NEW ORLEANS - Ohio State had to go from plan A to plan B and plan C at the quarterback position this season. And just in case the situation calls for it, the Buckeyes have the Marshall plan to employ tonight when they take on Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl.

NEW ORLEANS - Ohio State had to go from plan A to plan B and plan C at the quarterback position this season. And just in case the situation calls for it, the Buckeyes have the Marshall plan to employ tonight when they take on Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl.

Hybrid back Jalin Marshall has spent much of his meeting time with offensive coordinator Tom Herman and the quarterbacks the past several weeks as the Buckeyes ramped up preparation for the game. Cardale Jones will get the start, and coaches prefer not to burn the redshirt year of freshman Stephen Collier, so Marshall - who played quarterback at Middletown High School - will be the primary reliever.

>> Not following @buckeyextra on Twitter? Just move to Michigan

"It's definitely an honor and a privilege to be here as one of the vital parts of the offense, but you've got to look past that because we have a game to win," said Marshall, a redshirt freshman. "Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do it, so I can't just go out there and be focused on myself. I have to do everything for the team.

"It's definitely a dream come true."

The coaching staff has have had to scramble to develop a package featuring Marshall, who has run several plays taking direct snaps out of the wildcat formation this season. He even threw two passes, and though he completed neither, he at least showed there was potential for the "winged" wildcat.

"Jalin has done a great job," coach Urban Meyer said. "Is it the ideal situation? I've made this comment over and over again: The one thing that's not allowed is there are no excuses. It is what it is. So, to answer your question, I feel very comfortable where we're at."

So does Marshall, but it took some work.

"Late nights, extra film, extra reps in practice, mental reps in practice, watching Cardale going through his reads, asking questions of (injured quarterbacks) Braxton (Miller), J.T. (Barrett), Coach Herman … just more extra work than I used to do," Marshall said. "I think it has helped me a lot because I think I should have been doing it at first anyway. So I think it's grown me up as a player, humbled me, and gotten me ready for this game."

Meyer expects Miller back

Reports have picked up in the past couple of days that Miller has a list of schools to which he might be considering a transfer. With his college degree in hand, Miller could play immediately in 2015 as a fifth-year player.

Meyer, however, said yesterday, "I don't expect that. We have had conversations, and I expect him to be back at Ohio State" next season.

Yeldon a game-time call

Alabama starting running back T.J. Yeldon has been bothered for a while by a hamstring strain and an ankle sprain. Coach Nick Saban said Yeldon has participated in drills all week and "looked better each day." But Saban added that the participation level for Yeldon will be a pregame decision.

His backup is Derrick Henry, who has played about as much as Yeldon this season.

The participation of Ohio State hybrid back Dontre Wilson, who suffered a broken foot on Nov. 8 against Michigan State, also could come down to a game-time decision. Wilson said earlier in the week that he expects to play, but the OSU coaches did not commit to that.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports