Tressel Hoping Week Off Helpful

Jim Tressel's weekly Ohio State football press luncheon included the latest news of the week as the Buckeyes get back to work in preparation for a visit from Penn State. The game matches the two winningest active coaches in Division I FBS, a fact Tressel was not excited to acknowledge.

At his weekly Tuesday press luncheon, Jim Tressel told reporters he was hopeful his Ohio State football team's week off allowed the 8-1 Buckeyes a chance to refill their emotional gas tanks.

"We had two real good practices on Wednesday and Thursday," the head coach said. "Our Friday was a little bit different. We broke it up into film work and lifting and short practice run-through-type things, but I thought we used our time wisely. Hopefully we'll be back on the field with a lot of enthusiasm and pep in our step.

"We did work out Sunday afternoon for about an hour and the guys seemed to be refreshed, so if we can have a good one this afternoon and another good one tomorrow and a good rehearsal on Thursday and be ready to go with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion."

The Buckeyes' opponent, Penn State (6-3, 3-2), knows something about emotion. The Nittany Lions will head to Ohio Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff one week after rallying from a 21-0 deficit to down Northwestern 35-21.

The victory represents the 400th of head coach Joe Paterno's long and distinguished career.

Asked if he felt it was better for the Nittany Lions to get that out of the way before facing his team, Tressel recalled being the victim of another Paterno milestone. Tressel's first Ohio State team coughed up an early lead en route to a 29-27 loss in 2001. That was Paterno's 324th win and broke former Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's record for Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) coaching victories.

"I'm not sure I would have wanted that double play," Tressel said. "But, no, I don't think it makes any difference."

Tressel was able to make a joke about himself, too, in regards to being reminded that Saturday's game in the Horseshoe will match the two winningest active coaches in the Division I FBS.

"Someone mentioned that two old coaches with the most wins or something are squaring off in this game and I'm not sure how I took that," said Tressel, who has 237 wins, including 102 at Ohio State and 135 at Youngstown State of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. "It means there's a huge disparity between one and two. That's the biggest thing it means to me. Where did all those guys go in between us two, or am I that close to there? I don't know."

As far as personnel news, Tressel reported he expects the return of linebackers Ross Homan (foot) and Dorian Bell (head).

Homan, who missed Ohio State's past two games with a foot injury, was able to take part in noncontact drills Sunday.

"The trainer said the key will be how he does two days in a row to see if there's any issues, but based upon after Sunday, I would say no doubt he and Dorian we would have back for sure unless something happens in the next two days," Tressel said.

Before the typical question-and-answer part of the weekly luncheon, Tressel and staff member Bob Tucker received the Patrick Henry award from the National Guard Association of the United States.

"Without question these individuals have each made significant contributions and provide unwavering support the men and women that serve this state and our nation," said Maj. Gen. Gregory L. Wayt, Ohio adjutant general. "I could not be more pleased that their efforts are receiving national recognition."

Said Tucker, who has led the organization of numerous activities involving military recognition events at Ohio State and helped facilitate gifts of game tickets to servicemen and women and their families, "It is a privilege to let people know we care about them."

The award recognizes local officials and civic leaders, who in a position of great responsibility distinguish themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard or NGAUS.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories