Fickell Tight-Lipped on Players Return
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Luke Fickell wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
After jumping the gun last week during his press luncheon about the availability of Ohio State’s suspended trio, Fickell was much more tight-lipped Tuesday as the school awaits word from the NCAA.
“Right now we’re still pending and waiting,” he said.
“We’re not going to jump to any conclusions, but we’ll wait and see. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon.”
Fickell said last Tuesday that he expected Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown to be available for Ohio State’s week-two matchup with Toledo, but at the list minute, the Buckeyes found out that the three suspended players would not be cleared to return.
“That’s what I was pretty much informed of, that they would be (available),” Fickell said.
“I don’t want to get into it a whole lot, but then I was informed on Friday that they would not be.”
It was a tough blow for the team to find out less than 24 hours before kickoff that they would again be without two starters in Hall and Howard, as well as a key backup in Brown.
The Buckeyes were also without starting defensive end Nathan Williams, who missed the game with what is being called a “bone bruise” in his knee. Receiver Corey “Philly” Brown was also lost with an ankle injury during the game.
“There’s obviously a few guys we’re not positive on,” Fickell said.
“We’ll find out a little bit more hopefully today, see how (Williams) can move and run around today. It’s still a little bit too early to tell.”
Philly Brown had suffered a minor injury to his ankle during the season-opener against Akron but decided to play on it in week two against the Rockets. He left the game on a cart and returned to the sideline on crutches wearing an air cast.
There have been some reports that Brown would be available against Miami this week, but Fickell did not sound too optimistic.
“I don’t know that he looks great right now,” he said.
The Buckeyes will get some reinforcements this week thanks to the return of guard Corey Linsley. The redshirt sophomore out of Youngstown Boardman was actually working as the first-team right guard in the spring, but missed the first two games due to a suspension for violating team rules.
“Hopefully we’ll get him back in the mix real soon and create some more competition up front on the offensive line and give us some more depth,” Fickell said.
The Buckeyes had been playing with only five healthy linemen that weren’t either true freshmen or walk-ons for the first two weeks of the season. They are glad to get another guy in the mix who is ready to play against Miami, if needed.
“We were scary low on depth these past two weeks,” All-American center Michael Brewster said.
“Knock on wood, we made it through and now we get Corey back and two more games after this we get Mike (Adams) back and we’ll be rolling.”
Linsley can play both guard spots for the Buckeyes along with the center position. His primary job will to be back up Marcus Hall at right guard.
“Corey is a good player and it just adds depth to our offensive line,” starting left guard Jack Mewhort said.
With Linsley back, Hall would likely be asked to slide outside and play tackle if anything were to happen to Andrew Norwell or J.B. Shugarts. The Buckeyes are also hoping to add some depth at tackle if freshman Antonio Underwood is ready to go this week.
“I’m not sure, to be honest,” Brewster said.
“I’m not sure how his ankle’s doing, but I think he might be back.”
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