COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The critical number wasn't how many times Braxton Miller got hit.
The Ohio State quarterback was bound to be sore after again being called on so often to rush the ball, and some abuse comes with the territory after 23 attempts.
But there were a few more shots the sophomore could have avoided in the road win on Saturday over Michigan State, and that's the tally Urban Meyer had in mind as the Buckeyes try to keep the centerpiece of their offense healthy ahead of another top-25 test this week against Nebraska.
"Eight times," Meyer said during his Monday press conference. "We went through that, eight times he shouldn’t have got hit. He’s scrambling around, throw the ball away, find the receiver or give the ball.
"We’re going to go try to win a game, and Braxton is our quarterback and our best player, best guy with the ball in his hands. [Health] is always going to be a concern any time you have a quarterback involved. But he’s a gifted guy and he’s got to help us win."
Miller did that from start to finish against the Spartans, adding 23 passing attempts to go with his carries on the ground and twice returning from minor injury scares to lead the attack.
Aside from soreness, Meyer indicated there was nothing physically that would keep Miller from practicing like normal for the rest of the week or limit him against Nebraska. But the Buckeyes also didn't rush him back to work on Sunday when the team hit the practice field, allowing him a bit of extra time to recover from the collective pounding he took while grinding to a fifth consecutive win to start the season.
"He’s good, [but] he’s sore," Meyer said. "He got whacked a little bit. That’s a good defense he went against. ... He didn’t do much yesterday. We ran them pretty good yesterday, he’s a little sore, but [right tackle] Reid Fragel is sore, we had about six guys who were kind of off to the side.
"Braxton, right now he doesn’t need a lot of conditioning. His stamina is pretty good."
He's got the numbers to prove it, regardless of how much punishment he might be able to avoid moving forward.
Tape exchange: Michigan State expressed its concern about game film over the weekend.
On Monday it was Ohio State's turn to question what was on tape.
Meyer reiterated that the flap over video sent to the Spartans that apparently had been edited to remove pre-snap motions and shifts had been "corrected immediately." But the Buckeyes have a complaint of their own now after breaking down the win and noticing what looked to be an attempt by Michigan State guard Jack Allen to gouge the eyes of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on Saturday -- yet another exchange between the two programs that could lead to involvement from the Big Ten office.
"I dealt with that Florida one time, we had to sit a player down for doing that in the SEC," Meyer said. "I really don’t know. Every conference is different, I think it gets turned in and then I believe it’s in the conference offices.
"I believe we did turn it in."
Williams dismissed: Reserve wide receiver Tyrone Williams was dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules.
Meyer did not elaborate on the circumstances, but he indicated there was no chance of a return for a target who once appeared to have a bright future thanks to his athleticism and his 6-foot-6, 229-pound size.
Williams made five catches for 74 yards a year ago after redshirting in 2010.
Bumps and bruises: C.J. Barnett is closing in on a return at safety after two weeks on the sideline recovering from an ankle injury.
While it's early in the week and the junior will continue to be monitored, Meyer upgraded the status of Barnett as the Buckeyes prepare for a visit from the Huskers.
"I got a thumbs up yesterday," Meyer said. "I’d say probable."
Champions club: A rundown of the Buckeyes honored by the coaching staff for grading out at the highest level in the win over the Spartans.
Offense: Left tackle Jack Mewhort, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Corey Linsley, right guard Marcus Hall, right tackle Reid Fragel (collectively the Offensive Player of the Week); fullback Zach Boren and tight end Jeff Heuerman
Special teams: Roby