Big Ten: Jaamal Berry

By now, you've seen where several Big Ten recruits stack up in the final ESPN 300 for 2013. Check back in three or four years to see who met expectations and who did not.

What about the most decorated Big Ten recruits from four years ago? In preparation for national signing day Feb. 6, the folks at RecruitingNation took a look back at the ESPN 150 from 2009 (there wasn't an ESPN 300 back then) and recorded what each recruit did at the college level.

A total of 21 Big Ten recruits made the 150 from 2009. Some turned out to be stars, others never got on track and a few haven't written the final chapter of their college careers.

Let's take a look (positions listed according to ESPN recruiting profiles):

Top 50

  • No. 22: Jaamal Berry, RB, Ohio State -- Played sparingly in 2010 and 2011 before off-field issues led to a suspension. Transferred to FCS Murray State and recorded 675 rush yards this past season.
  • No. 32: Dorian Bell, LB, Ohio State -- Appeared in eight games for Ohio State in 2010 before being suspended the following year and eventually transferred to FCS Duquesne, where he performed well in the 2012 season.
  • No. 47: Craig Roh, DE, Michigan -- Started 51 games for Michigan, a team record, and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in each of the past two seasons.
Nos. 51-100

  • No. 67: Je'Ron Stokes, WR, Michigan -- Played sparingly at Michigan before the coaching transition from Rich Rodriguez to Brady Hoke. Transferred to Bowling Green and caught 15 passes this past season.
  • No. 69: David Barrent, OT, Michigan State -- Played in seven games as a reserve before back problems ended his career in May 2011.
  • No. 74: Eric Shrive, OT, Penn State -- Shrive appeared in every game as a reserve guard in 2012 and could compete for a starting job in 2013.
  • No. 81: Quinton Washington, G, Michigan -- Washington has moved to defensive tackle and entered the starting lineup in 2012, recording 32 tackles and a sack.
  • No. 87: Terry Hawthorne, WR, Illinois -- Hawthorne played mostly cornerback at Illinois and made starts in all four seasons, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in each of the past two. He also returned kicks and punts and should be selected in April's NFL draft.
  • No. 88: C.J. Barnett, CB, Ohio State -- Barnett has been a mainstay in Ohio State's secondary the past two seasons, recording 56 tackles, two interceptions and six pass breakups in nine games in 2012. He is expected to start at safety for the Buckeyes in 2013.
  • No. 94: Isaiah Bell, S, Michigan -- Bell didn't play a snap for Michigan before leaving the program in March and playing for Division II Lake Erie College this past season.
  • No. 99: Jamie Wood, S, Ohio State -- Wood has appeared in 30 games for the Buckeyes, mostly on special teams, but has battled shoulder problems and underwent surgery last fall.
Nos. 101-150

  • No. 101: Denard Robinson, athlete, Michigan -- Who's this guy? Robinson started three seasons at quarterback for the Wolverines, setting an NCAA quarterback rushing record as well as many other milestones. He was the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 and finished his career with 4,495 rush yards, 6,250 pass yards and 91 touchdowns.
  • No. 112: Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State -- Had a breakout season in 2010 as the starter, rushing for 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns. But he lost his starting job to Le'Veon Bell in 2011 and declared for the NFL draft after the season. He was a seventh-round pick of the San Diego Chargers and spent most of 2012 on the team's practice squad.
  • No. 115: Kraig Appleton, WR, Wisconsin -- Had three receptions in the 2009 season before being suspended the following spring and eventually leaving school. He was the victim of a shooting in July 2011 but survived.
  • No. 116: Keenan Davis, WR, Iowa -- Started the past two seasons and finished second on the squad in receptions in both years (47 in 2012) but never blossomed like many thought he would.
  • No. 124: Melvin Fellows, DE, Ohio State -- Fellows played sparingly in five games in 2010 but endured chronic knee problems that eventually forced him to take a medical harship, ending his career.
  • No. 126: Jack Mewhort, C, Ohio State -- Mewhort saw the field a lot early in his career at guard and moved to left tackle last season, where he flourished. He'll help anchor Ohio State's offensive line in 2013.
  • No. 128: Moses Alipate, QB, Minnesota -- Has been a nonfactor so far in his career. Switched from quarterback to tight end and checks in at 6-foot-5, 297 pounds.
  • No. 131: Duron Carter, WR, Ohio State -- Saw the field early in his Buckeyes career before academic problems eventually forced him to leave for a junior college. He transferred to Alabama but never played because of academics and transferred again to Florida Atlantic, where he sat out the 2012 season.
  • No. 144: Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan -- Forcier started the 2009 season, led Michigan to a memorable win against Notre Dame but struggled down the stretch and lost his job to Robinson in 2010. Academic issues sidelined him for the 2011 Gator Bowl, and he left school weeks later. Although he transferred to San Jose State, he never played.
  • No. 148: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan -- Lewan has been a mainstay for Michigan's offensive line, earning Big Ten offensive lineman of the year honors in 2012. Projected as a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Lewan surprised many by deciding to return to Michigan for his senior season.

