Ohio State counting on improved leadership from Braxton Miller

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CHICAGO -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer wants to know if his quarterback, Braxton Miller, is ready to be the undisputed leader of his team.

We all know Miller has the talent -- Miller was fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season after racking up a school-record 3,310 yards of total offense -- and Meyer said Wednesday at Big Ten media days that he has seen Braxton grow as a leader.

The Buckeyes' coach wants to see more, though.

Reporters were told by Meyer that they would have to check back with him after practices begin in August for an answer on whether Miller is ready to take total ownership of the team.

"The job of a quarterback, especially in college football, is to organize and take control of their program," Meyer said. "... To be able to be a functional throwing football player, like an Alex Smith, like a Tim Tebow, like Chris Leak -- like those guys -- you have to take control of the whole situation. (Miller) didn't do that the year before. He wasn't experienced at it. I'll tell you once I get him (at practice) in August (if he's ready)."

Some may, let's say, quibble with Meyer's assertion about Tebow's functionality as a passer, and Buckeyes senior offensive lineman Jack Mewhort might question whether there is any gray area about Miller's readiness to take control.

From Mewhort's perspective, Miller is going to be up to the task.

"He's grown into an incredible leader," Mewhort said. "I knew him when he first got here and he was quiet. Never said a word. You'll catch him these days grabbing guys by the collar. Imposing his will on them, if you will. It's been really cool to see him grow up. I'm really proud of him. He's working harder than I've ever seen him work. I've seen some really impressive stuff (from him)."

Miller said a leadership class Buckeyes players take every Tuesday has been very helpful for him.

"We watch videos," Miller said. "We hear people talk. Different people on the team talk. It helps a lot. I feel like I'm growing into the leader I should be."

While he has accomplished much in a short period of time, Miller is still only just beginning his junior season, and learning to lead could be something he will still be working through when the 2013 season gets underway.

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