Fickell Optimistic About RBs, Unsure of RT

Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell is hopeful he will have the services of top tailback Dan Herron and key reserve Jordan Hall this week as the Buckeyes take on Purdue on Saturday. He sounded less sure about right tackle J.B. Shugarts, however.

Both tailbacks are nursing ankle injuries. Herron suffered his late in the 34-20 win over Indiana last week. He did not play the final series, but he felt good enough to come off the sideline and congratulate replacement Carlos Hyde with a leaping hip bump after Hyde scored the final touchdown of the game.

"Boom was sore Sunday. He was able to move around and felt better than the week before, so I would believe he'll be all right today to move around some," Fickell said.

Hall, who started three games while Herron was suspended and served as the No. 2 tailback in his first two games back, missed the game with a sprained ankle suffered at the end of Ohio State's 33-29 win over Wisconsin one week earlier.

"Jordan we're still kind of curious on," Fickell said. "I would imagine and hopefully he'll be able to to. We'll hold him out a little bit today of doing some of the live stuff together, but we're hoping. We've obviously got to wait until later in the week to find out for sure."

The playing status of Shugarts, who missed part of the second half with a knee injury, is uncertain.

"We'll have to evaluate as the week goes along," Fickell said. "I don't think he'll be available today to do a lot of the different things, but J.B.'s a tough guy. He's been mentally pretty strong, and he's a competitor, so if there is any chance of him being out there, he'll be out there."

Shugarts was replaced by true freshman Antonio Underwood against the Hoosiers.

Fickell also gave no indication that his freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, was any worse for wear after taking a wicked hit to the midsection on a pass attempt in the fourth quarter.

Miller remained on the Ohio Stadium turf for several minutes before being helped off the field by team trainers, but he did not miss any snaps. He said after the game he suffered a hip pointer.

"You're going to have those as quarterbacks," Fickell said. "He didn't flinch, he threw the ball, delivered the thing perfect, on target. You're going to take some shots. Obviously a guy who runs the ball as much as he does, as much as he did in high school, is going to take some shots. It's part of being a quarterback."

He admitted to cringing a little bit any time the youngster absorbs a big blow, but Fickell said Miller has a knack for rolling with the punches.

"He's going to take some shots, just like everybody on the field," Fickell said. "We want to try to limit them, but I think he's feeling all right."

As he prepares his 6-3 Buckeyes to take on the 4-5 Boilermakers, Fickell said there will be a history lesson. Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium has not been kind to Ohio State in recent years.

As he prepares his 6-3 Buckeyes to take on the 4-5 Boilermakers, Fickell said his players will be made aware of the fact Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium has not been kind to them in recent years. Ohio State has lost three of the last five trips to West Lafayette, including a 26-18 setback in 2009 when the Boilermakers entered the game 1-5. Among the Buckeyes' wins is a 10-6 triumph only possible thanks to a last-minute touchdown pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins in 2002.

"If that's not enough to open your eyes and make sure you understand, it will be pounded home in '02 we went over there we're 14-0, won a national championship and won on the last play of the game. It's going to be a battle."

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