Braxton plan: OSU expects QB to be ready

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
6:12
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tom Herman always has more than one plan of attack for opponents.

[+] EnlargeBraxton Miller
AP Photo/Sam RicheOhio State is continuing to try to find a balance between Braxton Miller's explosive running ability and his tendency to get banged up.
It's just that if the first way isn't working for Ohio State, the second and perhaps even the third put together by the first-year coordinator typically has one thing in common.

"Plan B usually includes [Braxton Miller]," Herman said. "I can tell you that."

The Buckeyes had to scrap that with the sophomore quarterback getting checked out at the hospital while they rallied for an overtime win over Purdue on Saturday, a comeback that validated yet again the trust the program has in backup Kenny Guiton.

It also offered another example of how difficult it can be to keep a multipurpose weapon like Miller healthy when he's taking punishment as a rusher, the fourth reminder Ohio State has had of that fact in as many games. The violent body-slam Miller took after his 37-yard run against the Boilermakers provided by far the most serious concern for the Buckeyes so far this season, keeping him out of action for the entire fourth quarter and the overtime while he received medical attention as opposed to just missing a few plays on a drive before returning for the next one.

Miller was ultimately released "symptom-free" on Saturday night and has been cleared to resume practicing on Tuesday, though Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer indicated during a press conference that his quarterback still had a sore neck. But assuming he once again bounces back to full strength and is ready to go on Saturday at Penn State, the Buckeyes don't really seem to think there needs to be a new plan for using Miller since his versatility, speed and elusiveness is what makes both him and the spread offense so difficult to stop.

But they also have made clear they won't be reckless with using him, either.

"I think we are trying to balance it," Meyer said. "We won’t go crazy with him running the ball, and I think we’re trying to balance that a bit. But at some point you’ve got to try to move the ball a little bit, too.

"There’s some limitations. We’re very cognizant of that."

Miller didn't exactly have his most extensive workload before his injury, leaving the game after his 12th carry -- a number that, for example, was on pace to leave him well short of the 27 carries he had against UCF last month. And that might represent one obvious reason the Buckeyes aren't likely to make any dramatic changes to Miller's plan.

He can get out of bounds or slide more often, perhaps, but any play could be the one that forces Ohio State to look for another way to move the ball. So when Miller is on the field and if the Buckeyes need a spark, Herman isn't going to let the threat of that change his approach.

"We’ve got to win the game," Herman said. "I don’t know what it’s going to take Saturday to win the game, we’re trying to figure that out right now and giving it our best guess and best game plan to put forward. But it won’t affect it -- if we’ve got to win the game, we’ve got to win the game.

"If he’s the best option to do that, then that certainly won’t factor into any of our decisions."

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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