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Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown have been reinstated and are eligible to play in Saturday's game against the Miami Hurricanes, Ohio State confirmed on Tuesday.

Hall, Howard and Brown were each suspended two games for taking $200 from a university booster at a charity dinner in February in Cleveland. Each will have to repay the money to a different charity.

“I feel good that we’re going to Miami with more guys,” starting tailback Carlos Hyde said. “It’s good to have the majority back. We’ll be ready.”

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Braxton Miller is expected to play Saturday against Miami, OSU coach Luke Fickell said today. Miller was banged up last week and missed some practice time before the Buckeyes played Toledo, but that’s not what prevented him from playing.

Without disclosing the nature of the injury, Fickell said Miller returned to practice on Thursday. Joe Bauserman took every snap of the victory over the Rockets, but Fickell’s plan today includes Miller against the Hurricanes.

“We expect him to play. That’s a plan on Tuesday and those plans can change a little throughout the week. Hopefully we’ll have a better sense come Thursday.”

The Buckeyes will be facing a Miami team that just reinstated Jacory Harris from a suspension for his role in the recent extra benefits scandal that has rocked the program. Ohio State players know all about those. The university reinstated starters Jordan Hall and Travis Howard and backup Corey Brown late Tuesday afternoon.

Other notes from today’s press conference:

* Fickell isn’t sure yet whether injured defensive end Nathan Williams or Corey “Philly” Brown, who injured his ankle against Toledo, will be available. He indicated Brown wasn’t looking too good, but said he’ll know more about their status later in the week.

* Fickell said he isn’t concerned about kicker Drew Basil, who is 0 for 4 in his career. Both of his attempts last year were blocked and he’s missed his first two this year. “I’d be more concerned if I thought Drew wasn’t handling it the right way,” Fickell said. “We have to get his confidence back completely, but in camp Drew did a good job. He can do it. He’s done it every day in practice.”

* Tyler Moeller acknowledged the national perception of this game will be two stories programs’ fall from glory. But he wouldn’t bite when asked if the scandal at Miami makes what’s happening in Columbus seem trivial. “It’s two completely different situations and both things are wrong,” Moeller said. “Rules are rules no matter if one is worse than the other, you’re still breaking a rule.”

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COLUMBUS: Ohio State survived an enormous scare when Toledo’s final drive stalled on the Buckeyes’ 16 yard line, allowing them to escape with a 27-22 victory on Saturday.

The Buckeyes haven’t lost to an in-state opponent in 90 years. That streak was in real jeopardy until the game’s final minute, when John Simon pressured Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens into an overthrow on fourth down, preserving the victory.

It was another turbulent weekend for the Buckeyes, who just found out Friday night they’d again be without Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown while the NCAA sorts through their violations.

Couple that with the first-half injury to receiver Corey “Philly” Brown, the special teams breakdowns and a critical fourth-quarter fumble by freshman Rod Smith and the Buckeyes were on the brink of disaster.

“Going through adversity, we’re not going to break,” center Michael Brewster said. “We might bend a little, but at the end of the day we’re not going to break.”

Carlos Hyde’s 3-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter proved to be the difference. The Buckeyes entered as 18-point favorites, but needed Chris Fields’ 69-yard punt return for a touchdown and 14 crucial Toledo penalties to survive.

Joe Bauserman played the whole game at quarterback, completing 16 of 30 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. Backup Braxton Miller was expected to play, and coach Luke Fickell said he entered the game intending to play Miller in the second quarter, but plans changed.

Fickell wouldn’t elaborate on why he didn’t go to the freshman, but it seemed to anger the 105,016 in attendance. The boos directed at Bauserman seemed to intensify with every incompletion and every pass thrown away.

“They’ll do what they’re going to do,” Bauserman said. “I’m going to throw the ball away when I have to.”

Both teams had major issues on special teams. The Buckeyes allowed a blocked punt, which led to Toledo’s first score, while the Rockets had three formation penalties on punts, which directly led to 14 points for the Buckeyes.

Carlos Hyde had 76yards and two touchdowns and Jake Stoneburner had a touchdown catch in the first quarter, his fourth of the season.

The ending didn’t have to be so dramatic, but Smith fumbled on Toledo’s 28-yard line with 3:08 left, giving the Rockets one final chance at the upset. They converted a long fourth-and-14 with a 19-yard completion to Eric Page to keep the drive alive, but Simon finally ended things by pressuring Owens.

