Monday, October 22, 2012

BRAXTON MILLER HAS SORE NECK, EXPECTED TO PRACTICE TUESDAY

Braxton Miller
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — When Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was slammed hard to the ground during the Buckeyes' football game against Purdue on Saturday, head coach Urban Meyer admitted that the entire season flashed before his eyes.

Miller's injury appeared to be extremely serious, forcing him to leave the game and be rushed to a nearby hospital. Many on hand weren't just worried about the Buckeye star's prospects of playing again, but more concerned if he had some sort of dangerous internal damage after watching him stagger on the sideline. 

In fact, immediately after being carted off the field and into an ambulance, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook were overcome with hundreds of prayer requests for the popular OSU quarterback.

God definitely heeded those prayers, as the ultra-talented and tough signal caller from Huber Heights was issued a clean bill of health, basically suffering a mild case of whiplash. 

Miller could return to action as early as Tuesday's practice.

"I went with him to the hospital, or afterwards went over to see him," Meyer said on Monday, during his weekly press luncheon in Columbus. "All the test results came back. I guess the term is negative, which is positive. He's very sore, sore neck. But we expect him to practice tomorrow."

Meyer stated that Miller was shaken up a bit after the fall.

"He got like a whiplash," Meyer said. "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 that he's never really been hurt, never really been as far as just 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."

Although Miller has been a dual-threat machine this season — averaging nearly 300 total yards per game, including 120 a contest on the ground — there is growing concern that Miller's body is taking a toll from all of the carries.

Meyer is aware of that problem, and hopes that his star QB will make better decisions about his health when out in the open field. 

However, the Buckeyes' coach also stated that the rugged style of play is ingrained in Miller's DNA. He's a leader, and when his team needs a boost, he's going to do whatever it takes to make it happen, i.e., Saturday's 37-yard run play where he suffered the aforementioned injury.

"We have talked to him about that," Meyer said. "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 with it. 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 ...

"He doesn't go down very easily, and he's a competitive guy. The good thing is he usually bounces right back up. This one was a tough one. I'm trying to think, the other ones were out of bounds, a couple of out of bounds shots, and he cramped another time. But he's just a dynamic athlete. He's a little more difficult to bring down."

Meyer said he must continue to allow Miller to be Miller. The Buckeye mentor went on to say it's up to the other players on offense to pick up the slack and take the pressure of carrying the team off Miller's shoulders.

"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," Meyer said. "The thing is, I think more guys need to step up and take some heat off of him."

Even though Meyer expects Miller to practice this week, it is unknown as of yet whether he will play this Saturday at Penn State. Junior quarterback Kenny Guiton, who lead the Buckeyes on an improbable comeback victory against Purdue, may be in line for more playing time if Miller is unable to get back to 100-percent by Friday.

BOGARD OUT FOR SEASON ... Ohio State freshman defensive back Devan Bogard suffered a season-ending knee injury on Saturday against the Boilermakers, according to Meyer.

The Buckeye coach was heartbroken over the loss of Bogard, a player that Meyer admitted is one of his favorites on the squad.

"We lost Bogard, ACL," Meyer said. "Love him. He's one of my favorite guys on the team. Top five guy on the team, Devan Bogard. First guy to lose his stripe as a Buckeye. He's a great, great guy, man. He had one of those emotional moments after the game because he spills it. He was getting ready to start getting a little more action as a defensive back too.

"If we could go out and recruit a hundred Bogards, life would be pretty good around here."