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THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: LET'S BITE ON A RUMOR ABOUT BRAXTON MILLER

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THE LAST THING YOU SHOULD DO IS RUMORMONGERING, BUT IT'S THE LAST PART OF THE DAY SO LET'S GO

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

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It's April and the last thing we should do is indulge rumors. It's creeping up on 5:00 p.m., so let's do that last thing, bite hard on a silly rumor, and happily play thought experiment for a minute.

Let's say Lane Kiffin got his hands on a Braxton Miller. Let's say Lane Kiffin then got the keys to a scrambling genius whose primary football school ran a spread offense. Let's just say Lane Kiffin then sought to take this dynamic talent and turn them into a pocket passer. Let's remind you that Lane Kiffin passed on Tajh Boyd and Bryce Petty when he was at Tennessee, and has a tendency to lean on the more stationary Kesslers and Barkleys of the world when it comes to QB play.

But Blake Sims. Here's where this gets weird. Lane Kiffin won't get enough credit for being someone capable of getting nearly anyone to play quarterback effectively at some level. We point to the ghost of Jonathan Crompton. It's right over there. That may actually be the real Jonathan Crompton, but don't look at it--you don't want to know the answer to that, or to why he's taking a pillow and blanket into your attic for the night. Just leave a six-pack of Cheerwine and a pack of beef jerky by the ladder, and no one will have to have any awkward discussions.

Blake Sims wasn't a statue, but don't act like he was Miller, or designed to be a frequent run threat in Kiffin's offense. He ran about six times a game, and presented his run threat more out of bootlegs and rollouts and all the other super-annoying tweaks Alabama uses in their offense to present a quarterback run threat. It's old-school at this point, West Coast Offense business from the 1980s, and that's not a bad thing. It's just what they do well, and that's the most important thing in coaching an offense in limited practice time: sticking to what you can teach, teach well, and execute with a minimum of mistakes.

That's probably what Braxton Miller would be limited to in the run game in that system. That kind of relative stodginess does two things Miller could benefit from: limiting contact, and forcing him to make reads he might not be making in his current offense. Wherever Miller's hypothetical transfer trajectory sends him, he's got to land somewhere where he won't willingly take as many brutal hits. Miller is already a legend of sorts, joining Rudy Carpenter and Bradlee Van Pelt in the Hall Of I Can't Believe A Body Part Has Not Fallen Off His Body Mid-Game. And as different as the Meyer offense is now (way more hurry-up than when he was at Florida and Utah, for instance,) the passing game is still relatively simple compared to some of the reads and schemes Lane Kiffin uses. (Particularly the shifts, which Kiffin luuuurves.)

Miller has run out of a lot of trouble as a rusher. He has also inadvertently thrown himself directly into the grill of an oncoming safety so many times that in 2013 when Twitter rang out with "Oh no" from Ohio State fans, we knew with a 95% certainty that chorus meant Braxton Miller had just gone down with a contact-related injury. He missed 2014 with a shoulder injury. A throwing injury was the diagnosis for his 2014-ending injury, but even if you're not skeptical of official reports you have to agree that maaaaaaybe running boldly through traffic wouldn't help an ailing throwing shoulder.

(Feel free to disagree if you're drunk right now. Otherwise, it's a given we're just gonna agree on for you.)

He also would get a look at a much more traditional kind of offense if he did end up at Alabama, and get it from someone who is (and we stand by this to the death) very, very good at a particular kind of job. Lane Kiffin does what he does very well, and as baffling as his play-calling can be, he gets good, efficient performance out of his quarterbacks while teaching them a system closer to to what they'll see in the NFL than in most college offenses.

That is not a criticism of Ohio State's offense, but rather a respectful nod to the Russell Wilson Career Success Plan. Most pro offenses at this point incorporate so much shotgun set passing and--gasp!--the occasional zone read that the term pro-style itself is probably a misnomer. (A lot of coaches would certainly agree on this, using "pro style" as more of an indicator of complexity than anything else.)

If Braxton Miller ends up going to Lane Kiffin for some light grad school research, it's a great thing all around for both schools. Alabama gets to make the rare claim of developing a QB, and giving a QB yet another system to put in his résumé. Ohio State gets to make the claim that even if you have to transfer due to an embarrassment of riches, you'll probably still end up playing at Alabama.

Case in point: Tim Tebow, despite all the punishment he sought out, required a minimal amount of injury time in his career. His backup was forced to look elsewhere, and that's how Cam Newton eventually wandered his way to Auburn, a national title, and a large NFL contract. It's a bold recruiting tactic, but one you can embrace on the fly: Come play for me. Even my mistakes get paid.*

*See also: Jimbo Fisher, and his magical ability to get anyone an NFL contract. Note: performance after signing huge NFL contract NOT GUARANTEED, NO MONEY BACK NO MATTER WHAT THAT INSANE LOUISIANA JURY SAYS.

P.S. It's probably not happening, but that was still fun.