Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer gave no indication as to whether or not junior quarterback Braxton Miller would play Saturday against Florida A&M, but did say Miller would try to practice this week.
Meyer said Miller, who missed OSU’s 52-34 win over California with a sprained MCL in his left knee, is “feeling much better.”
“It’s about a seven to eight day (recovery). I went into (detail) with our doctors and trainers and it’s a healing over of a sprain of the MCL, so he’s right on schedule,” Meyer said.
Miller suffered the injury on the Buckeyes’ first possession of their win over San Diego State Sept. 7. Redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton has taken Miller’s place on the field since, finishing out the game versus SDSU, then starting and playing all four quarters against California.
Guiton led the Buckeyes to victories and completed 40 of 60 passing attempts for 428 yards and seven touchdowns, while also running for 175 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries on the season.
Guiton was named the Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against California, where he completed 21 of 32 passing attempts for 276 yards and four touchdowns, and added 92 yards on the ground on 14 attempts.
Meyer said Monday Miller will start Saturday if healthy, but Tuesday he said OSU can find ways to give both quarterbacks playing time even when Miller is back.
In games where Miller starts, Meyer said Guiton could play a “couple series,” but acknowledged that may not be the best way to handle the quarterback situation.
“(Miller and Guiton) are very similar in talent and in their abilities, so I’m not sure that’d be ideal, but I can see getting Kenny a couple reps in there sometimes,” Meyer said Tuesday.
Putting both quarterbacks on the field at the same time could also be a possibility for select plays, Meyer said.
If Braxton is not fully healthy Saturday, Meyer said he would be “a guy in case of an emergency situation” with Guiton starting.
Meyer also said senior running back Carlos Hyde is “welcome back” after being suspended for OSU’s first three games because of his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July, even though Hyde was not listed on the depth chart released Tuesday.
“He’s handled his business the right way (during the suspension),” Meyer said of Hyde. “If he didn’t handle his business the right way, he wouldn’t be playing this game. He’s been very unselfish working the scout team, and he will play.”
Meyer said Hyde’s place on the team’s running back depth chart will be determined during the week of practice. Hyde was the starting running back for the Buckeyes last season, but will have to win back his starting job from redshirt-senior Jordan Hall, who ranks fifth nationally with 402 rushing yards and is tied for the Football Bowl Subdivision lead with six rushing touchdowns through his first three games of the season.
On the OSU depth chart released Tuesday, Hall remained listed as the starting running back with redshirt-junior Rod Smith listed as his backup. Redshirt-freshman Warren Ball and sophomore Bri’onte Dunn are listed as the Buckeyes’ third and fourth running backs.
The depth chart, however, may prove to be irrelevant. Smith was not listed on the Tuesday depth chart prior to the game against SDSU after he served a one-game suspension in the Buckeyes’ season opener versus Buffalo, but still saw playing time behind Hall with three rushing attempts and a reception in his first game back.
Meyer said Hyde did not “mope and complain and whine” about his suspension.
“He handled (the suspension) in a very unselflish, selfless manner, which was made very clear to him that it had to be that way,” Meyer said. “He could have came back and said ‘there’s nothing legally wrong with what I did’ … that never came up.”
Kickoff for the Buckeyes’ fourth game of the season versus Florida A&M (1-2) at Ohio Stadium is scheduled for noon.