Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell said freshman quarterback Braxton Miller looks like he is recovering well from a sprained ankle sustained in Lincoln, but someone else will get more of an opportunity to earn the chance to replace him if he goes down again.
“I think he’s going to be OK,” Fickell said of Miller. “The most important thing is how you look at practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I keep saying, ‘I think he’s going to be fine, I think he’s going to be fine,’ but we’ve got work to do. We’ll be out there in about an hour and a half today. We’ll see how he feels and how he runs around on it.”
Miller had led the Buckeyes to a 27-13 lead through nearly three quarters of action against the 14th-ranked Cornhuskers before suffering the injury on a run around right end. He was having the best game of his young career with 95 yards passing and 91 yards rushing up to that point.
“He was more comfortable out there,” Fickell said. “We made some plays that allowed him to be a little more comfortable, and he’s continued to grow. I think that’s a thing you can continue to be positive about.”
Joe Bauserman, a senior who started the first two games of the season before giving way to Miller, relieved him and was almost completely ineffective. He completed 1 of 10 passes for 13 yards and threw an interception that set up the game-winning touchdown for Nebraska.
Asked if Bauserman’s struggles on film were as apparent as they were live, Fickell said yes.
“It’s a tough situation to come into,” Fickell said. “They changed their game a lot with what was going on so coverage was different when he was in there as opposed to when Braxton was. That had something to do with it, but ultimately it comes down to performing and making plays. That’s what we have to evaluate people on. Could he have done something better? Yeah. We all could have done something better.”
As such, third-stringer Kenny Guiton will receive more reps in practice this week.
“Kenny has been getting reps. Some of them have been as a quarterback and some have been on special teams,” Fickell said. “Kenny stayed involved a lot and showed the team and everybody how important it is to him. He’ll get probably more and more opportunities in the weeks to come.”
Not all the news was what Buckeye fans wanted to hear, however.
Fickell said defensive end Nathan Williams, the most established player on that side of the ball heading into the season, is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a problematic knee.
Williams had arthroscopic surgery after the season opening win against Akron and was expected back within a month, but Fickell said he is likely to need another surgery. The coach did not detail exactly what had happened to necessitate the move.
A senior with 10 careers sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, Williams is eligible for a medical redshirt.
Though Williams will not be back, the team is looking forward to the return of tailback Dan Herron and offensive lineman Marcus Hall from NCAA suspensions.
Herron, an All-Big Ten performer when he rushed for 1,155 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, may not start the game but will be involved.
“Dan will get some touches,” Fickell said. “You might see Dan initially on special teams, whether he is on the kickoff team or the kickoff return team. He is a big part of who we are. We have not only missed him on the field but in the locker room and off the field and in the huddle.”
Hall started the first five games of the season before the NCAA sat him down for one game because it found he was overpaid for work he performed for a Cleveland-area construction company before the season.
Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive end Melvin Fellows were suspended for the same reason, although Posey’s suspension is for an additional four games because he received more extra benefits.
Fickell also was not specific on what knocked linebacker Storm Klein out of action in Lincoln but indicated it was an injury the junior can play through.
“Obviously he's sore, and all those little bumps and bruises hurt a lot more when your heart hurts, but everything came back negative, and he'll have to fight through it and get better,” he said. “Six weeks into the season that's what it's about.”
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