Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said both junior quarterback Braxton Miller and sophomore defensive lineman Adolphus Washington are day-to-day leading into Saturday’s matchup at California (1-1).
Miller sprained the MCL in his left knee early in OSU’s 42-7 win over San Diego State and Washington injured his groin in the first half. Neither returned to the game after their injuries.
Meyer said he met with Miller Monday morning, and the quarterback said he is still “very stiff.” The OSU coach said the “first 48 hours after that (type of) injury is very tough.”
Miller’s replacement, redshirt-senior quarterback and known team trash-talker Kenny Guiton, was named offensive player of the week by the coaching staff after leading the Buckeye offense in Miller’s absence.
Both Miller and Guiton were named captains before the season by a team vote.
Meyer said he wondered how many times a backup quarterback has been named a captain in college football.
“It’s an incredible case study and arguably one of the greatest that I’ve been around as far as your backup quarterback is elected captain,” Meyer said.
Although Miller wanted to go back into Saturday’s game, Meyer said there “was really never that consideration,” because OSU was ahead 21-0 and Guiton was playing well.
“Kenny was managing really well,” Meyer said. “It was the kind of defense where management was really the key to the whole game, and getting us in the right stuff at the right time. Kenny is really strong at that, so there was no conversation about that.”
If Miller is healthy to play Saturday against California, Meyer said he will.
“We’re not saving anything. This will be everything we’ve got to win this game,” Meyer said.
However, if the training staff does not feel comfortable with Miller suiting up against the Golden Bears, the 2-0 Buckeyes will bring a trio of players with them that could replace him.
In addition to Miller and Guiton, redshirt-freshman Cardale Jones and true freshman J.T. Barrett will make the trip west for the game, Meyer said. Both Jones and Barrett are close to being the third quarterback on the depth chart, but, right now, Jones is next in line.
Senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown said if Miller cannot play, nothing will change in the offensive scheme if Guiton starts.
“Kenny can run any play in the offense,” Brown said. “Kenny does a lot of similar things that Braxton can do, except running, obviously. When Kenny comes in the game everybody’s 100 percent confident he can do the same thing.”
Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner agreed with Brown, but said the game plan is only “90 percent” kept when Guiton enters the game.
“You don’t feel like all of a sudden half of the game plan page is eliminated because your second-team quarterback goes in,” Warinner said. “There are certain plays you might stay away from, but 90 percent of that game plan is still in play when Kenny is in the game.”
Junior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the confidence Guiton has in himself is seen on the practice field.
“You see it a lot in practice,” Heuerman said. “Coaches put us in situations like that sometimes when they take Braxton out and Kenny’s in now and you’ve still got to go about the game.”
Guiton’s confidence shows both in his play and in what he says during practice.
“Kenny, he’s crazy,” Brown said. “When he comes in the huddle he’s loud, obnoxious — you can tell he’s real confident with everything he does.”
Brown said Guiton “talks a lot of trash on the field,” but that helps to “hype everybody up.”
Junior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Guiton talks trash not only about the way he plays, but that he does it to stick up for other players as well.
“Every now and then I’ll be talking trash to the offensive line and Kenny will stick up for them and he’s pretty vocal about it,” Bennett said. “He’s just a funny guy, but because he does his job, he can joke around and completely lock in for the play and then just be joking around again.”
OSU is scheduled to take on California at 7 p.m. Saturday in Berkeley, Calif.
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