Ohio State will head to Nebraska for the first time with three offensive contributors it did not use a week ago.
Head coach Luke Fickell said Thursday running back Jaamal Berry and wide receiver Philly Brown are available for the Buckeyes when they kick off against the Cornhuskers at 8 p.m. on Saturday night in Lincoln.
Brown missed the past three games after suffering a sprained left ankle against Toledo on Sept. 10. Though just a sophomore, he was the most experienced wide receiver available at the start of the season, and the young corps at that position has struggled so far.
“Philly practiced yesterday, and hopefully he’ll be good today,” Fickell said.
Asked if Brown will start the game, Fickell replied, “If he’s the best guy who performs throughout practice, he’ll start.”
Berry was held out of the 10-7 loss to Michigan State last week as a precaution following an altercation he was involved in on campus Sept. 28.
“Jaamal didn’t play last week because we just wanted to make sure he was all right with everything,” Fickell said. “It was more of just our decision to make sure everything was OK in his corner.”
The third player Ohio State is looking forward to getting back on the field is Mike Adams, an All-Big Ten left tackle who missed the first five games serving an NCAA suspension for accepting illegal benefits as part of the tattoos and cash for memorabilia scandal that rocked the program over the past 10 months.
“One thing I can say about Mike is he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Fickell said. “He’s had a great attitude whether he’s been down with us on the scout team at times, whether he’s been up with the offense or in the locker room. He’s done an unbelievable job of handling everything. Now it’s time he gets that opportunity to go out and play with us.”
Adams is expected to resume his role as the starter at left tackle with Andrew Norwell sliding to left guard and Jack Mewhort moving to right guard.
The return of a fourth player, defensive end Solomon Thomas, remains possible, but Fickell did not estimate the odds he sees the field in Lincoln. Thomas was suspended as part of the same scandal that sidelined Adams. He is eligible to return but is still recovering from a broken leg suffered in the spring.
“It’s still open of those situations that he’s going through practice and hopefully will feel better and better as time goes on,” Fickell said.
Thomas could add some depth on the defensive line, as is the case with Michael Bennett, a freshman who missed the end of the Michigan State game with an apparent ankle injury but who is expected to be available this week.
Fickell also ended speculation running back Dan Herron might be cleared to play against the Cornhuskers.
Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and offensive lineman Marcus Hall are suspended by the NCAA for receiving more pay than they were owed for hours worked over the course of the past three years, but the lawyer for the players told The Columbus Dispatch additional information form the employer provided to the NCAA could lead to Herron’s punishment being lightened.
Fickell said Herron will not be part of the travel squad this week.
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