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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Fickell making mistake with QBs, needs to pick Miller

By Marla Published: September 20, 2011

Ohio State coach Luke Fickell is guaranteed nothing after this season, taking over after Jim Tressel's forced resignation on May 30. So it's time for Fickell to fight for the job, which means starting the quarterback who gives the Buckeyes the best chance to win the rest of the season.

That is true freshman Braxton Miller.

Granted, Miller has had a problem with fumbles. He's thrown an interception on a tipped ball. Under Tressel, taking care of the football was the No. 1 priority for the quarterback. That might be the focus in a normal season, but this year has seen nothing resembling normal.

There's a reason fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman, 25, has been a career backup. He has to be losing the respect of his teammates, especially those on defense, after completing just 2 of 14 passes for 13 yards in Saturday's loss at Miami.

OSU is lacking its top playmaker on offense in receiver DeVier Posey, suspended for two more games. No one is sure how soon he will regain the top receiving spot. In his absence, Miller has the athleticism and running ability to spark a lethargic offense, just as Terrelle Pryor did during his freshman year.

If Fickell wants to play it safe and trust he'll find another job, he can stick with Bauserman. But if I'm looking at Fickell to lead my team next season, I want a coach who fights as hard as he expects his players to fight. And in my mind, that isn't a man who settles for Bauserman because he makes fewer mistakes.

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