By Matt McCoy
To hear 610 WTVN & Big Ten Network football analyst Stan Jackson react with Joel Riley to Braxton Miller's return and Mike Vrabel's departure click here:
The expected announcement Thursday night was good news for the football Buckeyes. The unexpected one was not.
What was first reported last weekend, junior quarterback Braxton Miller made official, announcing that he was returning to Ohio State for his senior year.
"I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in a statement released by Ohio State. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game. I’m looking forward to working for another year with Coach Meyer and Coach Herman. And I want to graduate, so this will help get me closer to my academic goal.”
Miller will likely rewrite Ohio State's record book. He is on the verge of setting Buckeye career records in total offense, touchdown passes, total touchdowns and passing yardage, just to name a few.
"You think about this team, you won 24 straight games and you have nothing to show for it...that's a reason to have a chip on your shoulder and I'm very excited about him coming back," 610 WTVN football analyst Stan Jackson said on the Joel Riley show Friday morning. "What he has to learn this off-season is how to throw the football...when to put touch on it, when to throw a soft pass versus a hard pass. (Right now) he's always trying to throw the ball hard."
Miller has won the Silver Football as the Big 10 MVP for two consecutive seasons. No one has ever won it three years in a row.
"If he can be consistent this year with delivering the ball, not throwing interceptions and not get hurt, he ought to win the Heisman," Jackson said.
Vrabel Leaving Ohio State For NFL Job
While Miller's return was expected, the news that former Buckeye and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel was leaving was not.
Vrabel, who came to Ohio State following a long and successful career as an NFL player, is headed back to the pros to become an assistant coach with the Houston Texans. He will coach linebackers under new Texans coach Bill O'Brien, who recently took the job after two years at Penn State. WTVN first reported the news Thursday afternoon and Vrabel himself confirmed it on Twitter with the following:
"I am thankful for everyone assoc with TOSU for 3 great years and my family and I are excited to join the Houston Texans as the LB coach."
"Coach Vrabel not coming back is a big loss," Jackson said. "When you look at (Ohio State's) defense, a defense that was much maligned and struggled this year, the best part of that defense was the defensive front."
Vrabel began his stint on the Buckeye staff as linebackers coach under then interim coach Luke Fickell. He was retained when Urban Meyer became head coach and has coached the Buckeye defensive line the past two seasons. Meyer frequently praised Vrabel for the work he did both as a coach and a recruiter.
His move to Houston with O'Brien makes some sense. During the final two seasons of Vrabel's playing career with the New England Patriots, O'Brien was the team's offensive coordinator.
Vrabel is the second defensive assistant to leave Ohio State this off season. Safties coach and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers left to become head coach at James Madison University.