Urban Meyer: Braxton Miller on track to start season opener

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When Ohio State takes the field for its season opener against Navy, the Buckeyes expect to have a familiar face under center in Braxton Miller.

That might not come as a surprise to most, but there was some doubt as to whether the star signal-caller would be 100 percent after going through offseason shoulder surgery.

"We're being very cautious. He's right on schedule," Meyer told reporters on Sunday after practice. "If the game was tomorrow, we'd be very cautious with Braxton. But we have three weeks."

That echoes much of what Meyer told reporters at Big Ten Media Days last month about his quarterback, but it suggests Miller might be just a bit ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Miller made the decision to return to Columbus for another season instead of declaring early for the NFL draft and had surgery in February that kept him out of the Buckeyes' spring practice. He has been rehabbing ever since and has progressed from throwing a tennis ball to throwing the football the past few months.

However, as part of the cautious approach the team is taking with the quarterback, Meyer limited Miller's on-field throws and kept him out of the team's scrimmage on Saturday as he battled a sore arm.

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound Miller heads into the 2014 season as a Heisman Trophy candidate after throwing for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns last season while also rushing for an additional 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Meyer has previously suggested that Miller is "close" to becoming a top quarterback prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft and, while there's no denying his playmaking abilities, that might be a tall mountain to climb for the dual-threat player. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks called Miller a long shot to develop into an elite passer and potential first-round pick because of the quarterback's lack of accuracy and pocket instincts.

Still, it has to be encouraging to Buckeyes coaches and fans to hear that Miller is at least on track to be 100 percent for the team's opener against the Midshipmen.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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