Some of OSU's offensive players recently mentioned that it will just take one good game to get the confidence back to where it was for the Washington game. Does Daniels agree?
"Well, yeah, I think so," he said. "I think the other thing - like (Jim) Tressel always says and I believe it - is that you take little steps. You hope that those little steps, that the players feel that too. So, yeah, we'd love to have a breakout game offensively against anybody. I don't care who. I'd like it to be real quick.
"So, I think that would happen. I think there is a confidence part; I don't think there is any question. The offensive guys start to feel good about themselves again and say, ‘You know, we know what we're doing is right.' And we as coaches have to make sure that they know what's right and they know what they're doing and try and build upon that."
Facing the league's last-place team, is this week's game more about what the Buckeyes' offense can do, rather than what Indiana does defensively?
"I think to a certain extent, you always do that," Daniels said. "I think first and foremost, you try to make sure what you are doing for your group of guys is correct, and we've tried to focus on that. Do we do it more this week? I can't say yes, but it's obviously always one of our focal points. So, we've got to make sure - as they say - that we take care of what we do. But you always have to keep an eye on what the opponent is doing. The schemes that they're using and take advantage of it in some aspects, hopefully. Or stay away from some other things, so what they do doesn't affect you negatively. So, it's the whole ball of wax."
It is expected to rain this Saturday in Bloomington. Daniels was asked how much adverse conditions can affect the offensive game plan.
"I don't think it changes the game plan, it changes what plays are selected from the game plan," he said. "A great example, to a certain extent, was Wisconsin. We had hoped that we could come out and early on… not throw every down, but we felt like we wanted to get that part of it established early. The rain was one thing, but then the wind and everything else combined with it. And part of it was that it came up so quickly. We're out there warming up and there's just a few sprinkles. And then all of a sudden, we went up in the press box and was sitting there watching it and said, ‘Holy cow, look at this.' So, yeah, it affects things, but I think what it does is affect your selection from within the game plan and how you're going to attack."
It seems like the few times the Buckeye offense spreads the field, it has had success. Daniels has a background in the spread offense, so he knows better than anybody that the spread attack can work.
"I think part of it depends on who you're playing," he said. "To a certain extent, when you spread the field, you do maybe, hopefully, have some more holes. I'm not one of those that spreads the field to throw it; I actually like to spread the field and run it. But, yeah, I think that happens sometimes. We've had some success in that area."
But isn't it clear that OSU is a better passing team than a running team this year? Shouldn't there be more of an emphasis on the passing game?
"Think of who you're asking that question," Daniels said with a grin. "So, obviously I'm always going to say, ‘Yeah, let 'er rip.' I always feel that way. But I also think - and always have been a believer - that the total offense is what's important. You know, what are we trying to accomplish? What do we want to do? Or what don't we want to do? A mistake free offense is critical for us. In that sense we're talking turnovers. Now, mistake free is also included as far as mental errors and missed assignments. We don't want that either."
With Lydell Ross, Maurice Hall and Ira Guilford all a little banged up this week, the situation at tailback has never been worse. Even Branden Joe got his shot this week, but Daniels doesn't think he's quite ready to go.
"I think the only one that's got a few reps at tailback has been Branden Joe," Daniels said. "But he's hurting too, to be honest with you. I'm not sure if he's 100 percent from that muscle tear. No one has said this to me, but I almost get the feeling sometimes that he maybe came back to soon. Spence (running backs coach Tim Spencer) said something today that maybe we could get a handful of plays out of him, whether it be fullback or tailback. But if he were 100 percent healthy, maybe Branden would be more involved in the offense."
Quarterback Craig Krenzel has been taking a little heat recently from media and fans and Daniels doesn't think it's warranted.
"Well, bottom line, I don't read the paper, or listen to the radio," he said. "So, somebody said something to me the other day about, ‘Have you thought about changing him?' No, it never even entered my mind. So, I don't know. If Craig's getting some heat, or taking some heat, I'll take your word for it. But, you know, yeah, I think it's unfair. He's going to be our guy. Something has to be drastically wrong (to put Scott McMullen in there). Not physically, I don't mean, but I mean the day has to be brutal before I think we would even think about a change. Because, you know, bottom line, and I've said it before, the whole thing about this is that trophy right there (points to the national championship trophy). There's something to that over there. We won it last year. We earned it, we won it.
"Somebody might say, ‘You know you're 114th?' Well, what were we last year? I have no clue (reporter says 70th). Seventieth? Does the 70th team offensively win the national championship?
"We'd love to be better. But if you take a couple of our games and a couple of our plays here and there, add those up, that doesn't put us up to No. 5, but we're not 114th. So, those are some of things that we can control. We've got to catch a few of those passes; we've got to put the pass where we can catch it a couple of times; we've got to not miss a block on a run. But it's not like panic time. We know what we have to do and we're going to try like heck to do it. And I think our guys - coaches and players - had a very good week of practice, so let's see what happens."