare.

They hoped Miller would be that savior.

After sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury last summer, Miller was forced to sit out the entire 2014-15 season. While he was gone, true freshman replacement J.T. Barrett became a Heisman contender.

When Barrett got injured in the final game of the regular season, Cardale Jones stepped in and led the Buckeyes to the national title.

As a result, the backfield has become awfully crowded in Columbus. Having to compete against Jones and Barrett for the starting spot, it was widely speculated that Miller would transfer.

Because he graduated during the spring, he would have been able to play immediately.

Like many LSU fans, I got my hopes up, especially after the rumors started trickling in that he would make his way to Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, it never happened.

Miller decided to stay put.

If he had transferred, I think it's pretty safe to say he would have been the Tigers' starter at quarterback heading into the opener against McNeese State.

Over the years, LSU has had quarterbacks that have been able to run the ball effectively, but they've never had a QB quite like Miller.

His speed and agility rivals that of a running back. Oh yeah, he can actually throw the ball - and very well, I might add.

With Miller staying put and changing positions, it seems like a counter-productive decision, but it's actually smart when taking his future into account.

Miller is a tremendous athlete. He is a tremendous college quarterback.

Will his style translate to the NFL? Probably not.

We've seen many great college quarterbacks that were cut from the same cloth, and they just couldn't survive in the league.

I think Miller knows this. If he was confident in his abilities carrying over to the NFL, he would have entered the draft after his huge junior campaign. He didn't.

He knows that a change was going to come sooner or later. This is almost like his preemptive strike.

Instead of waiting to change positions when he's already in the league, he'll now have a whole year to make the transition and hone his skills.

Playing receiver at Ohio State and having a future pro like Cradle Jones throwing you the ball, that's a heck of a crash course.

Miller is a special athlete. Of course, there will be a learning curve, but I think he'll flourish.

I think he'll get better as the season progresses and by the time he makes an NFL roster as a receiver, we'll forget he was ever a quarterback.

This kind of thing worked out pretty well for Antwaan Randle El, Julien Edelman, Brad Smith and Josh Cribbs.