After announcing at last week's news conference that three suspended players would be back only to have that turn out to be false, Ohio State coach Luke Fickell was understandably a bit more cautious on Tuesday.
Fickell said that the status of Buckeyes running back Jordan Hall, cornerback Travis Howard and reserve defensive back Corey Brown are still pending. All three have been sidelined after reportedly accepting $200 to appear at a charity event earlier in the year. The NCAA has told Ohio State it has more questions about the case, although it's curious why this is taking so long if it's over such a seemingly minor issue. Regardless, getting Hall and Howard back for this week's showdown at Miami would be very helpful.
Fickell also talked about why quarterback Braxton Miller didn't play on Saturday against Toledo despite the team's stated intention to work in Miller with starter Joe Bauserman. Fickell said Miller was banged up from the Akron game and missed some practice time last week. Then the Toledo game remained close throughout as the Buckeyes stuck with Bauserman.
"Things didn't quite go as planned," Fickell said. "And Braxton was probably a little bit shortened up on his preparation because he was hurt."
The plan for this week is for Miller to play at Miami, but Fickell added that the plan could change again.
Fickell said he also wasn't sure about the status of defensive end Nathan Williams and receiver Corey "Philly" Brown. Williams missed the Toledo game with a back problem, while Brown hurt his ankle during the game. Brown, the team's most experienced available receiver, "doesn't look great," Fickell said.