An interesting mix, for sure. Lewan, the last player listed, might turn out to be the most successful. So few of the Big Ten's top 100 recruits panned out, and Ohio State fans have to be shaking their heads a bit at this list, as only Mewhort and Barnett look like success stories. There were unfortunate injury situations like Michigan State's Barrent and Ohio State's Fellows, some academic casualties (Carter, Forcier), and a downright sad story with Appleton. Baker was the only player on the list to make an early jump to the NFL.

Although several players didn't pan out, Michigan undoubtedly has to feel the best about the 2009 class as Robinson produced a record-setting career, Roh was a solid player, Lewan is a star and Washington could be a star in 2013.

Eight Big Ten teams are represented on the 2009 list. Those that aren't: Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue.

RecruitingNation also re-ranks the top 10 classes , with both Ohio State (No. 9) and Michigan (No. 10) holding their positions.

Big Ten lunch links

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
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If you're yearning for even more Big Ten media days coverage and the like, here ya go ...
Almost exactly three years after signing with Ohio State as the team's top recruit in the 2009 class, running back Jaamal Berry likely will part ways with the program.

Berry's attorney told The Columbus Dispatch that Berry is no longer part of the Ohio State football team. A Columbus prosecutor assigned to Berry's assault case told The Lantern that Berry likely will transfer from the school. Berry remains on scholarship and is still listed on the team roster, but he hasn't participated in team activities since his suspension in October.

Berry's high school coach told The Dispatch, "From the conversation he had with the coaches, it didn't appear that they were excited about him being [there]."

It's an unfortunate end to a promising career blighted by injury and off-field troubles. Before arriving on campus, Berry was arrested for felony marijuana possession (the charge later was reduced to a misdemeanor). He redshirted as a freshman in 2009 after being slowed by a hamstring injury but played in 2010 and showed some promise as a kick returner. Berry entered 2011 with an opportunity to secure more playing time, but his hamstring flared up in the preseason and he never got on track.

In September, he was taken to OSU Medical Center for tests after an on-campus altercation with a student. He then was charged with assault and disorderly conduct after an Oct. 21 incident when a man accused Berry of hitting him with a closed fist.

Larry Coffey, who coached Berry in high school in Florida, told The Dispatch that the expectations might have gotten the best of Berry in Columbus.
"It was a wasted opportunity for him and for Ohio State," Coffey said. "He had the opportunity to go anywhere in the country. He chose Ohio State, and it didn't work out. Hopefully, he'll go somewhere else and have success on and off the field."

Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said last week that additional roster spots would be opening up in the near future. Berry's seems to be one.

Meyer said the Buckeyes ultimately will get down to 81 scholarships, one below their limit for the next three seasons. Ohio State remains in the running for recruit Stefon Diggs, who will announce his college choice Friday.

Big Ten Friday mailblog

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
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Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Nate from Moline, Ill., writes: Hey Adam,I read your article about Illinois hiring Gonzales and the positives and negatives associated with it. I agree that it's great that's he's been around a TON of winning, has produced a great amount of NFL talent, and is an excellent recruiter. However, I don't agree with some of the negatives. LSU's offense has been pretty efficient. They just haven't ranked higher because they have struggled with QB play.

