The Paul Finebaum Show is usually filled with football chatter, good humor and Finebaum trying to keep his callers from going crazy. This week, however, the show has served as a recruiting mechanism for Ohio State’s quarterback Braxton Miller. Paul Finebaum, a SEC Network analyst, started a commotion Tuesday when he said a source in Alabama told him that Miller is leaning toward coming to Tuscaloosa. Miller, a senior, was forced to take a medical redshirt last season after sustaining a shoulder injury in summer camp. He’s played in 36 games at Ohio State.
It’s very clear that Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban doesn’t care for rumors. He addressed the media about the situation in his time at the Crimson Caravan.
“I’m really not allowed to talk about any other player on any other team,” Saban said to BamaOnLine.com. “I know nothing about any such rumors, I don’t even know who you are talking about.”
In his response as to whether he would take in a graduate transfer, Saban said if there was somebody out there that could help our team, we have a spot or two available that we could probably–but it would have to be the right person in the right place that could make a contribution.
All this information has come on the heels of Alabama’s spring game last weekend. The Crimson Tide’s quarterbacks were intercepted six times. Saban has said all spring that he wants a player in the team’s five-man quarterback battle to grab the bull by the horns and take command. Saban may not mention verbally that he wants Miller, but he has to thinking about the possibilities.
Miller was a proven guy at Ohio State, prior to a shoulder injury. He compiled a 59.3 percent completion rating in three seasons. Miller totaled 5,292 passing yards with 54 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He was a force as a runner, accounting for 3,054 yards and 32 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (2012, 2013). He made All-Big Ten first-team twice (2012, 2013) and was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award in 2012. Miller was a member of Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl Championship and College Football Playoff national title team in the 2014 season. He was 28-8 as a starting quarterback.
Injuries and team chemistry are two things that could keep Saban from getting Miller.
Uncertainty lies in his mechanics, but has Miller healed up enough to be deadly as a passer? If Miller doesn’t come as a quarterback, will he have the mindset to contribute to Alabama at running back or receiver? These questions not only run through Saban’s mind, but also offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and others want to know as well.
Senior quarterback Jake Coker is finally starting to understand the system. He’s got to improve in some areas, but the potential is there. If Alabama was to bring in Miller, it would be a disservice to Coker and future quarterback prospects. Still, all Miller wants is a chance. He watched a Heisman opportunity and a chance to lead Ohio State to a national championship both slip away.
Ohio State returns J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones in the fall. With both quarterback battling, it leaves almost no room for Miller in the competition. The source that called into the Finebaum show could be on to something, but is a risk or reward?