Page had 12 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns for the Rockets.

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4 suspended players cleared at Ohio State

by Dan on September 6, 2011

By Rusty Miller
Associated Press

COLUMBUS: Four suspended players have been reinstated at Ohio State for the 15th-ranked Buckeyes' game on Saturday against Toledo.

Coach Luke Fickell confirmed on Tuesday that linebacker Jordan Whiting, who had been suspended last December for last week's opener for accepting cash and discounted tattoos from a local tattoo-parlor owner, will be available to play this weekend at Ohio Stadium.

Fickell also said that tailback Jordan Hall and cornerbacks Travis Howard and Corey Brown have also been reinstated after being held out of last week's game for taking less than $300 in gifts from a charity.

Fickell said he was uncertain of those three players' status in the future.

The Buckeyes (1-0) are coming off a 42-0 win over Akron.

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Joe Bauserman, left, will start at quarterback Saturday for Ohio State, although true freshman Braxton Miller, right, is expected to play.

Senior quarterback Joe Bauserman will start Saturday's season opener against the Akron Zips, although true freshman Braxton Miller will also play, Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said at his first weekly news conference on Tuesday.

Bauserman is a 26-year-old former minor league baseball player who has paid plenty of dues at Ohio State. He has backed up Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor before finally getting his chance.

“It's leadership,” Fickell said. “I think he's done a really good job through camp. I've been impressed with the things we've asked him to do.”

Miller is still expected to get substantial playing time, although Fickell wouldn't disclose when he would enter or how much he would play. The two quarterbacks have clearly separated themselves from Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham in the battle for the starting job.

Bauserman has attempted just 47 passes in his career, throwing for 320 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in limited time.

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By Rusty Miller
Associated Press

COLUMBUS: Ohio State's wide receivers do not need to be reminded that no one expects very much from them.

And they're not very happy about it, either.

“We came in as the underdogs of this whole team,” Corey Brown said, almost spitting out the words.

Ohio State receiver Corey Brown (10) runs a drill during NCAA college football practice, in Columbus. With the top target for Ohio State's passing game (DeVier Posey) sitting out the first five games, the Buckeyes need to find several quality receivers before the games kick off. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam, File)

Asked who considered the Buckeyes' pass-catchers as the overlooked and underestimated, he said, “I guess the outside world. We never looked at ourselves as underdogs. We tried to label ourselves as the tempo-setters of the team, the guys that make the big plays, the explosive gains.”

It's true that Ohio State is thin at receiver — even before one takes into account that leading returnee DeVier Posey must sit out the first five games for selling memorabilia to and accepting improper benefits from a local tattoo-parlor owner in 2010.

All of the wideouts have heard the whispers about how weak Ohio State is at receiver, not to mention quarterback, where three-year starter Terrelle Pryor left a year early to pursue his NFL dreams and to escape his own NCAA suspension.

The receiving contingent heading into the Sept. 3 opener against Akron has a grand total of 11 career catches for 127 yards and one touchdown. To put that into perspective, last year's top target, departed senior and team MVP Dane Sanzenbacher, had nine catches for 108 yards and four scores in one game last season.

So Brown gets it when someone says the guys flanked out wide are almost invisible.

“Oh, yeah, definitely. We lost TP. We lost Dane,” he said. “We have all youth at the receivers, so for people to say that we're going to be down at the wideout group or the quarterback group is understandable. We don't have a lot of experience at those positions.

“But we're going to be ready.”

Not everyone looks at the position as being half-empty while Posey sits out his five games.

“That position has a chance to be deeper than it has been for us in years,” offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said. “They're all newer, younger guys who have shown a lot of ability, shown a lot of potential and if they keep working like they've been working in preseason camp, I think they'll be OK.”

The top candidates at the position are sophomores Brown and Chris Fields, redshirt freshman Verlon Reed and true freshmen Evan Spencer and Devin Smith. [click to continue…]

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There was a Tressel back on the field at Ohio Stadium Sunday night, carrying around a football and Ohio State helmet. He smiled for the team picture, hugged DeVier Posey’s mother and made small talk with a few friends. But this has been a strange and even emotional summer for Dick Tressel, who remains as Ohio State’s running backs coach even though his brother is no longer in charge of the program. Jim Tressel hired his older brother prior to his first season in Columbus in 2001.

Now Jim is gone, but Dick remains.

“Jim was nice enough to hire me to help him, now they’ve decided he’s not the right guy to have around here and here I am,” Dick said during Ohio State’s media day on Sunday. “That’s strange. That’s very strange, because we’re just alike.”

