Thursday, October 13, 2011

DOMINIC CLARKE SUSPENDED FOR ILLINOIS GAME; GUITON MAY BE NO. 2

Dominic Clarke
COLUMBUS — Ohio State head football coach Luke Fickell addressed the media for his Thursday briefing in Columbus, and what seems like protocol these days at the weekly meetings, the Buckeyes' boss announced yet another suspenion of an OSU student-athlete.

"We will not have the services of Dominic Clarke this week, he will not make the trip (to Illinois)," Fickell said. "He's involved in a university rules violation, so it's in the university's hands."

Clarke, a sophomore cornerback who's made two starts for the Buckeyes this season, was involved in an on-campus incident this week and was cited for disorderly conduct.

Fickell wouldn't elaborate on how much time Clarke could miss, but did vouche for the young cornerback's character and made the entire situation seem relatively minor.

"Dominic is a great kid," Fickell said. "He's done everything right. He's an all-academic, all-Big Ten guy. We're going to get through this and let the university handle it and hope that he'll be ready for the following week.

"It's something we're not dwelling upon and we'll leave it at that."

True freshman Doran Grant and sophomore Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown will see more time at cornerback in Clarke's absence, according to Fickell.

Of course, Clarke's suspension wasn't the only item on the agenda Thursday ... the quarterback position was also a main topic of interest.

Fickell reaffirmed Thursday that quarterback Braxton Miller will be starting this Saturday against 16th-ranked Illinois, just a week after suffering a sprained right ankle in the Buckeyes road loss at Nebraska, where he was forced to leave the game midway through  the third quarter.

Fickell said Miller is moving around well in practice and doesn't seem to be suffering any setbacks with the ankle.

"I think he's done a great job," Fickell said of Miller. "He's moved around, he hasn't let it hamper him, hasn't let it affect him emotionally, I think that's the most important thing. A lot of guys can be ready for Saturday, but it's those guys who can be ready for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get better, and I think that's what he's shown this week."

Now that Miller's status as starter for Saturday is cemented, the next question being posed by most around Columbus has been, who will be his backup?

Fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman — who has been Miller's backup the past three weeks — hasn't fared well in limited action recently, finishing the final quarter and a half of play in Nebraska by going 1-of-10 passing for 13 yards and an interception. Most fans have been calling for sophomore Kenny Guiton to get an opportunity at No. 2, and according to Fickell, those wishes may be granted — although he wouldn't officially name a backup on Thursday.

"Both those guys have gotten some reps," Fickell said. Kenny definitely got a lot more reps this week. We want those guys to be ready, because there could be a time where who knows what will happen, one or two guys could go down.

"But yes, there's been a lot more opportunities for Kenny to get more work."