When Braxton Miller leaped to haul in a long pass from Cardale Jones on Saturday and came down, he smacked the back of his head on the Ohio Stadium turf and did not get up for a few minutes. The crowd of over 108,000 was silent.
Miller was able to get off and walk off the field with some assistance from the training staff, but did not return to the game. He looked woozy on the sideline, but after the game Buckeyes' head coach Urban Meyer said he thought Miller just "got the wind knocked out of him."
Meyer said Monday that Miller did not practice for third-ranked Ohio State on Sunday, and that the status of his starting H-receiver for this weekend's game at Illinois remained up in the air. On Tuesday, however, speaking on the Big Ten coaches weekly teleconference, Meyer said he expects Miller to play against the Fighting Illini barring any setbacks.
“He’s good to go. He’ll practice [Tuesday]," Meyer said. “I met with him [Monday], his neck is still a little sore, he’s getting treatment. He kind of snapped it on the ground there.
"He’s full-go, ready to go for Saturday if he has a good week.”
Miller has 20 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns along with 218 yards rushing and an additional score this season for Ohio State in his first year as a wide receiver.
Additional Meyer notes:
- Meyer said last week he was going to have some discussion with some other Ohio State players regarding the captaincy of quarterback J.T. Barrett following his OVI over the Buckeyes' bye weekend. Meyer said that discussion took place and "[Barrett] will remain a captain."
- Meyer said he still speaks to former Ohio State offensive coordinator and current Houston head coach Tom Herman regularly. "They’ve played a couple Friday night or Thursday games and I’ve watched them," Meyer said. "I speak to Tom regularly. We miss Tom and he’s great; we’ll always be really close. Really excited for him.”
- Meyer said Ohio State is considering a change at field goal kicker from Jack Willoughby to Sean Nuernberger. "We need to do better," he said.
- Meyer was asked about the potential of a "trap game" this weekend against Illinois with Michigan State and Michigan looming the next two weeks. “I’m glad they look good on film; they look very good on film especially their last game they looked outstanding," he said. "You can say all you want, but that’s where you really lean on maturity, power of the unit. Our goal is to be nine strong and I put a lot of — I don’t want to say pressure, but accountability on the position coaches and the leaders within the unit to not let that happen."
- On Ohio State's injuries at wide receiver, Meyer said, "You have some receivers probably playing too many plays, but this time of year it’s just go as hard as you possibly can because it’s November now.”
- On the ability of running back Ezekiel Elliott to still be effective despite playing against several loaded fronts, Meyer said, "We haven’t done a great job of hurting teams with the throw like we did last year so Zeke has had to run through a lot of tackles. He’s very consistent, very tough and post-contact yards are one of his strengths.”
- Meyer again referred to Jalin Marshall as "one of the best punt returners in America."
With Michigan State's loss to Nebraska last weekend, the Big Ten has just two undefeated teams remaining in Ohio State and Iowa. The Hawkeyes host Minnesota on Saturday, while the Buckeyes will travel to Illinois.
In addition to Meyer, the Big Ten's other 13 coaches gathered Tuesday on the conference's weekly teleconference. Below are some highlights of what each had to say.
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern):
- Fitzgerald on Northwestern's new practice facility: "It's a game-changer for our program."
- Fitzgerald on the state of the Big Ten: "All of our guys come here to compete for championships in this great conference. Everybody can win a Big Ten game every weekend."
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan):
- Harbaugh asked about the tweet sent out from tight end Jake Butt's account. "I don't know anything about that one," he said.
- Harbaugh said he's going to try and swing over by Assembly Hall on Friday night to catch Indiana's season-opening basketball game.
- Harbaugh on Indiana: "Dangerous team that can put a lot of points on the scoreboard. Outstanding quarterback, one of the best in the conference."
Paul Chryst (Wisconsin):
- Chryst was asked if linebacker Joe Schobert was a first-team All-American. "He's been awfully valuable for us."
Mike Riley (Nebraska):
- Riley on the play of Nebraska's offensive line on the final two drives against Michigan State: "That right there was the key to the whole thing."
- On quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Riley said, "Tommy is a very, very competitive person and the games can kind of go up and down for him."
Mark Dantonio (Michigan State):
- While final Nebraska touchdown was being reviewed, Dantonio said, " I believed that the call could have been overruled," as he was watching.
- Dantonio on the loss to Nebraska: "We've not been in this situation for a year. I don't think anybody likes it and they tend to analyze it very closely."
Kirk Ferentz (Iowa):
- Ferentz on the Big Ten: "There are a lot of good football teams on both sides of the line."
- Ferentz was asked how much time he spends with his team each week on the College Football Playoff rankings. "Probably about 30 seconds," he said.
- Ferentz on Iowa's ability to win so many close games: "It's as much mindset as anything and that's something we didn't do a good job of last year."
Tracy Claeys (Minnesota):
- "I thought our kids really battled hard and played well on Saturday night in Ohio Stadium against the Buckeyes. They're a tremendous team, very talented and represent the Big Ten well."
Kyle Flood (Rutgers):
- Flood on Leonte Carroo's mindset not knowing whether or not he'll play: "Leonte is a competitor so I think that the most important thing is you can't allow it to become discouragement."
Bill Cubit (Illinois):
- "We've got a tough task coming up here in Ohio State. Great football team, a great representative of the Big Ten and national landscape."
- Cubit called both Ohio State quarterbacks "great players."
- Cubit on Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa: "I think Urban's right. I've been in this game a long time and I haven't seen too many like him."
Mike Locksley (Maryland):
- Locksley on using William Likely on offense: "He's a guy that has a really good skill set with the ball in his hands and we'll continue to try and design ways to get the ball in his hands."
Darrell Hazell (Purdue):
- "We're still searching for that consistency with our guys. One week we play well and the next week we don't."
James Franklin (Penn State):
- On the overall play of Christian Hackenberg this season: "I think the last six weeks he's played really well. He's making big plays down the field so I think those things have all improved."
- Franklin on Penn State's bye week: "You'd think it may be a slower week, but it some ways it may be busier."
Kevin Wilson (Indiana):
- Wilson on quarterback Nate Sudfeld: "We're pushing Nate to expect more from himself and his teammates. We're excited to keep developing him."
- Wilson called Michigan's defense "awesome."