Optimistic Urban Meyer opens up on Braxton Miller injury, impact

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If you were expecting a sullen and despondent Urban Meyer in the wake of the Braxton Miller injury, you will be sorely disappointed.

Wednesday morning, the Ohio State head coach, during an interview on the Mike & Mike Show, made his first public comments since yesterday’s announcement.  While acknowledging “your gut starts to hurt” when ” a member of your family [goes] down,”  Meyer was optimistic about the future of his squad, which, prior to Miller’s season-ending injury, was viewed by many as the Big Ten favorite and potential playoff qualifier.

I think we’re going to be a very good team,” the coach said in quotes transcribed by the Columbus Dispatch. “Has my thought changed? Not at all. …

“Our guys have responded [positively to the injury news].”

Meyer also praised Miller for his attitude since the injury, which has seemed to have an impact — a positive one — on the entire team.

“The best thing is Braxton’s reaction,” Meyer said. “Braxton has a big smile on his face, is out at practice, is talking to our quarterbacks. I’m telling you, he’s a grown man. That’s credit to him, his family and his high-school coach, Jay Minton.”

The quarterback who’ll likely lean on Miller, the quasi-coach, the most is T.J. Barrett.  The redshirt freshman has never played a down at the collegiate level let alone attempted a pass.  He’s expected to get the start, at least in the opener against Navy,  ahead of Cardale Jones.

Miller will be looked upon to provide a veteran presence for Barrett, one who can be both a mentor and a coach all in the same package.  Meyer’s going to do his part as well, scaling back the offense and tailoring it to Barrett’s skillset.

“We’re not at this point going to ask him to throw that post corner on the field a 35-yard route on a seven-step drop,” Meyer said as an example of tailoring the offense for Barrett. “He’s not made for that yet.”

The Dispatch pointed out that “the offense under Barrett is likely to resemble what it looked like when Kenny Guiton took over when Miller was injured early last year.”

Miller suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of the Week 2 win over San Diego State and was replaced for the remainder of that game as well as the next two by Guiton.  Guiton totaled 13 touchdowns — 12 passing — in those three games before Miller returned for the win over Wisconsin.

The difference between Barrett and Guiton?  Guiton was a senior with at least some playing experience before being tossed into the fray.  Neither Barrett nor OSU has that luxury this time around, with Barrett’s acclimation to the game at this level likely going a long way in determining whether or not, as Meyer stated, the Buckeyes are a very good team at season’s end.

Oregon WR Bryan Addison serving ‘in-team suspension’

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That’s certainly a new way to describe it.

Monday, Mario Cristobal announced that Oregon freshman Bryan Addison is serving what he labeled as an “in-team suspension.” The only reason given for the punitive measure was an unspecified violation of team policy.

“He’s part of the team,” the head coach said of the wide receiver according to 247Sports.com. “But he will be practicing with the team in a couple of weeks as long as he abides by what he needs to.”

Addison had played in the first three games of the 2018 season, but hasn’t taken the field in any of the last four.  He has one reception for 12 yards, which came in the Week 2 win over FCS Portland State.

A four-star 2018 signee, Addison was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the talent-rich state of California.  Only one signee, offensive lineman Penei Sowell, was rated higher than Addison in the Ducks’ class this year.

After less than two months at Pitt, Jeff George Jr. ascends to No. 2 QB

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That certainly didn’t take long.

In late August, after summer camp had closed, Jeff George Jr. was confirmed to have transferred to Pitt. Through the first three weeks of the 2018 season, the son of former Illinois great Jeff George wasn’t even listed on Pitt’s depth chart; the last five weeks, he’s been listed as the Panthers’ No. 3 quarterback.

On Monday, however, Pat Narduzzi confirmed that George has been elevated to the No. 2 spot behind starter Kenny Pickett. George’s ascension comes at the expense of Ricky Town, the former USC quarterback who transferred to Pitt late last year.

“Jeff’s come in and really picked stuff up well,” the head coach said, adding, “We have confidence in Ricky as well.”

The move up the depth chart continues a roller coaster that’s been George’s last few months.

It was confirmed in mid-August of this year that George had decided to transfer from Michigan.  The quarterback announced two months earlier that he had decided to transfer to U-M, which came approximately five months after he decided to transfer from Illinois.

In starting five games last season, George was the Illini’s leading passer after throwing for 1,273 yards.  He accounted for seven of the Illini’s eight touchdown passes on the year, as well as 10 of their 19 interceptions.

All told, George started nine games during his time in Champaign.  His first career start? At Michigan in October of 2016, a 41-8 loss that saw George complete four of his 15 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pickett’s 117.8 pass efficiency rating is currently 10th among ACC quarterbacks and 103rd nationally, which raises the specter that George could ascend to the starting job for the 3-4 Panthers before it’s all said and done.

Report: Foot surgery could sideline Ohio State WR Austin Mack for the rest of the regular season

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Ohio State’s loss this past Saturday has proven costly in more than just the won-loss column.

Austin Mack went down with a foot injury early in the second half of the upset loss to Purdue in Week 8 and left the stadium on crutches.  Tuesday, Austin Ward of LettermanRow.com is reporting that the wide receiver underwent surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for a period of 6-8 weeks.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report through an OSU spokesperson.

Even on the low end of that 6-8 week timeline, Mackwould be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.  Should the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, the junior receiver’s availability would be unlikely as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that Mack should be healthy enough to play in whatever bowl game for which the Buckeyes qualify.

This season, Mack is third on the Buckeyes with 26 receptions, while his 331 receiving yards are good for fourth.  Both of those totals are already career-highs.

Overwhelming favorites Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa see Bovada title, Heisman odds shorten

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During this current college football season, three of the surest things are upsets, Rutgers continuing to embarrass the Big Ten and oddsmakers really loving the defending national champions in general and one of its players specifically.

Bovada.lv has released its latest set of odds to win the 2018 College Football Playoff championship, with Alabama yet again the overwhelming favorite to claim the title at 1/2. Those odds are a bit shorter than the 5/9 the Crimson Tide was at just a week ago.

Clemson and Notre Dame both saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 13/2 to 5/1 and the latter from 19/2 to 13/2. Ohio State, meanwhile, fell from 7/1 to 12/1, the same as rival Michigan. The Wolverines, coming off a big road win over Michigan State, were also at 12/1 last week at this time.

Individually, Tua Tagovailoa saw his stranglehold on the odds to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy increase. A week ago, the Alabama quarterback was at 2/3; he’s now at 4/11.

Tagovailoa’s two main competitors saw their odds lengthen, with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 7/2 (3/1 a week ago) and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at 12/1 (3/1).

The biggest climber has been Michigan’s Shea Patterson, with the quarterback going from off the board last week to 12/1 and behind only Tagovailoa and Murray.

Below are the complete set of national championship and Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: