For the last few weeks, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has indicated that Chris Worley was expected to return from a foot sprain suffered against Army on Sept. 16.

Yet the middle linebacker didn’t play against Rutgers or Maryland and played in a limited role against Nebraska last week, mostly in nickel situations. Redshirt freshman Tuf Borland has played well in Worley’s place. On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano hedged a bit when asked if Worley would be the starter when fully healthy.

“I think,” Schiano said. “We’ll have to see when he’s healthy where we are. I hate to ever predict that stuff because everything is so fluid. We may move a guy to another linebacker position and (have) Chris play. Who knows? What we try to do is deal in the present, and right now we felt he could handle those nickel reps.”

Schiano said that he knows Worley wants to play more.

“I just want to make sure that we don’t set him back to where he can’t help us when we need him,” he said.

Schiano said foot injuries can be particularly tricky.

“When you’re a football player and you have something wrong with your foot, it’s hard because every cut, every step, wears on it,” he said. “We’ve really tried to be careful with his workload. If you’ve ever dealt with that, if it goes the wrong way, it can really go bad fast.

“I think he feels better. All indications are that he does. We just have to be smart.”

Buckeyes scrimmage

With Ohio State off this week, coaches are striking a balance between beginning preparation for next week’s game against Penn State and getting a needed break.

Coach Urban Meyer said on his radio show Thursday that players would have a modified scrimmage later in the day. It would consist of about 60 plays but not in full pads.

“Today will be what we call a coordinators practice,” Meyer said. “The only people are the coordinators (Kevin Wilson and Greg Schiano) and myself.”

Other assistants are out on recruiting visits.

Nonstarters will have a light practice Friday. All players are off this weekend. The team will reconvene at 6 a.m. Monday.

Root for whom?

A caller on Meyer’s radio show asked him who he would root for in Saturday’s Michigan-Penn State game.

“I just can’t ever imagine cheering for our rivals,” Meyer said.

Defensive end Nick Bosa said he is also rooting for Penn State.

“I want them to be on their high horse coming in here,” he said. “So I’m excited to watch that. I hope they win coming in here ranked No. 2 in the country.”

 

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch