Reunion in Columbus
High school teammates Taylor, Miller face off Saturday
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 01:08
Last week, Anthone Taylor received a harsh message from his former teammate and longtime friend Braxton Miller.
“[Miller] thinks it’s going to be a field day, but it’s not going to be like that,” Taylor said. “He thinks that ’cause they’re a Big Ten powerhouse and since we’re a MAC school and nobody really talks about us as much, that it’s going to be a walk through.”
Taylor, a sophomore running back at UB, and Miller, Ohio State’s star quarterback, were teammates at Wayne High School in Ohio and have developed a brotherhood over the years.
Miller is now an early favorite for the Heisman Award. Taylor is the Bulls’ No. 2 back behind standout Branden Oliver after sitting out last year with a knee injury.
The teams will square off Saturday at noon for their season opener.
Most of the country would agree with Miller’s take that the game is going to be a “field day” for the Buckeyes, who are 35.5-point favorites. But Taylor says there is a new tradition brewing in Buffalo.
“We have a new tradition here; this hard work we’ve been putting in in the offseason is going to develop that November, December tradition,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be a team he’s never seen before.”
The Bulls’ defense is gaining an advantage most units don’t have by simply watching game film. Taylor has been giving them tips and pointers of what goes on in Miller’s head back in the pocket – after all, the two shared the same backfield for four years.
“I told [the defense] that if they get after him, he’ll get frustrated and he’ll try and go for the home-run more and he’s more [likely] to try and escape under pressure and use his speed,” Taylor said.
The game is a big moment for Taylor, who is appearing in his first game in two years and in Ohio, his home state.
“I worked hard in the offseason, and I just want my hard work to pay off,” Taylor said. “I just want the people back home to see that I haven’t fell off the radar, that I’m still here and trying to make contributions and get to that next level.”
All trash talking aside, Taylor said Miller’s emergence as a Heisman candidate and national star is something he expected coming out of high school. But on Saturday afternoon, their friendship will be put to the side and it will be “all business” on the field.
Taylor’s message for Miller is simple: “Be ready for our best.”