In spring practice, a star quarterback might as well be surrounded by the Queen's Guard and an electric fence. His black jersey means touch him at your scholarship's risk.
So it was Tuesday that an otherwise ordinary scrimmage in the Ohio State indoor facility got interesting when junior quarterback Braxton Miller took a shot from defensive end Noah Spence on an option pitch. Miller remained on the ground for about a minute, then stalked toward a huddle of defensive players to make his displeasure clear. A few offensive teammates followed to restrain him.
It's mostly a non-story. Coach Urban Meyer said Miller, who tweaked a sore rib, was "fine" while the run-in never would have came to light if hadn't happened on one of the few days reporters were allowed to watch practice. Publicly, Meyer also made clear he had little problem with a hit made in the heat of competition as long as there was no ill intent.
But you have to wonder what really shot through his mind as he saw the team's most indispensable piece crash to the turf. Meyer said he appreciated — sort of — that Miller didn't back down.
“I like quarterbacks that want to go get in a street fight and get after it,” he said. “That’s not probably the time to do it, but he’s a competitor. So you're asking what kind of reaction would I want out of a quarterback? I didn't really see what happened, but Braxton is a competitor. I guess that's better than the opposite of just curling up and [saying], 'Why did he hit me?'"