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Urban Meyer: Braxton Miller will start if healthy

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller walks out with the team during a game against California Sept. 14, at California Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 52-34. Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editor

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller walks out with the team during a game against California Sept. 14, at California Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 52-34.
Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editor

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said the plan is that if junior quarterback Braxton Miller is healthy enough to play Saturday against Florida A&M, he will.

“Braxton — we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Meyer said. “If he’s ready, he’ll play this week.”

Miller is “probable” to play against Florida A&M, Meyer said. He added that backup Kenny Guiton could see the field.

“Kenny Guiton’s earned some time,” Meyer said. “He’s done a nice job. If he’s one of the best 11 (players), then the obligation is to get him on the field.”

Guiton’s early season success while Miller has been sidelined gives Meyer confidence in his backup quarterback.

“If you’re going to buy stock in anybody, buy stock in Kenny Guiton,” Meyer said. “Because what he’s going to do after football some day — it’s going to be really neat.”

Guiton said after his playing career, he would like to stay in football.

“I am considering the coaching thing,” Guiton said. “I think I could be pretty good at it. I wouldn’t mind it. Its something I love, football.”

Meyer also addressed the return of senior running back Carlos Hyde, who is eligible after being suspended for three games because of his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar this summer.

“As of right now, he’s back. He’s done a really good job,” Meyer said. “(He) has had a very good attitude, taken care of business and we are anxious to get him back.”

Meyer said he was not sure how Hyde would fit into the offensive game plan.

“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that,” Meyer said. “It’s a good issue to have. (Redshirt-senior running back) Jordan Hall has certainly earned the right to touch the ball. In a big way.”

While it is unclear which Buckeye running back will get the touches in the offense, the tight ends are struggling to even get the ball. Junior Jeff Heuerman and redshirt-sophomore Nick Vannett combined for only one catch against California.

Tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton called both their performances in the victory “excellent,” even though they did not get the ball much, because of the way they blocked.

“They were very efficient in their blocking. They were very fundamental,” Hinton said. “They did a great job of attacking (California’s) defense.”

The tight ends’ abilities to complete blocks on the edge allowed freshman running back Dontre Wilson to get to the edge a few times against California, and Hinton said that was a big reason he was happy with the way the tight ends performed.

“I tell you, that’s where I said, the catches weren’t there, but I don’t know if Jeff Heuerman could have been happier,” Hinton said. “He was unbelievably happy after the game because he blocked the perimeter like a champion.”

Although the offense put up a season high 608 yards against the Golden Bears, the defense struggled, missing 16 tackles and giving up 503 yards against the Golden Bears, according to Meyer.

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said reducing the number of missed tackles is the defense’s goal.

“I feel like we did better as a defense, but we have to try to get those missed tackles to a single digit number,” Shazier said. “We ended up having 16 but a lot of those missed tackles were just guys taking shots and knowing they have other guys coming back, other bullets having their back.”

Senior safety Christian Bryant called California’s offense “fast-paced,” and said that was one factor that led to the missed tackles and allowed the Golden Bears to give up 34 points.

“They were bound to break a couple runs, get a couple big plays but for the most part, we kept leverage like we felt we were going to work towards the week before the game,” Bryant said. “That’s what we did, they put up 34 points on us but it’s not because we weren’t going hard.”

According to defensive line coach Mike Vrabel regardless what level of football you compete at, you have to have to be able to tackle.

“Everybody is going to force you to tackle in space,” Vrabel said. “That’s what happens in the National Football League. It happens in college. Teams are going to force you to tackle in space.”

Vrabel said it’s not the inability to bring guys to the turf that hurt the team, it’s what happens after.

“We talk about trying to keep teams under, having less than 10 missed tackles in a game,” Vrabel said. “The yards after those missed tackles is kind of what kills you.”

The Buckeyes are set to take on Florida A&M at Ohio Stadium at noon.

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