OSU Coaching Staff Faced Moment of Crisis with Miller vs. Northwestern
By John Porentas
That moment had arrived in the Northwestern game, the one in which the OSU coaching staff had to make a decision.
puts the ball on the ground against Northwestern.
Photo by Dan Harker
Braxton Miller had turned the ball over three times, and the OSU offense was not exactly a thing of beauty when they actually did hold on to the football. Miller was struggling, and the OSU coaching staff had to make a decision on whether to stay with Miller or call on Kenny Guiton.
"Ultimately it's the head coaches decision with input from myself," said OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
"He asked if we should get Kenny ready, and I said yes, we should get him ready. Beyond that that was the last of the discussion really. I think Coach Meyer then said 'Hey, Braxton's going in,' and I said good, I think that's the right thing to do."
Miller went on to guide the Buckeyes to a fourth-quarter rally for the win over the Wildcats, but there had been a moment when things might have gone another way. Herman says he would not have had any problem with a switch, even if it meant stepping on the toes of Miller. That, said Herman, would not be part of the decision making process.
"Not that that moment, no," he said.
"I think you deal with those after if that decision was made (to bring in Kenny Guiton). You deal with anything that comes of that after, but at that moment we have one responsibility and that's to win the football game. You take care of that responsibility and then you deal with anything after that."
Herman is comfortable with that position because he feels he has developed a strong relationship with Miller.
"I think it's really good now," he said.
"I think it's taken a long time to get to the level where we're at. I think every relationship is a work in progress...if my wife is listening...but every relationship is a work in progress.
"You're never where you probably want to be, so it was hard at first. Like I said before, I was his fourth coordinator in four years or whatever it might have been, so it's a give and take in terms of trust. I earned his trust and he earned mine. Slowly but surely that starts to snowball."
That relationship allowed Herman to think about the situation in Evanston without having to add an outside consideration about Miller's feelings. In the end, he liked what he was seeing out of Miller despite his mistakes.
"The interception was certainly no fault of his but it still goes down in the stat book as an interception for him," said Herman.
"The fumbles were a concern obviously.
"I think he missed a couple of reads early, but nothing terrible. He was playing hard.
"The thing I was most proud of was every coach on the sideline was telling me that his demeanor was great and he had his chin up and he was still talking and he was still active and involved and he as great with me on the headset.
"That told me that we had crossed at least one hurdle from maybe last year where he was in terms of when things started to go south a little bit.
"His demeanor would change and he would wear his emotions on his sleeve.
"I think he did an excellent job of keeping his chin up, keeping his chest out and making sure that his teammates around him understood that 'Hey, I screwed up guys, I screwed up and I'll get it back. We'll be all right."