Adam Rittenberg: Nate, that's a good point. I was only noting that hiring LSU's pass game coordinator a few days after the BCS title game debacle might sway fan perception a bit. Billy Gonzales is a very good recruiter and developed plenty of NFL wide receivers at Florida. It'll be interesting to see how he fares as the primary playcaller at Illinois. LSU has struggled at the quarterback position, while Illinois has had mixed results with Nathan Scheelhaase. It'll be important for Gonzales to help Scheelhaase recapture the form he showed early this season and in the 2010 Texas Bowl. It's interesting that Illinois' last two offensive coordinators -- Gonzales and Paul Petrino -- both have worked with wide receivers more than quarterbacks.


Michael from St. Louis writes: In the final third of the season, it felt like Nebraska was held back most by its lack of a down-field passing threat, particularly on third-and-long. Would Taylor Martinez overhauling his throwing mechanics help matters in 2012, or would it do more harm than good?

Adam Rittenberg: Michael, you mean you don't like the T-Magic shot put? His mechanics are what they are, and I don't know how much tweaking you can expect. He did throw the ball well at times, like in the games against Ohio State and Northwestern. But I also think Nebraska's wide receiving corps will be much better in 2012 as players like Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner get another year of experience under their belts. Most offenses aren't built to succeed in third-and-long, and Nebraska's is no exception, but I do see the Huskers getting more production in the passing game and particularly more YAC (yards after catch) from Bell and the others.


Josh from East Lansing, Mich., writes: What do you expect out of Michigan States receivers for next year? Gaining Arnett was a big addition, but outside of him nobody is proven. Do you think Aaron Burbridge and Juwan Caesar can be a big enough impact as freshmen to make MSU a top team for next year?

Adam Rittenberg: Josh, young players certainly will have opportunities to see the field in 2012 for Michigan State. DeAnthony Arnett should be in the mix if he gets his NCAA waiver. Bennie Fowler didn't play much this season but showed some promise in 2010 and likely will be a part of the plan. After that point, you're looking at young guys like Burbridge and Ceasar. I also think Michigan State will return to more of a run-based offense in 2012 with a more experienced offensive line and Le'Veon Bell back in the fold.


Eric from Chicago writes: Adam,There's one issue related to the Penn State situation that never gets addressed. Being that Paterno, Curly, McQuerry, et al interviewed in front of a grand jury why was every thing such a shock to Penn State when this news became public? Penn State knew about this months before it became public so how did they not have a plan in place for handleing it from a public relations standpoint?

Adam Rittenberg: Eric, I'd disagree that this issue hasn't been discussed. It's very much in the minds of Penn State fans and alumni who want answers from the school's administration. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reported Jerry Sandusky being the subject of a grand jury investigation back in March. People at Penn State clearly knew about the report, but it certainly seemed like the school was unprepared for the storm in November. Penn State has been playing catchup from a public relations standpoint from the beginning.


Paul from Grand Rapids, Mich., writes: Hey Adam, what are the odds that Cardale Jones could make a push against Braxton Miller? I love Braxton, but Cardale looks like a Vince Young re-incardalded(haha). Braxton might be a better runner, but Cardale sure looks like a solid runner with a rocket for an arm. Am I crazy? Also what about the running backs? What is the order looking like?

Adam Rittenberg: Paul, I'd say you're a bit nuts on the Miller-Jones thing, but who knows? Maybe I'll be the crazy one a year from now. I do think Miller will thrive in Urban Meyer's offense, which will give him much more freedom to create and make plays, which is what he does best. Although Ohio State should keep other quarterbacks in the mix, the coaches seem very excited about Miller and for good reason. The running back rotation will be very interesting, to say the least. Jordan Hall has experience and versatility as a guy who can catch passes out of the backfield. Smaller backs typically thrive in the spread, and both Hall and Jaamal Berry seem to fit the profile. Berry has to get his off-field issues straightened out, but he's clearly a talented player. I'm interested to see what happens to a guy like Carlos Hyde, who looked good at times during the 2011 campaign but might not be the best fit for this system.


