Ohio State freshman J.T. Barrett is the likely candidate to take over for Braxton Miller at quarterback. (Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)
Columbus, Ohio — When star quarterback Braxton Miller cried out in pain and crumpled to the ground during No. 5 Ohio State’s practice on Monday, coach Urban Meyer wasn’t certain what had happened.
“Oh, it was devastating. It was a bad deal,” Meyer said Wednesday. “First of all, I didn’t see exactly what happened and I thought someone hit him. I went berserk, saying, ‘What happened?’ (The coaches) looked at me and I asked, ‘No one hit him?’”
No, no one tackled or was even rushing the two-time Big Ten player of the year and Heisman Trophy candidate. Still coming back slowly from February surgery on his right shoulder, it took just a 7-yard pass — with no one around — to sideline Miller for the season. This time, he had sustained a torn labrum.
Rabid Buckeyes fans have had a mournful look on their faces ever since word leaked out about Miller’s injury. But tight end Jeff Heuerman wants to reassure them that the players haven’t given up.
“We’ll bounce back. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not going to forfeit any games and you’re not going to quit,” he said. “We’ve been through adversity before, so it’s just another stepping stone and we’ll get through it.”
The Buckeyes will replace Miller with redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who has never taken a snap in a college game. Barrett has the backing of his teammates.
“He’s very focused,” linebacker Curtis Grant said. “He’s a very mature kid. He’s going to be fine.”
In a statement issued by Ohio State on Tuesday night, Miller said, “My goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever.”
Kent State’s Jason Bitsko, who was slated to start at center this season, died from an undetermined medical issue, the school said.
... Florida Atlantic is naming its stadium Howard Schnellenberger Field, after its former coach.
... Central Florida’s season opener in Ireland next week against Penn State might be in peril because of a possible volcanic eruption in Iceland. UCF departs for Ireland Aug. 26 for its Aug. 30 game.