Conventional wisdom is that the season-ending injury for quarterback Braxton Miller means Ohio State is in for a rougher-than-expected season, and while coach Urban Meyer said the team was devastated when the injury occurred Monday, he also said he remains confident about the Buckeyes.
"I still like our team, and after today's practice, I really, really like our team," he said Wednesday at a news conference.
He did call Miller's loss "a huge test."
"Injuries happen during the course of football," Meyer said. "This is a tough one."
Miller said Tuesday he plans to return for the 2015 season as a fifth-year senior, and Meyer said he has been told Miller's recovery time will be between nine and 12 months.
"Braxton's demeanor is better than I thought," said Meyer, who also said he didn't know when Miller would have surgery.
Miller's elusiveness made him a great fit for Meyer's run-heavy version of the spread, and Meyer was asked if Miller's injury will lead to some offensive changes. "That's to be determined," he answered. "And if I knew it, I probably wouldn't tell you anyway."
Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) is first in line to replace Miller, and Meyer said his "initial evaluation of J.T. is that he's very good" at spreading the ball around. Meyer also said sophomore Cardale Jones (6-5, 250), who had been vying with Barrett for the backup job, could see time.
Neither has Miller's playmaking ability; the flipside is that Ohio State's running backs and receivers will get more opportunities to be playmakers this season. The issue there is that there is no clear-cut feature back and that the top receivers have been rather underwhelming in their careers.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com sports business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted that while Miller did have $1 million in disability insurance -- which would pay out if he never plays again -- he did not have loss-of-value insurance. Loss-of-value insurance pays out if an injury or illness causes a policy-holder to fall precipitously in a draft.