Dam from Miami writes: Read your column about football players running track in the spring. Was curious if any B1G football players play any other sports like basketball? I know in the late 90's early 2000's there were many football athletes who doubled to play basketball as well like Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzales, etc...

Adam Rittenberg: Dam, it's becoming less and less common as football is a year-round activity and specialization is encouraged more these days. You see football players run track in other leagues more than you do in the Big Ten. As a guy who grew up cheering for Cal's Tony Gonzalez at both Memorial Stadium and Harmon Gym, I wish we'd see it more. The Big Ten has had some football players also play basketball, like Michigan State wide receiver/forward Matt Trannon. Purdue tight end Patrick Bade played two years of basketball for the Boilers before joining the gridiron squad, but he no longer does both.


Keith from Phoenix writes: Hi Adam love the blog. A lot has been made about how UM's schedule is hard in 2012 similar to how hard MSU's was in 2011. My question is whose schedule is harder? They are similar in the challenging road games but MSU had Wisconsin and UM at home after a bye week while UM travels to Dallas to take on Alabama and has MSU at home. Another key factor is how OSU improves under Urban Meyer compared to Luke Fickell.

Adam Rittenberg: Keith, it's a little tough to assess this without knowing how good certain teams will be in 2012. But it appears as though Michigan will play a tougher schedule than Michigan State did this past season. The Alabama opener increases the degree of difficulty by a lot. Like MSU, Michigan will visit both Notre Dame and Nebraska -- the two places where the Spartans stumbled during the regular season. I also think Michigan will face a much better Ohio State team than the one the Spartans faced this season. But again, it's hard to tell at this point. We should get a very good gauge of the Michigan program after the 2012 season.


Jesse from Superior, Wis., writes: Will Russell Wilson's performance at Wisconsin this season encourage other athletic quarterbacks to consider Wisconsin a place to excel? I think Wilson's numbers prove that a quarterback with skills can have plenty of success, especially under Bielama. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Jesse, Wisconsin's appeal for quarterbacks certainly has increased because of Wilson. The Badgers have a highly touted QB recruit (Bart Houston) arriving next year, and Bielema said he heard from several quarterbacks looking to transfer (Dayne Crist among them). The key for Wisconsin going forward is replacing offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. Wilson thrived under Chryst, and Chryst's system can prepare quarterbacks for the next level. Wisconsin will keep a similar identity on offense with its next coordinator, but the new coach and the new assistants on the offensive side will be integral in luring signal callers who boast Wilson's skill set and potential.


Lance from Greensboro, N.C., writes: Adam,Just read your chat transcript. I'm a little surprised that you'd be against a 16 team playoff, and even have problems with an 8 team. While I'm not a playoff fan myself, if there is one I think you have to give automatic bids to the conference champs. Even if you limit this to the BCS conferences, that means 6 of the slots are taken, which doesn't give much room for deserving at-large teams. And if you don't give bids to the other FBS conference champs, that seems unfair. If you don't give automatic bids, you really hurt deep balanced conferences where it's really hard to run the table and help top heavy conferences (remember when FSU played for a national championship every year because there was no way they'd ever fail to go 8-0 in the ACC?). What do you think?

Adam Rittenberg: Lance, a 16-team playoff would be a logistical nightmare with different schools having final exams at different times and so forth. I'd be in favor of an eight-team playoff if it was organized the right way. I might be in the minority, but I still believe the bowl experience is a nice reward for the players. I'm also not crazy about having the Big East champ or the ACC champ in a playoff every year, especially over more deserving teams that didn't win their league. I would have liked to have seen Arkansas in a playoff this year. Same for Stanford. I didn't need to see Clemson or West Virginia. I'd rather tweak the BCS formula or have a committee select the eight most deserving teams based on a specific criteria. The champions from leagues like the SEC, Big 12 and most likely Big Ten and Pac-12 would be in the playoff most seasons, but I don't think there should be automatic bids.

Jordan Hall doubtful for Buckeyes

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
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Ohio State's depth at tailback -- and maybe even more importantly, its kick return game -- has taken another hit. Head coach Luke Fickell said Thursday that Jordan Hall, the team's No. 2 running back, is "probably doubtful" against Indiana because of an ankle injury.

