Meyer knows just the guy to help take OSU’s Miller to the next level …

By Doug Lesmerises

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Urban Meyer has just the guy to help take Braxton Miller to the next level as a quarterback.

Tim Tebow, Meyer’s former quarterback at Florida, already has talked with Miller, Meyer’s current quarterback at Ohio State, on the phone a bit and exchanged some texts. Tebow has enough interest in the Buckeyes that he was tracking Ohio State’s game against Purdue two weeks ago as his New York Jets team headed to the airport and then boarded their flight to New England.

“I was pretty nervous,” Tebow said. “We were literally taking off as they were about to score and then go for the two-point conversion, so I didn’t know until we landed that they won. So it was pretty cool. And I guess as hard as it is for me to say, I am a pretty big fan now of The Ohio State University.”

“I think I got him a shirt,” Meyer said with a smile.

So Tebow remains tight with his old coach.

“I talk to him at least once a week,” Meyer said. “We plan on getting together in the off-season. It’s family. There can’t be a better relationship.”

Meyer plans to use it. His old quarterback and new quarterback know each other a bit, but ...

“In the off-season, I want it more,” Meyer said. “It’s so hard when they’re busy during the season. And Braxton is still figuring out how things work. But I would love for those guys to get face-to-face, even train a little bit together, work out together. Tim is so busy, but I’m going to push for that to happen real hard.”

Tebow, the 25th pick of the 2010 NFL draft, admitted a Columbus trip could be in his off-season itinerary. And it’s not hard to see why Meyer thinks it’s so important.

“Tim’s greatest strength is something Braxton needs to work on,” Meyer said. “Tim is the ultimate competitor, the ultimate grinder. There is no harder-working guy. He’s just non-stop. His whole life was nothing but be in the office, study football, go out and practice. And that’s it. And Braxton is getting better. But to be a Heisman-type player, to be a first-round draft pick, especially at that position, the amount of time you need to commit to your trade is off the charts.”

At some point, Meyer and Miller may get to the point where Meyer and Tebow are now.

“It was pretty special,” Meyer said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever spent that much time — that was at least eight, nine hours a day, and I’ve never had that. But I’ve had great relationships, and Braxton and I are starting one. We’re still in the early phases of it.”

Tebow spoke about Meyer, Miller and what it’s like now watching the Buckeyes:

Q. What’s your relationship like with Coach Meyer now?

A. My relationship is great with Coach Meyer, we’re still really close. We talked two nights ago and we talk before most of his games. I always try to watch and make sure that they’re doing good.

Q. Was it a little weird for you in the beginning to see Coach Meyer coaching a team other than the Gators, or did you get used to it pretty quickly?

A. Not really. I was pretty used to it. Him being out of coaching for a year, I know it was nice for him and his family, but at the same time I knew he was itching to get back into it. And Ohio State is a great job and Coach Meyer is going to do such great things there at Ohio State, and he already is. They’re having a great season and he still doesn’t even have all his players there. Not to say the ones they have aren’t great players, but he’s going to continue to get players that fit his system, and it’s going to be really exciting to see what he does.

Q. You said you’ve talked with Braxton on the phone. What kind of advice have you given him or would you give him in being a quarterback being developed by Urban Meyer?

A. I think he obviously has the incredible tools. I think it’s just constantly being a student of the game and pushing yourself mentally and continuing to push the envelope with what Coach Meyer always calls competitive excellence. And that starts with how you prepare your offense in the meeting room, how you study, how you learn film, how you prepare yourself. Because Coach Meyer is going to have great game plans, he’s going to put you in situations for you to play to your strengths. So I think his biggest challenge is No. 1, leadership. I think No. 2, poise, because he’s going to be in a lot of big games. And they’re going to keep winning, and that means the games are just going to get even bigger. And so in big situations, he’s got to either have ice water in his veins, just have a calm presence about him, or sometimes it’s going to take that fiery presence. And I think you have to learn your teammates and learn your team and know when to be what player.

Q. What is your impression of Braxton, both in the conversations you’ve had with him and just watching on TV or watching highlights? What do you think of him as a quarterback and as a kid?

A. Well, I think he’s a great kid. Just from my little time of talking and texting with him I feel like he’s a great kid. I feel like he loves playing the game of football, and I feel like he’s a competitor. Everything Coach has told me has been great about him as well. I would just encourage him to not get complacent and not take things for granted, because in several of these wins, if something happens differently, they might lose one of them.

Q. I think there are still some fans, maybe not that many, but some Florida fans who are still a little upset about Meyer leaving or how he left or the fact that he’s somewhere else now. What would you say to fans who are excited about their team but aren’t sure about how they should think of Meyer these days?

A. I think they should be proud of Coach Meyer and be thankful for what he did there at Florida. He was there at the right time, and he had to move on and do what was best for him physically, for his family and for his health. And if they’re fans of his, and they care more about him than they did just about the games, then I think they can understand that.

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