Camp Notebook: Braxton Miller's Health, Secondary Battles Ongoing, Jeff Heuerman Still Limited

By Patrick Maks on August 18, 2014 at 4:40p

On a hot and humid Monday morning that marked the 17th practice of Ohio State’s fall camp gauntlet, Tyvis Powell was full of sunshine and rainbows.

“I get up every day and I just love to play football. This is what I love to do. I couldn’t see myself doing nothing other than this. That’s just my motivation,” the redshirt sophomore safety said.

“The sun is shining, I get to play with the players that I love, that I’ve grown to love. We’re all going after the same goals. It’s just fun to me. Just making this as fun as possible.”

To be fair, camp sucks. Two-a-days suck. But Powell’s disposition is sincere.

After all, the Buckeyes open their season against Navy in less than two weeks. In some ways, it’s a blessing and a curse.

At long last, the light at the end of the tunnel is near. But that means Ohio State has 12 days to evaluate the health of starting quarterback Braxton Miller, heal other players with little, but nagging, injuries and solidify a handful of critical position battles.

Questions Still Swirl Over Braxton’s Health

After shoulder surgery in February, Braxton Miller remains curiously limited during Ohio State’s training camp. With each passing day, the Buckeyes lose chances to give Miller and a new-look offense crucial live reps. Still, the coaching staff maintains it’s part of a plan. They expect Miller to be ready when it’s time to play the Midshipmen Aug. 30 in Baltimore.

“I think the trainers are optimistic and everything is on schedule. Had a little bit of a setback with some additional soreness that we weren't expecting,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said. “I'm not ready to say concerned is the right word. Not yet.”

Miller said he’s “100 percent.”

“You know I'm fine, it's just progression in my shoulder and it's precaution,” the senior quarterback and Heisman hopeful said. “I don't want to overdo it before the first game and I gotta sit out the first game ... it's part of the plan, we talk about it every day.”

It remains unclear, though, if that plan was supposed to take this long or ever happen at all.

Cornerback, SAfety Battles ONGOING 

Thanks to a bevy of little -- and somewhat expected -- injuries plaguing Ohio State, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash said the Buckeyes have yet to name starters at free safety and the other cornerback spot across the field from returning starter Doran Grant.

“We have candidates, we’ve identified who the candidates are. We’ve had a few guys that have missed some practice time here recently,” he said. “Nothing’s set in stone yet, that’s what this week is for, we really have to identify who’s gonna be another corner, who’s gonna be our starting free safety and those things will sort itself out this week.”

Vonn Bell and Cam Burrows are fighting to play aside strong safety Tyvis Powell while Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Armani Reeves and Marshon Lattimore battle for the final cornerback spot.

Jeff Heuerman Still Limited

After minor foot surgery in March, senior tight end Jeff Heuerman remains limited in practice.

“There’s a volume issue with where we are with him and we really monitor the volume because college football is a long season and you’re going to be playing for a long long time,” tight ends coach Tim Hinton said. “We certainly, certainly need to have him ready to go for that.”

Heuerman caught 26 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns last season. Hinton added he feels like he effectively and confidently play Heuerman, Nick Vannett or Marcus Baugh.


Comments Show All Comments

buck-I.8's picture

I'd guess the reality of Braxton's health is somewhere in between what he says about it, and what the fans' reactions are tending to be. Sometimes these recoveries can be difficult to predict to complete accuracy, and if it persists maybe it's panic time down the road, but for right now this is probably best approached with a little extra caution without assuming the worst. He isn't 100%. I get what he's saying, and I hope it means that it's not the kind of soreness that raises alarms, but it's hard to say you're 100% while still having pain that forces you to miss time.

In all the camp videos, we've seen flashes of the type of coverage Coach Ash wants in the form of PBUs and interceptions from Conley, Apple, Webb, and Lattimore. Reeves has a lot to prove, in my mind, after coming up mostly short in a pretty major way filling in last season. Given all the talent with a shot to start opposite Grant, I'd say it's likely that at least one of these guys show that they're ready to start. Projecting the starting secondary, I would guess that Apple and Bell join Grant and Powell, but we may see a lot of rotation in the secondary until a few guys distance themselves from the pack. 

MountainsAwait's picture

First post here on 11W - thought it was time to stop stalking and actually participate!

Completely agree with your 1st paragraph analysis of Miller.  It's the PC way of handling it - they aren't going to announce to their opponents if Miller was unlikely to play.  My gut tells me he will play only some or none of Navy game.  Don't think he'll be ready, but I hope I'm very wrong.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity..." -John Muir

+9 HS
Maestro's picture

If he isn't ready for Navy he isn't going to be ready for any of the games this season.  It has been 6 months since his surgery.  The season is not a time to rehab or heal from shoulder surgery.

vacuuming sucks

+4 HS
MountainsAwait's picture

Well that's a fair point.  I am just skeptical because expectations are so high, and it feels fishy to me that with less than 2 weeks to go, he's not fully practicing.  I suppose it will keep Navy guessing...