If Hall can't go, that would be two running backs unavailable for the Buckeyes. Jaamal Berry was suspended this week after he was charged with assault.

But tailback depth shouldn't be too much of a problem for Ohio State. Dan Herron has been terrific since returning from his suspension, rushing for 274 yards in two games. Carlos Hyde, who ran for more than 100 yards against Nebraska before Herron came back, will be elevated to the No. 2 back. Hyde voiced his displeasure over his reduced role on Twitter and did not play last week against Wisconsin, but Fickell said Hyde has "kept his mind right."

"This could be a very good opportunity for him," Fickell said.

Rod Smith, who has been working out some with the Buckeyes' linebackers, will also be available at running back.

The bigger issue if Hall can't play might be on special teams. Hall ranks third in the Big Ten in kick returns at 30.2 yards per attempt. Last week, he returned a Wisconsin kick 42 yards to help set up the game-winning score.

Fickell said Corey "Philly" Brown, Chris Fields and Devin Smith could chip in on kick returns in Hall's absence, and Herron might get some work there, too.

The Buckeyes are heavy favorites to beat 1-8 Indiana at home this week, but Hall could be a key player down the stretch as they contend for the Leaders Division title.
Ohio State running back Jaamal Berry has been charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct stemming from an Oct. 21 incident in Columbus.

The charges were filed Wednesday and Ohio State suspended the sophomore pending the outcome of the case. Berry has an arraignment hearing scheduled for Dec. 1.

UPDATE: As expected, Ohio State suspended Berry "for violating the university's student-athlete code of conduct." Berry will remain suspended until the charges are resolved, the team said in a statement.

The alleged victim last week filed a civil lawsuit against Berry.

This continues a troublesome period for Berry, who also was involved in a Sept. 28 incident that Ohio State University police described as an assault. He was treated at OSU medical center and released, and charges were never filed in the incident.

Berry dressed for Saturday's game against Wisconsin but didn't play. He has appeared in five games this season.

It's unfortunate to see what has happened to Berry, a heralded recruit from Miami who arrived at Ohio State amid a great deal of hype. Ohio State is loaded at running back and won't miss Berry too much on the field. You just hope he starts to clean things up off the field.

Wisconsin-Ohio State pregame

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A few notes from warmups here at The Shoe, as we get ready for No. 15 Wisconsin and Ohio State.
  • Ohio State running back/return man Jaamal Berry is dressed and went through warmups. Berry's status hasn't changed despite being named a suspect in an alleged assault last week and being sued by the victim. We'll see if Berry actually plays or not.
  • Wisconsin RB Montee Ball and S Dezmen Southward, both of whom were banged up last week at Michigan State, went through warmups and don't appear to be limited.
  • Ohio State's throwback uniforms to honor its 1961 national championship team certainly have the retro look. They also look a little like pajamas. Anyone agree?

Big Ten lunch links

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
12:00
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Every Halloween I tell him the same thing: you can't bring weapons into the office. And every year he says the same thing: as soon as I get my weapons back, I'm gonna kill you.
Ohio State coach Luke Fickell confirmed on Thursday that sophomore Kenny Guiton is the team's new backup quarterback.

Guiton, who started seeing increased reps before the Illinois game, has zoomed past senior Joe Bauserman on the depth chart. Bauserman started the Buckeyes' first three games but struggled mightily against better competition and couldn't get anything going while relieving an injured Braxton Miller in the second half at Nebraska. Now it would be Guiton going in if anything happened to Miller in Saturday's game against Wisconsin.

Fickell said he would still be comfortable using Bauserman but has liked the way Guiton has performed in practice.

“Kenny’s done a great job," Fickell told reporters. "[It's] his ability to have some energy and continue to fight throughout everything to get better, his ability to jump in on special teams ... You want people out there who have emotion and can give you something. There’s still a plan for both of those guys. Both have a role, and I think whatever is needed they are all willing to do."

Fickell also said there is no change yet in the status of running back/kick returner Jaamal Berry, who is a suspect in an alleged assault. He said the team is waiting on the legal system to run its course before making a determination on a possible suspension.
Ohio State running back/return man Jaamal Berry is a suspect in an alleged assault that took place early Friday morning in Columbus.

