Braxton Miller had a simple answer for those concerned about his health this week as Ohio State prepares to face Penn State on Saturday in University Park.
“I’m good,” the Buckeyes’ soft-spoken sophomore quarterback said Wednesday night, the first time he has met with reporters since absorbing a nasty collision with the Ohio Stadium turf last week after a 37-yard run in the third quarter.
He repeated that message or something similar multiple times as he fielded questions on the indoor practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Miller also acknowledged there was a period of time he was concerned about longer term effects from the play.
“I didn’t know what it was,” he said, noting he had never landed on his head, neck and shoulder like that before. “I was a little bit dizzy, I didn’t know what it was, so they took me to the hospital.”
Once he passed a battery of tests for upper body injuries, he felt satisfied he would be fine.
Miller also admitted to inquiring about the outcome of the Buckeyes’ game against Purdue. They were trailing 20-14 when he went out on the penultimate play of the third quarter, but his nurse told him she did not have any updates.
“She said, ‘I’m here working on you,’ ” Miller explained.
He has seen replays of the hit, in which Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson pulled him down from the side by his jersey.
“That’s one of them type hits you clench your eyes, but I’m good,” Miller said. “I’m blessed.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was concerned about his quarterback initially baed on the nature of the hit, but his fears were calmed after talking to Miller’s doctors at the hospital.
“He’s a competitive guy,” Meyer said. “Very resilient.”
Now all signs point to Miller being in the lineup when the ninth-ranked Buckeyes head east to play at Penn State.
“He had full-speed practices yesterday and today,” Meyer said. “He had a sore neck, but today he’s much better. He lifted. He’s good to go.”
Not only was Miller back in the lineup during practice, he took the usual number of snaps with the first team.
While Meyer and his coaching staff are happy to have their best player and No. 1 offensive option back, not all of the health news was positive.
Jordan Hall, a senior running back who was expected to play a major role as the hybrid/slot player in Meyer’s spread offense, suffered a setback in his recovery from a torn PCL and might have played his last snap this season.
“He re-dinged it,” Meyer said. “He’s not even practicing.”
Hall missed the first two games while recovering from foot surgery then suited up three games before suffering the knee injury Sept. 29 at Michigan State. He is eligible for a medial redshirt, and the coach said that is a possibility.
Without Hall, Carlos Hyde has assumed the role of No. 1 tailback and produced 545 yards on 104 carries despite missing two games with a knee injury of his own.
Corey Brown, a junior wide receiver, assumed Hall’s role as the slot receiver and part-time extra running back. He has 70 yards on eight carries while also proving to be the Buckeyes No. 1 target for screens and other short passes. He has a team-high 44 catches for 447 yards.
Brown missed the end of the 29-22 overtime rally against Purdue with a head injury, but he also received a clean bill of health and will be available for the contest against the Nittany Lions.