Whether Braxton Miller plays Saturday or how much still is to be determined, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after practice yesterday.
But “No. 5 practiced,” Meyer said, referring to his first-string quarterback who missed almost all of the past two games because of a sprained left knee. “He’s still not full speed, but he practiced.”
Meyer and some of the players said that Miller took part in some passing drills, apparently much more than a week ago before he was ruled out for a game at California. It is possible that senior backup Kenny Guiton, who led the Buckeyes to a 52-34 victory over the Golden Bears, might gain a second start, though Miller could play.
“I think he’ll be ready, in a still somewhat limited role,” Meyer said of Miller. “That’s kind of what I’m counting on right now. (Today’s practice) is obviously another big day. … The good thing is there is confidence in No. 13 (Guiton).”
With the start of Big Ten play looming with back-to-back primetime games against defending conference champion Wisconsin and at Northwestern, the Buckeyes approached this week and Miller’s possible comeback with a double goal while preparing to play Florida A&M at Ohio Stadium.
“No. 1 objective is to win this game,” Meyer said. “No. 2 is make sure everything is ready to go as we enter Big Ten play.”
Hyde is ready
Senior running back Carlos Hyde, suspended by Meyer for the first three games because of an off-field incident in July, is back on the active roster. But he hasn’t shot back to No. 1 on the depth chart, where he left last season after rushing for 970 yards in 10 games.
“He’s not on top of the list — that’s not fair to the other guys — but he’ll play,” Meyer said. “He’s done everything that I’ve asked him to do, and (running backs) coach (Stan) Drayton has asked him to do. And it wasn’t easy — a lot of internal things that we haven’t made (public) because it’s no one’s business what goes on behind the scenes.
“But he’s done above and beyond what we’ve asked of him.”
What Hyde will bring to the table is what people saw from him the last half of last season, Meyer said.
“I think power, breaking tackles and a very good running back,” he said.
Senior Jordan Hall stepped up the first three games, and the running game has not languished, being ranked 13th nationally with a 285.3-yard average. Hall is fifth nationally in rushing yards (402) and tied for the lead in rushing touchdowns (six).
“And I love Jordan Hall,” Meyer said. “I’ve been in the other dilemma — ‘Who to hand it to?’ That’s not pleasant.”
Washington still out
Defensive end Adolphus Washington will miss his second straight game because of a strained groin.
“I think we’re probable for Wisconsin,” Meyer said of the Sept. 28 game at Ohio Stadium.
Freshman Joey Bosa, who gained his first start in place of Washington at California and was named the team’s defensive player of the week, is expected to start again.