Buckeyes Don’t Plan to Alter Gameplan for Their Sore QB
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tom Herman saw what we all saw on Saturday, a shaken, if not injured, Braxton Miller lying motionless on the Turf after he was slammed down by the back of his jersey.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer called it whiplash for Miller, whose Heisman Trophy campaign was put on hold indefinitely in order to rush him to the hospital.
As it turns out, Miller wasn’t nearly as injured as he looked, just scared by the way his neck hit the Turf at the end of his 37-yard run during the Buckeyes’ 29-22 comeback win over Purdue.
He’s sore – more sore than usual – after that nasty spill, and teammates said he was moving a little slower on Sunday and Monday than he usually is after games, but don’t expect Herman and Meyer to take that into consideration on 3rd and 8 in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game in State College.
“None,” Herman said when asked how much of an impact Miller’s scary moment would have on their game plan this week.
“We got to win the game. I don’t know what its going to take Saturday at 5:30 to win the game, we’re trying to figure that out right now, but it wont affect … if we have to win the game, we have to win the game.
“If he’s the best option to do that, it won’t factor into any of our decisions.”
It might sound insensitive, considering Miller spent the fourth quarter of Saturday’s comeback in a hospital bed after being carted off the field late in the third quarter. Meyer even said the season flashed before his eyes with No. 5 laying on the Turf, but it’s sounding more and more like Miller might have panicked when he felt his body smash awkwardly, and painfully, against the ground.
“I think there’s guys like John Simon, who have probably been hurt his whole career and just understands that’s kind of part of it,” Herman said Monday during his press conference.
“And there’s guys like Braxton Miller who, for the lack of a better term, is a fine-tuned athlete. Those guys don’t like it when they get it hurt and it takes a little adjusting.”
Miller actually told Meyer he was rattled because he’s never really been injured in his football career. He’s certainly faced his fair share of bumps and bruises, but there’s a difference between being hurt and being injured.
Even when he had to come out of the game against Nebraska last year, it was because of an ankle problem, not a potentially serious injury to his head or neck. It turned out not to be as serious as maybe Miller had first feared when he felt the pain running up his neck, but that’s great news for Ohio State.
“He’s 19 years old,” Herman added Monday.
“I think we all forget, and let me make this very clear, he’s 19 years old. He’s 19-year-old young man who just happens to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State University. He’s also a 19-year-old college student who this time two years ago was sitting in a high school classroom.”
As further proof that maybe the injury wasn’t as serious as it looked to everyone inside Ohio Stadium – and all of those watching at home, holding their collective breath in living rooms across the country – Miller is expected to practice on Tuesday.
The Buckeyes have a huge game on Saturday at Penn State, a team that has won its last five after dropping the first two games of the year. It’s going to be a tough road victory even if Miller is close to 100-percent, which doesn’t seem entirely likely.
The Ohio State coaches may not alter their game plan for him, but they will certainly do everything they can to make sure he understands the importance his health will play, not only Saturday, but over the last four games of the season.
“We have talked to him about that. He's a competitor and he's done better,” Meyer said Monday.
“You can see a couple of other times he knows when to get down and step out of bounds. I think, where we were at as an offense has something to do (with it). We were not playing very well. A lot of players on the offense were not playing very well, so he was just trying to make a play.”
Even a sore neck won’t keep him from trying that again on Saturday. That part is just in his DNA.
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