Now Dick Tressel is left to carry on at the university his brother adored. Dick learned his brother was resigning only a few hours before the rest of the world. Jim called him after midnight on a Sunday night to tell him the next morning, Memorial Day, he was leaving, officially ending one of the most turbulent offseasons in Ohio State history.

Dick insists he knew nothing of the e-mail exchange between Jim and Columbus attorney Christopher Cicero that implicated a handful of current players for receiving free tattoos, nor did Jim ever share any other sordid details with his brother.

“A lot of people felt like I had the inside scoop and knew what was going on. That isn’t the case at all,” Dick said. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

Dick said his wife, Connie, was shocked Jim didn’t seek his older brother for advice or simply a sympathetic ear during the ordeal, but looking back, Dick isn’t surprised his brother kept it all to himself.

“That’s his job, that’s not my job,” Dick said. “He’s got a plan to get it done and take care of business. I got this other thing I’m supposed to be doing, so it didn’t surprise me at all.”

Having a Tressel on staff and around the facility could be awkward or even a distraction for the players and other coaches. But interim coach Luke Fickell not only kept Tressel on staff, he added to his responsibilities, elevating him to special teams coordinator in addition to his duties as running backs coach.

For his part, Dick said he never considered leaving after his brother’s resignation, nor did he seek his brother’s advice on what to do. He already knew what Jim would say.

“Had I asked Jim if I should leave, he might have punched me,” Dick said. “For him, it’s about these kids. If he thought I was going to jump out, he’d say ‘Get your butt back in the boat baby.’ I never gave him the chance to punch me. I didn’t ask him.”

Jim Tressel has kept his distance from the program – and, at times, his brother – since his ouster. Jim visited Browns practice last week, but Dick said he hasn’t seen his brother in more than two weeks. They exchanged texts recently, at which point Dick mentioned something that had happened in practice that day. But Jim didn’t pursue the conversation and hasn’t asked for updates on players or practice.

“He knows we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” Dick said. “He cares a lot about it, but not so much that he feels like he needs to put his fingers in it.”

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Linebacker Etienne Sabino had surgery Sunday morning to have four screws inserted into his left hand, which he broke during Saturday morning’s jersey scrimmage. Sabino, trying to earn a starting job, had his arm in a sling Sunday and will miss at least a week to 10 days of practice.

Sabino said his hand got stuck in a facemask Saturday while trying to shed a block.

“I kept playing on it because I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Sabino said. “Then I got to the sideline and it was throbbing.”

He’ll have to play with a cast on the hand for at least the first few weeks of the season, but believes he'll be ready for the Sept. 3 opener against Akron.

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Fickell mulling his running back options

by Dan on August 16, 2011

Associated Press

COLUMBUS: Ohio State interim coach Luke Fickell may have run his 10th practice on Tuesday, but he's still unsure who the starting running back will be for the season opener.

When asked if the position might be handled by committee for the Sept. 3 game against Akron, Fickell said, “You never know.”

With senior incumbent Dan Herron (216 carries, 1,196 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010) among four players serving a five-game suspension for NCAA rules violations, none of his replacements are blessed with experience.

Junior Jordan Hall (37-169-2), and sophomores Jaamal Berry (32-367-1) and Carlos Hyde (24-115) are in the mix, along with redshirt freshman Rod Smith.

“We've got a group of guys,” Fickell said, “who are very impressive.”

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It didn't take long for critics to start firing back at Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

After Dantonio called his close friend and mentor Jim Tressel a “tragic hero,” heads began scratching across the country.

Jim Brandstatter, the color commentator for Michigan's radio broadcasts, was the most vocal.

“Sorry…but tragic hero remark about Tressel is wrong on a lot of levels,” Brandstatter wrote on his Twitter account. He later added “When is lying to your boss, to the NCAA heroic. Is it heroic to teach young men that wrong isn't wrong unless you get caught? Gimme a break”

Dantonio was expecting the questions about Tressel on Thursday. He knew his response would create backlash, but he doesn't seem bothered by it. Particularly from a Michigan guy. Dantonio has seemed to relish taking swipes at U-M in the past.

“I don't even know who that guy is,” Dantonio said of Brandstatter. “As far as I'm concerned, he's never coached one day of college football or had a relationship with a college player — a real, meaningful relationship. But I knew I was going to be criticized. That's OK.”

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