Though the return of running back Dan Herron and receiver DeVier Posey from NCAA suspension has been delayed for at least another game, left tackle Mike Adams is back for Ohio State, and coach Luke Fickell has put him right back into the starting lineup headed into the team's first-ever game at Nebraska on Saturday night.

Though the return of running back Dan Herron and receiver DeVier Posey from NCAA suspension has been delayed for at least another game, left tackle Mike Adams is back for Ohio State, and coach Luke Fickell has put him right back into the starting lineup headed into the team's first-ever game at Nebraska on Saturday night.

Not that fans of Andrew Norwell, starter at left tackle the first five weeks, should despair. He's now listed No.1 at left guard while the previous starter there, Jack Mewhort, has moved over to start at right guard to take the place of the suspended Marcus Hall. Yes, there still is a lot of coming, going and shifting with this troubled football program, but as Fickell said at his news conference today, life goes on.

Which is what he said he told the team when it was announced yesterday that Herron, Posey and Marcus Hall won't be available.

"We went with our three points of wisdom from John Wooden,'" Fickell said. "That's 'Don't whine. Don't complain. Don't make excuses.'

"That's what we've got to be able to do, and it starts from the top down with all of us coaches. Is it a kick? Is it something that's not easy? Yeah. We all feel that way. But we've also got to look at the things we are getting."

By that, he meant the return of Adams, one of the elite linemen in the Big Ten at season's end a year ago; and defensive end Solomon Thomas, who made the climactic interception in the Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas. Thomas has been banged up since then, along with being on the five-game suspension along with Adams, Herron and Posey, but at least he's eligible now.

"How many times have we said it: We're going to focus on what we have and not what we don't have," Fickell said. "We're going to focus on moving forward."

OSU fans no doubt also hope the Buckeyes focus on improving an offense that was inept the first 3 1/2 quarters last week before getting a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the 10-7 loss to Michigan State. Asked how he expressed his displeasure to his offensive staff, led by coordinator Jim Bollman, in the days following that game, Fickell smiled.

"I don't know that if I did get upset, that I would come in here and tell you about it, so ..." Fickell said. "We all have opinions, you know. We sit as a group ... and go over some things. Don't get me wrong, they see the film and areas of the game they could have gotten a lot better, and they've got ideas when it's all said and done.

"The key is that we still stay with our core fundamentals. ... Technique-wise we are going to play with great hustle ... and those things we're going to lack we're going to make up with emotion and toughness. Those are the things ultimately I am going to hound on."

Freshman Braxton Miller is still the starter at quarterback, even though senior Joe Bauserman produced the only touchdown after entering in relief in the fourth quarter last week.

Meanwhile, as has been the case the past several weeks, the Buckeyes go into today's practice not sure whether wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown or defensive end Nathan Williams will be able to play. Brown (high ankle sprain) has been out since the first half of the second game, while Williams (knee scope) has been missing from the lineup since the opener.

Fickell said there is a chance Brown could return, which would at least add to the wide receiver depth, depleted by the season-ending knee injury suffered by starter Verlon Reed on the late onside kick attempt against Michigan State, and stung by the revelation that Posey cannot step off suspension this week.

As for Williams, "I would doubt (he could return), based on what I saw Sunday," Fickell said.

tmay@dispatch.com