Talkin' Tressel: Miami Edition

Ohio State will kick off against Miami (Fla.) two days from now, and head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters Thursday morning for his final press conference of the week. Get the latest on the Buckeyes in this update.

Ohio State defensive end Nathan Williams continues to progress toward playing Saturday against Miami, but how much of a workload he will be able to handle remains unknown.

Speaking with reporters for the final time before the game against the Hurricanes (3:40 p.m., ESPN), Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said the test now is to see how Williams' healing knee responds to the increased workload he has experienced this week.

"Nathan looked real positive yesterday," the coach said. "The thing that you need to find out after a guy practices and he hasn't practiced is if there is any residual soreness and you take a half-step back. I was really pleased with the way Nathan looked yesterday."

The only other injury concern is with redshirt freshman center Corey Linsley, who injured his foot during the victory against Marshall. If the Miami game were today, Tressel said Linsley would not be available. Expected to fill his spot on the depth chart is fifth-year-senior and walk-on Scott Sika.

The Buckeyes have also welcomed in two newish members of their squad. Freshman running back Roderick Smith is in uniform and practicing after solidifying his academic status while Tressel confirmed that former Florida State cornerback and OSU recruit Dionte Allen has transferred into the program.

Allen will sit out this season and have one season of eligibility with the Buckeyes, Tressel said. A graduate of Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's, Allen has two teammates – Aaron Gant and Taurian Washington – on the roster this season.

"We tried to recruit him out of high school, so we had a relationship (with him)," Tressel said of Allen. "He would pop up here occasionally. When he decided that he wanted to get back closer to home, that was the No. 1 factor. Can he come in and help us? Ask me after I've seen him for 10 or 11 weeks on the scout team.

"His attitude is great. He's a fine young guy. He did a good job academically at Florida State so he transfers right in and he'll be on target and maybe get beyond his bachelor's. It's a positive thing."

As for Smith, Tressel said, "We haven't really done a whole bunch of conditioning things but he seems very attentive. He's really glued into watching and learning. He's chewing (running backs coach Dick Tressel)'s ear off the whole time. Catches the ball well. Willing to do whatever you ask of him, so I've been pleased with him."

After defeating Marshall by a 45-7 count Sept. 2, the Buckeyes got back to work with that Tressel termed "a good step" with Sunday's practice because the mistakes made in the game were still fresh in the minds of the players and coaching staff.

The Buckeyes had Monday off, and although Tuesday's practice was not as smooth Tressel said that was to be expected.

"Tuesdays are difficult days for us because you're shifting gears, you're facing a new look, you're trying to look at a couple things," he said. "My perspective is Tuesdays have never been one of those days where you say, ‘Boy, we're improving.' I thought yesterday you could see that we were improving a little bit on some things we're going to need to do. Obviously we need a good one today.

"The mental work that you do is as important between now and game time. I do hope we learn some lessons."

Wednesday's practice was moved up by about 45 minutes because without class in session Tressel said he simply wanted to get the players going.

Playing a high-profile opponent in the early going is nothing new for the Buckeyes, who have had recent home-and-home series with Texas, USC and now the Hurricanes.

"The thing that outweighs everything is that this is an experience that our guys will remember forever and it's an experience I think our fans will (too)," Tressel said. "I still hear from people who say ‘I was at the Texas game at home' or ‘I was down in Austin' or ‘I was out at USC' or whatever. A big part of athletics are memories, and they're going to have memories."

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