Miller on the Mend, Williams’ Season Likely Over
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell expects to have quarterback Braxton Miller for this week’s trip to Illinois, but not Nathan Williams.
After missing the last five games with a knee injury, the senior defensive end is scheduled to have another surgery and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
Photo by Dan Harker
“Nathan Williams probably will not be with us the rest of the year,” Fickell said Tuesday during his weekly press luncheon.
Williams was one of Ohio State’s most productive players on defense last season and was expected to play a major role for the Buckeyes in 2011. He recorded two tackles in the season-opener against Akron, but underwent arthroscopic knee surgery before the week-two matchup with Toledo.
He was only expected to miss a month, but a second surgery could put Williams’ Ohio State career in jeopardy. The senior out of Miami Trace High School is still eligible for a redshirt, but it is unclear whether he will choose go that route.
The Washington Court House native has 10 career sacks and 21.5 career tackles for loss. Without him, the Buckeyes have had a hard time applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks this fall.
Miller Looking Good
After watching the majority of Ohio State’s implosion against Nebraska from the sideline Saturday, Braxton Miller should be back on the field for this week’s trip to Illinois.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The freshman quarterback left Saturday’s game in Lincoln with a sprained right ankle and watched as his teammates blew a 27-13 lead the rest of the way.
He was in the ice tub Sunday and Fickell expects to have his starting quarterback Saturday as the Buckeyes look to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the 2004 season.
“I think he’s going to be OK,” Fickell said before practice Tuesday.
“The most important thing is how you look at practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They 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.”
The injury to Miller came one drive after his costly fumble, which allowed the Cornhuskers to score their first touchdown against Ohio State’s defense.
Before the turnover, Miller was having arguably his best showing as a Buckeye.
“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.”
The Buckeyes had outgained Nebraska 334-236 through the first three quarters of the game, and Miller had racked up nearly 100 yards on the ground before his injury. After he left the game, the Buckeyes were outgained 187-17 in the fourth quarter.
Another player who left Saturday’s game because of injury was linebacker Storm Klein. The junior out of Newark limped off the field in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to Nebraska, but is not expected to miss any time.
“Obviously he's sore, and all those little bumps and bruises hurt a lot more when your heart hurts, but everything came back negative,” Fickell said Tuesday.
“He’ll have to fight through it and get better. Six weeks into the season that's what it's about.”
Klein and Etienne Sabino have alternated at the middle linebacker spot this fall and they are both among the top seven on the team in tackles. Sabino (28) is tied for second on the team with Christian Bryant while Klein (19) is seventh on the team, right behind Bradley Roby.
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