Tressel Answers Questions On His Offense

Head coach discusses where he would like to see Buckeyes develop and contribute offensively.

As expected, in the wake of OSU's loss at Wisconsin, the questions at Jim Tressel's weekly press luncheon were sharp and pointy.

WTVN-AM sports director George Lehner got the ball rolling right out of the gate by asking Tressel, who calls the offense, exactly what his offense -- now ranked 109th out of 116 Division I-A teams -- was trying to accomplish.

"The first thing we are trying to do is make a contribution to what the team needs to win the game," Tressel answered. "I never wanted to necessarily say, 'I'm a run-and-shoot coach and we're going to do this.'

"Secondly, the thing we're trying to do offensively is find out what we are best suited to do. That is an ongoing study. We would like to be a team that can run and throw the ball equally well. We want to put pressure on the defense, all the while not turning the ball over and scoring when we have the opportunity.

"We want to be as balanced and efficient as we can be."

Against Wisconsin, OSU managed 271 yards total offense during a rain-plagued game. The rain subsided in the fourth quarter, when OSU picked up 126 of those yards -- all of those coming through the air.

"We went into the game believing if we could establish the pass we would have a chance to then establish the run," Tressel said. "We weren't able to do that early on because of the conditions. We felt if the conditions would get better we would be able to do that. As they did, we threw it better.

"But nowhere in the answer to this question do I think I have all of the answers."

Tressel was then asked what he thought the offense was at this point.

"I don't think we've had the continuity we need from an offensive line standpoint," he said. "We have challenged our veteran guys to have their career best years. It has been difficult with Alex (Stepanovich) banged up. Nick Mangold has stepped in and done a pretty good job.

"We don't have the running game continuity we need at this time. We are searching for that."

Tressel said he strives for his offense to rush for 200 yards and throw for 250. To date, though, OSU's best showing has been 345 yards total offense (142 rushing, 203 passing) in the season opening win over Washington.

"I may be archaic in my beliefs at times," Tressel said. "But I haven't seen a whole bunch of teams that throw for 300 and rush for 100 consistently be champions. We would like to seek to be the best on a consistent basis."

Tressel is hopeful that quarterback Craig Krenzel can build off his second-half performance at Wisconsin. But he knows a lot goes into the passing game.

"Your planning in the passing game always starts with your view of the protection," he said. "I think we are coming along there. We are making progress there."

Tressel was asked how Krenzel, who threw for 202 yards against UW, came out of the game.

"I think he was sore on Sunday," he said. "But I think in terms of the elbow injury, there were no ill effects there. He plays a tough position. There are not many tougher positions than quarterback. We are fortunate to have a pretty tough guy there."

Tressel updated the status of Stepanovich and defensive tackle Darrion Scott, who each started and played roughly half the game against UW.

"I like to think Alex and Darrion will be much better as I listen to the trainers," Tressel said. "We got back at 5 in the morning Sunday. We had a light workout and looked at the film. Yesterday was their day off. They were in for treatment. I think they should be much better."

Tressel debunked the notion that tailback Lydell Ross, who left the game in the third quarter, has not played through pain.

"When I went out on the field, Lydell did not have feeling in his left arm or left leg," Tressel said. "A quarter or so later, the trainer came to me and said he had been cleared to play.

"My opinion was that would not be the thing to do, to put him back into the game. I don't know I can feel what's inside his body. I haven't felt he's a guy who could be in there at times and he's chose not to.

"Lydell Ross, since he's been here, has had some excellent contributions. I don't have the perception he's let us down."

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