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity..." -John Muir

+2 HS
TheScarletNut's picture

I find it hard to believe that with an added year of experience and his talent that Vonn Bell won't be starting

+5 HS
ITWASME's picture

Cam Burrows is pretty damn good and has gotten some extra time with Vonn's injury

+8 HS
dan_isaacs's picture

No doubt, but Bell is legend-quality kind of player.

Dan Isaacs

+1 HS
ITWASME's picture

Curtis Grant was supposedly legend quality and that's yet to be seen. Now I want Vonn Bell to be amazing and rewrite record books but all I'm saying is it shouldn't be a surprise if Cam Burrows comes out and starts game 1 because he is no slouch

+3 HS
dan_isaacs's picture

The difference is the one time Bell was actually allowed to play, he was making highlight plays.  Grant never showed on the field, Bell has.

I ain't gonna be mad if I'm wrong.  Hell, I hope they are both Hall of Fame players.

Dan Isaacs

+1 HS
WhySoSerious's picture

what's that suppose to me? How can you determine that already? Wouldn't say, Cam as the same opportunity to be legend quality type of player as well?


Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

+2 HS
cdub4's picture

Burrows was an elite recruit in the same class, and both got on the field as true freshmen. You are splitting hairs IMO.

Brandon26841's picture

No doubt, but Bell is legend-quality kind of player.

Huh? Based on what? His high school recruiting rankings? 

BTBuckeye's picture
+2 HS
BuckeyeGrownFloridaLiving's picture

Braxton will be fine guys. Let's just chill a little .

+3 HS
gumtape's picture

Like he was fine at the end of the Orange bowl? These shoulder things can linger, it was the reason why Chad Pennington called it quits, he was unable to maintain velocity and couldn't practice due to soreness.

I think the concern at this point is justified. Even if he does come out for the opener, the first time he gets hit, I will be holding my breath.

High and tight boo boo

-1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

First of all, the orange bowl is where he hurt it and pre surgery. Secondly, Chad Pennington massively tore his shoulder and that is why he never was normal again.
Have you ever heard of players not playing or practicing when it's not necessary. Again, if Navy was tomorrow, Braxton would start. He is practicing the important stuff, he's just not throwing as much as he normally would.
And I'm certain Braxton won't play the whole Navy game because it will be over after half time. Hopefully.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

+2 HS
osu407's picture

I wonder how much the possibility of playing an additional playoff game has made the staff even more cautious than normal with limiting injured players. 

garyb's picture

I'm not as worried about losing Braxton until we get to the Big Ten Conference schedule if that happened. Until he comes back we would just have to play extra solid on defense and strong zone read game on offense.  JT Barrett  knows the zone read.  He's not Braxton, but looks mobile enough to keep a defense off balance.  There are alot of other playmakers now on this offense, they would have to step up.     

Just Grin and Barrett!

THE's picture

DBs and Safeties went from a weakness to a strength in one offseason. Mark it down. 

[[]] []-[] [] [[]]

+2 HS
teakwood's picture

Really love hearing Cam battling for that spot.  It seemed he could get passed over for a bit.  I love the confidence from Bell, which makes the fact that Cam is right there even more impressive.  It really could be a next man up thing here this year, in case of injuries and we have the roster to replace people.  I really want eli to get the corner spot after not losing his stripe til spring and now being right there.  He looks good in clips

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

Regardless of who is starting, I expect the return of the silver bullets this year!!

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

E2Brutus's picture

I honestly have very little doubt about Braxton. I just think the coaches trust his ability and want to limit his pain. He will play and probably deal with some pain all season and take many cortizone shots. But being the competitor he is he won't sit out because of some soreness... especially when he believes he is 100%

Brutus1972's picture

I love to hear about the competition in the secondary. I honestly think that all of the names mentioned will get playing time this year. I wish that I was hearing the same from the LB's.

USArmyBuckeye's picture

I firmly believe that if they CAN play, they WILL play.  We have a lot of talent and as a result some very talented players will be 2nd string or out of the two deep at a given position, but if they can play call, the coaches will make sure they get their time to shine.  Can't wait for the 2014 edition of Buckeye Football!

countrybuckeye's picture

Just got the news flash report from B/R -- Braxton re injures throwing shoulder.  Probable starter now JT Barrett.  

Hmmm ......

"Momma told me there would be days like this."

DC-town's picture

While reading this, We had a Ken-Yon Rambo sighting on Monday night football...not really, John gruden meant Bacari Rambo, but it made my day...haven't heard that name in a while 

'Piss excellence' -RB

+1 HS