Braxton Practices, Guiton Gets Some Reps
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Braxton Miller went down in the third quarter of Saturday’s game at Nebraska, it brought back memories of Terrelle Pryor’s injury last season at Illinois.
The Buckeyes may very well have suffered a similar fate in Champaign had Pryor not come running back from the locker room to save the game.
Ohio State wasn’t nearly as fortune Saturday with Braxton Miller. The freshman quarterback sat out the entire fourth quarter of their 34-27 loss to the Cornhuskers, but he is expected to be back for the return trip to Illinois this week.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“Yeah, he’ll be back starting and playing the full game, I believe,” tight end Jake Stoneburner said Tuesday.
Miller injured his right ankle over the weekend and had to be helped off the field at Memorial Stadium, but he was back at practice Tuesday with the rest of his teammates.
“I’m sure it’s still a little sore today, but it's good he wasn’t just hobbling around,” center Michael Brewster said after practice.
“He was out there running around, getting some blood flowing, which is always good to see. It’s only Tuesday, I’m sure with a few more days of ice and rehab, he’ll be ready to go.”
The Buckeyes were not full-go during Tuesday’s practice, so Wednesday and Thursday will be the big days for Miller. Because his mobility is such a part of his game, how his ankle responds could determine how much time he sees against the Fighting Illini.
Considering the injury occurred just three days earlier, it looked pretty good to Stoneburner on Tuesday when Miller attempted to test it a little bit during practice.
“He actually didn’t look too bad,” he said.
“A couple times when he was able to scramble, he would take three or four quick steps and then slow down a little bit. He wasn’t really pushing it too hard during scrimmage. Everything else looked pretty fine.”
Guiton Getting Some Snaps
If nothing else, the Buckeyes know they need to have at least two quarterbacks ready to play Saturday just in case Miller has any issues with the ankle. This week’s depth chart continues to list Joe Bauserman as the backup to Miller, but Kenny Guiton was also getting some snaps with the first-team offense during Tuesday’s practice.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“He was out there a little bit today working on some things. If they feel the need to go with him, I’m sure Kenny will do a good job,” Stoneburner said.
“He made some good plays in practice, so if that’s the coaches’ decision then we have to go out there and play with Kenny.”
The redshirt sophomore out of Aldine, Tex. is listed as a dual-threat quarterback with unlimited potential on Ohio State’s official website. He is also called an “eager student who possesses an abundance of football savvy.”
“Kenny plays his role. Whatever the coaches ask him to do, that's what he does,” linebacker Tony Jackson said.
“He does it to the best of his ability, whether it's on scout team or whether it's on special teams. Kenny is a great guy who brings a lot of emotion.”
Guiton has been so eager to help the Buckeyes this season, that Head Coach Luke Fickell has talked about letting him run down on special teams one of these weeks. That might not be the best use of his talent, but the point is that they want to get him on the field.
“I think Kenny starts with his passion to play right now. If you come over to practice, you would see whether he's on special teams, whether he's jumping in on scout team, he wants to play football,” Fickell said Tuesday.
“You know, when you've got those guys out there you say I've got to find a way to get him on the field or give him a chance to get some reps. I think that's probably the one thing that jumps out that you've seen from Kenny.”
The Buckeyes could give Guiton a chance to play some quarterback this week against Illinois, but they aren’t ready to give up on Bauserman completely just yet.
“The thing is people are going to play you different, so you've got to figure out what it is that he can do well,” Fickell said.
“He understands it's a lot about attitude, and when you have your opportunities you've got to make the best of them. You never know, an opportunity is probably going to arise at some point in time for him again, and I'll have confidence that he'll make the plays that he needs to.”
Both backup quarterbacks saw reps with the first and second-team offenses during Tuesday’s practice, but Guiton might allow Ohio State to do more similar things offensively if Miller has to leave the game.
“He’s kind of a mix of a little runner and a little passer,” Brewster said.
“I know if he ever had to go in, given the opportunity, I’m sure he would do fine.”
Guiton isn’t an elusive runner like Miller. He ran for only 120 yards as a senior at Eisenhower High School, after rushing for 329 yards as a junior. He isn’t going to scramble around like Terrelle Pryor until he sees someone breaking open down the field.
The Buckeyes aren’t going to bring him in and have him run a lot of zone-read or quarterback draw plays the way they did with Miller against Nebraska, but he might be able to move around enough to force opposing defenses to change the way they defend.
That alone might be enough to make him a better option than Bauserman.
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