Meyer Answers Questions About Miller, Offense
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just two days after it looked like Braxton Miller might not play football again this season – at least from watching his body language – it sounds like he will be ready to play against Penn State this week.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said Miller is expected to practice on Tuesday, which is the first real practice for the starters this week. He answered a lot of other questions concerning Miller, Kenny Guiton and the OSU offense on Monday during his weekly press luncheon.
Q. Coach, I know there's a fine line between a player wanting to show his manhood and also preserve his body. How much do you have to talk with Braxton about there's times you need to get out of bounds?
MEYER: We have talked to him about that. He's a competitor. He's done better. You can see a couple of other times he knows when to get down and step out of bounds. That would have been probably – you know, I think, where we were at as an offense has something to do. 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.
Q. Braxton took two shots at Michigan State and was lucky to come back. This week he looked out of sync and took a bigger shot. Does it amaze you he seems to be so resilient? And how concerned are you that, if he's taking these shots, how is he going to last the season?
MEYER: Very concerned, and he does – I don't know that I use the word amazed very often, but he's a tough guy. He's very strong. He takes care of himself. I don't want to say amazed, but he's a tough guy.
Did you say how concerned? Very concerned. He's our best player.
Q. He's such a weapon for you guys. How do you balance it?
MEYER: I think we are trying to balance it. We don't go crazy with him as far as like running the ball. I think we're trying to balance it a little bit. But at some point you've got to try to move the ball a little bit too. There's some limitations. So we're very cognizant of that.
Q. Urban, obviously, good news that Braxton is okay, but just the way he looked when he came off, he seemed like he could barely walk, and he just seemed to be in a lot of pain. What was it that was the pain at that moment?
MEYER: His neck. He got like a whiplash. I had a long talk with him about it. He's just rattled. And once he settled down, he seemed to be fine. And he made a comment to me he's never really been hurt, never really been – as far as a bruise or a contusion or a sprained ankle, but never been like that, and it kind of rattled him a little bit, like it would rattle most athletes.
Q. I don't know any other way to say this, but when he first went down, did you see the season kind of pass before your eyes where you were concerned?
MEYER: Sure, yeah. I mean, the first thing is, Braxton, are you okay? Then I saw that he was. Then I thought – one thing about the old right‑hander now, he's been pretty successful when he goes in there. Obviously, it changes our game plan a little bit, but he's been fairly successful going in the game.
Q. With your history with quarterbacks running the spread, have you had trouble before with a quarterback being hurt like this?
MEYER: Tim's taken a few. Alex, Chris Leak, and Josh. I don't believe so. I think this is the first time.
Q. You kind of alluded to this a week or two ago that you might put Kenny in the game before an injury or garbage time or whatever you call it. Is there a situation now going forward where maybe you'll use him?
MEYER: I don't know yet. That's too early to tell. But the answer is probably. Has he earned the confidence to go in the game and perform? He has. I mean, he could throw the touchdown at Chris Fields – I said feel free to throw a little harder and get it there a little quicker.
And on the keeper when he got down to the yard line, feel free to get a few more squats in there and get across the end zone.
Q. Is there any way to keep Braxton Miller – do you change his game at all now, or do you talk to him about differently? That big run was a huge play in the game, how do you corral them a little bit but let him still be him?
MEYER: I don't think you do. I think you let him be him and coach him, if you have the opportunity to step out of bounds after a big play, step out of bounds. To be a classic drop‑back passer in his career now, I'm not sure how efficient we would be. The thing is I think more guys need to step up and take some heat off of him, which we did at times this year, not near where we need to be.
Q. You had talked earlier in the year about toying with the idea of maybe Kenny and Braxton fielding sometimes. Would that happen?
MEYER: If we did, Braxton would be the runner, and I'm not sure it's the right time to do that.
Q. Or let Kenny run.
MEYER: Let Kenny run it? Nah. I love Kenny, nope. You guys have a great day.
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