Ohio State coach Urban Meyer confirmed that starting quarterback Braxton Miller has returned to practice and should be full-go on Saturday as the ninth-ranked Buckeyes visit Penn State (5:30 p.m., ESPN).
Urban Meyer speaks after practice Wednesday
Miller was injured at the end of the third quarter of Saturday’s win over Purdue as he was dragged down from behind and landed awkwardly on his shoulder and neck. He spent a brief time at the OSU Medical Center and has rehabbed a sore neck since then through a combination of stretching, ice, massage and anti-inflammatories.
“Braxton is doing good,” Meyer said after Wednesday’s practice. “He practiced yesterday and today. Today, he was much better. He’s ready to go.” (For more of Meyer’s comments, check out the video above.)
Meyer was asked if there is anything that could hold Miller back on Saturday.
“Not at this point, no,” the coach said. “He’s a competitive guy and he’s very resilient.”
Meyer said Miller was shaken by the injury.
“A lot of it was just emotional like, ‘What was that?’ ” Meyer said. “He’s had ankles before, but that was a whiplash type injury. I am proud of the way he has responded. That was a unique injury.
“Competitors are competitors and they go as hard as they can. Braxton Miller is a competitive guy. Competitors fight through adversity.”
Asked again if he expects Miller to start on Saturday, Meyer said, “Yeah, he’s good to go.”
Miller also briefly met with reporters.
“I took all the (concussion) symptom tests and everything turned out good,” he said. “They gave me positive feedback and I was good.”
Miller was asked if he was still hurting.
“Just a little bit,” he said. “I’d say I am about full-go. I’m still a little bit sore.”
He also discussed his reaction to the injury.
“I didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I was a little bit dizzy from the hit and I had whiplash. I didn’t know what it was. They took me to the hospital to see what it was.”
(We will have a notebook with comments from Miller and various players. Stay tuned for that.)
Silver Bullet Points
Also from Wednesday night:
* Meyer revealed that senior tailback Jordan Hall’s season may be over. He has had a setback with his knee injury. He has only played in three games this season.
“He re-dinged it, so I don’t know,” Meyer said. “He’s not even practicing right now.”
The coach was asked if OSU may pursue a medical redshirt for Hall. That would allow him to come back for a fifth year in 2013, when the Buckeyes will again be eligible for Big Ten and national championships.
“Yeah, I think it is (a possibility) now,” Meyer admitted. “I asked to find out if it is a possibility.”
* WR Philly Brown and LB Josh Perry each left the Purdue game with injuries, but Meyer said both players are full-go.
* The Buckeyes have lost the turnover battle – it was 4-1 in Purdue’s favor on Saturday – but still won games this season. Meyer said that can’t continue as OSU moves into the meat of the Big Ten schedule.
“We are what we are,” Meyer said. “We are working extremely hard to take care of the football. The better teams you face, you won’t win those games.”
* Meyer was asked about OSU’s special teams play.
“We are just completely blown away right now with the personnel,” he said. “I’ve never had to change so many things. Our kickoff team is not the same group of guys it was five weeks ago. It is completely different. On punt every week, two guys are this or two guys are this. I don’t recall that ever happening before.
“The consistent areas have been kick and punt returns and they have done pretty good. It’s frustrating but it is what it is. We’re fine. Guys have to step up.”
Meyer dug deeper on the topic of available bodies – and useable available bodies.
“You’re looking at 60 scholarship guys to play a big-time game,” he said. “That means there can’t be any dead weight. The problem is we have some. The dead weight has to become non-dead.”
* Meyer was asked about his spontaneous celebration as he gestured toward the student section prior to the playing of Carmen Ohio after the win over Purdue.
“I love our students,” Meyer said. “I love Ohio State. Sometimes emotions let go a little bit. I saw the faces of those students. We had just had a heck of a four hours together. I love that stuff. That’s one of the great moments in college football.”
* Meyer was asked about taking his team to Beaver Stadium for a night game.
“I’ve heard it is really tough,” he said. “I have asked around to the guys who have played there and they’ve said this is the loudest stadium when it’s cooking like this. They deserve it. Their players are playing well.”
* And regarding the Nittany Lions, Meyer was asked if anything surprised him, “Their players. I didn’t expect that. I probably fell into the trap that the country fell into. There was a little bit of a coaching transition and it takes some time. But they have great players there and they are playing well.”
Stay tuned for our notebook with comments from various players.