No charges have been filed, but athletic director Gene Smith is aware of the situation and told The Lantern, Ohio State's student newspaper, that Berry will be suspended if he's charged in the incident.
The latest incident occurred at 2:20 a.m. Friday on Vine Street, behind North Market, and involved a 21-year-old non-OSU student. The victim was "struck in the face with a closed fist," according to the Columbus police report. ...

The victim, who The Lantern has chosen not to name at this time, said that Berry and his friend were yelling vulgar remarks at him. After asking why they were yelling, the victim said that Berry crossed the street and punched his friend, and then punched him in the face with a closed fist.

Last month, Berry was treated and released from OSU Medical Center for a health issue after being involved in what university police called an assault. No charges were filed in the case.

Berry has appeared in five games this season and has seven kickoff returns for 150 yards and 169 all-purpose yards.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's an overcast, cool game with a threat of some rain here at Ohio Stadium. The weather could potentially impact the passing game, which probably favors Ohio State more than Michigan State.

Buckeyes running back Jaamal Berry, who was reportedly involved in an unusual and still unclear incident which required that he seek medical treatment earlier in the week, is in uniform and warmed up. So he must be OK. With the way Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde have been playing, Berry might not be needed.

For Michigan State, offensive lineman Jared McGaha (knee) returns from injury and should play at one of the guard spots. That should help a banged-up Spartans offensive line. Injured center Blake Treadwell (knee) did not make the trip. Nose tackle Anthony Rashad-White also is back after missing last week's Central Michigan game, and wide receiver Keshawn Martin is available as well.
Jaamal Berry's status for Saturday's game against Michigan State is uncertain after the Ohio State running back/return man was treated for a health issue following an on-campus incident Wednesday morning.

The Ohio State student newspaper, The Lantern, reported Thursday that Berry was treated at OSU Medical Center and released after being involved in what university police called an "assault" on another student.

No charges have been filed.

From The Lantern report:
At about 10:25 a.m., two males were witnessed "wrestling on the ground" in the South Oval, according to the police report. The primary witness is a university employee who declined to comment, but said in the police report that Berry was muttering things such as "I don't know what is going on around me." The report said Berry "appeared confused and disoriented and was unable to tell me his name."

Ohio State team spokesman Jerry Emig said in a statement: "Medical professionals ran a battery of tests on [Berry]. So far, no medical issue has been identified but the evaluation is continuing. No legal issues are involved."

It's an unusual situation, and we'll see if anything more comes out.

Berry has appeared in three games this season and leads Ohio State in kick returns (7 returns for 150 yards.)
Luke Fickell confirmed on Thursday what every Ohio State fan hoped was coming: Braxton Miller is the Buckeyes' new starting quarterback.

The true freshman replaces senior Joe Bauserman a week after Bauserman struggled mightily at Miami, completing just 2-of-14 passes. Now it's Miller time against Colorado on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeBraxton Miller
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyBraxton Miller will get his first start Saturday against Colorado.
It's a bold choice considering that Fickell is basically putting the team in the hands of a very green player at the game's most important position, especially considering Fickell is only on a one-year contract. He's attaching his sail to a quarterback who's bound to make mistakes; Miller threw an interception and fumbled twice against the Hurricanes. The one thing you could say in Bauserman's favor was that he is nearly allergic to forcing throws into tight coverage and he values ball security.

But what other choice did Fickell have, really? It became pretty clear in the Toledo game and then painfully obvious in South Florida that Bauserman doesn't have the tools to be a big-time playmaker, at least not given the Buckeyes' inexperience at receiver. Were this a typical Ohio State offense not ravaged by suspensions and injury, then perhaps a game manager like Bauserman would be the correct choice to run the show.

This Buckeyes team, however, needs all the help it can get moving the ball forward. And Miller, for all he lacks in experience, has the one skill that's hard to replace: the kid can run away from defenders when there's trouble. Now defenses must constantly be aware of Miller's ability to tuck the ball and take off as well as his passing. The running game with Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry and Rod Smith is already the offense's strength, and now it has another option.

