COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — 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 glumly on 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 said, '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 just 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 get through it by replacing Miller — with 8,346 yards of total offense and 84 passing and running touchdowns in his Ohio State career — 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. He just has to get his rhythm down with everybody and keep going forward."
Still, Miller's injury was a jolt to a team many had picked as a strong contender for a Big Ten title and a spot in the new four-team playoffs.
It was clear on Wednesday that Meyer was still shaken by the loss of Miller. He referred to the team's last two practices as "the day after" and "two days after." For at least a while, every point on the program's timeline will be judged in relation to the injury.
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