Buckeyes Open Preparations For Badgers

Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell opened Wisconsin week with status updates for several players, including Dominic Clarke, Jaamal Berry, Philly Brown, Curtis Grant and his backup quarterbacks.

With the Big Ten's top offense headed to town Saturday night, the Ohio State football team is hoping for a boost from its home crowd and an extra week to prepare and rest.

The Buckeyes play No. 12 Wisconsin in a game set to kick off at 8 p.m., and the university is asking fans to fill Ohio Stadium with scarlet.

Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell confirmed he looks for his team to draw some inspiration from a home crowd that has not see the Buckeyes in person since an Oct. 1 loss to Michigan State.

"It still comes down to us knowing what we're doing," he said. "We can feed off that energy. That's a big part of it, but we've still got to make sure we're under control, we know what we need to do and we enjoy the moment."

As for the people on the sidelines, Fickell said reserve cornerback Dominic Clarke is back after serving a one-game suspension for being involved in a disturbance on campus prior to a 17-7 win at Illinois on Oct. 15.

"He's part of the program, part of the team, and has been competing," Fickell said. "He'll be back in the fold."

The head coach also explained the sight of Curtis Grant's name on the depth chart as the No. 2 Sam linebacker is a result of the freshman's continuing progress in practice.

"Curtis has just started to really come into his own," Fickell said. "He's shown some things on special teams and has gotten a lot more reps on the defensive side of the football."

On the other side of the ball, the coach expressed optimism Philly Brown will continue to progress from a high ankle sprain that kept him out of three games earlier this season and has plagued him somewhat the past two contests will continue to improve and make him more effective.

"It's one of those things that you come back and you think you're fine and you are, but maybe that gear isn't there," Fickell said. "Hopefully every week he is going to be better and better."

Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller will continue to be the man charged with getting the ball to Brown and his fellow receivers, but Fickell was not completely firm on who would replace Miller if he has to leave the game.

The coach said sophomore Kenny Guiton will probably get more reps than senior Joe Bauserman, but he did not go so far as to declare Guiton the No. 2 signal caller.

"We still have the ability to have Joe as well," he said. "There are still some things there that we know Joe can do, and if we get in a situation, we've always got that ability."

Fickell also left open the situation of Jaamal Berry, a reserve running back who is suspected of being involved in an off-campus assault last week.

"Obviously it's something that's on-going," Fickell said. "We have to let things take their course, but we know that we represent in everything we do something much bigger than ourselves. That's coaches and players. Nothing goes unseen."

Asked if Berry, a sophomore already behind Dan Herron, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde on the depth chart at running back and who has seen some action returning kicks, would play this week, Fickell replied, "We're looking into it, and we take this very seriously. There's nothing we don't think about that's much more important than how we represent this team."

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