I'd say the passing game might be scaled back a bit now with a freshman under center, but could it really get any smaller than it was last week?

It's fascinating that Miller takes over as the starter in Game 4, just as Terrelle Pryor did in 2008 as a freshman. Of course, Miller would likely be wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard if Pryor were still in school. The Buckeyes would love for Miller to match Pryor's 8-1 record as a starter his freshman season.

But fans who expect Miller to come in and be the savior are probably unrealistic. He's a talented player, but he hasn't exactly lit the world on fire during his limited time in two games this season. The Ohio State offense still has issues in the receiving game, which may not be solved until DeVier Posey returns. The Buckeyes don't want to throw Bauserman overboard, but he can still help this team if Miller gets hurt or is ineffective.

And yet this move gives a boost of excitement not only to a fan base hungry for a change but potentially for a team that has had a rough two weeks on the field. The future begins now for Miller and the Buckeyes.

Big Ten chat wrap: Sept. 14

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
3:30
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We're only in Week 3, but you folks are in midseason form.

Excellent chat today, and I'm not just saying that because we talked about topics other than realignment for a change.

In case you missed it, here's the full wrap-up and some highlights.
Bucky (Phoenix): Adam, what's "worse" for league perception: OSU losing @ the U or MSU losing @ the winless Irish?
Adam Rittenberg (12:15 PM): Good question, Bucky. I think it's Ohio State losing to Miami, even though the Buckeyes are shorthanded. Until Ohio State loses a game and shows it's not the same program, it deserves the benefit of the doubt after a decade of dominance. A Michigan State loss doesn't hurt as much because so many folks think Notre Dame is a decent team and everyone agrees ND will be a desperate team Saturday in South Bend.
Carl (Chicago): Time for a less serious question. If you were a Big Ten mascot, which one would you be? Also what would Bennett be?
Adam Rittenberg (12:23 PM): Bennett would definitely be Lil' Red from Nebraska. ... I'd be Sparty.
Tim Rosini (Huntington Beach, Ca): Adam,Psu fan and big ten fan here living on the west coast. Isn't it clear to everyone outside of the Paterno family that, while Rob Bolden may not be the immediate reincarnation of Cam Newton, he is a soph. with a lot of talent and more room to grow than mgloin. No offense to Mgloin, Psu has what 2-3 games to re-shape, get confidence back and any other cliche analogy you can come up with football before the Big 10+2 schedule. What's your thoughts on the lack of leadership from the coaching staff in clearly making a decision that will stop holding the team back, and if they make that decision do they have a chance to improve and challenge for the leaders division?
Adam Rittenberg (12:26 PM): Tim, I totally don't get it. If these were both freshmen, I'd understand. If one player had transferred this summer and wowed the coaches in camp, I'd understand. But these are two guys with starting experience who competed throughout the spring and summer. What more do you need to see to make a decision? It sounds as though the coaches are worried about hurting someone's feelings or confidence by sitting them down. Sorry, that's part of the deal. I also agree that if Bolden is the guy, he should get some leeway and not have to worry about coming out of the game after every mistake. Give him time to grow.
JC (DC): Adam CRITICAL QUESTION: Whats the runningback rotation gonna look like for the Buckeyes vs Miami? Besides that 36 yd Td Carlos Hyde looked uninspiring to me against Toledo and I can't understand why we didn't see more of Jamaal Berry. Does Hyde get the start again? And how do Berry/Jordan Hall fit into this offense if so? I feel like we're starving for explosiveness...
Adam Rittenberg (12:50 PM): JC, Berry is still working his way back from a hamstring issue, but he could play a bigger role Saturday. Jordan Hall adds a key piece to the offense because he can play both RB and WR. I've actually liked Hyde a lot so far, but I agree more backs need to be rotated in there. I would start Hyde and mix in Hall for a change of pace. If Berry is healthy enough, I'd give him 5-8 carries because he has tremendous breakaway ability.

Thanks again for all of your questions and sorry to those whose questions weren't posted.

Let's do it again next week. Same time, same place.

Big Ten lunch links

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
12:00
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Getting closer to game day ...

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