Anderson Doesn't Want To Relive 2001 PSU Trip

OSU co-captain Tim Anderson says he enjoys playing at Penn State's Beaver Stadium, although he did not enjoy the team's deflating 29-27 loss to the Nittany Lions two years ago. Also at today's luncheon, Jim Tressel discussed Drew Carter's injury, who will replace Carter at flanker and where he sees things are at with PSU coach Joe Paterno.

Few players on the Ohio State football team are as candid as senior defensive tackle and co-captain Tim Anderson.

Anderson and tailback Lydell Ross joined OSU head coach Jim Tressel at his weekly press luncheon today to look back at the Indiana win and ahead to Saturday's game at Penn State (3:30 p.m., ABC).

"They have a quality team and a great coach, obviously, in Joe Paterno," Anderson said. "They have great players. They're going to play this game tough."

Anderson said the Buckeyes can not be lulled to sleep by Penn State's dismal 2-6 record, including 0-4 in Big Ten play.

"You say they've only won two games," Anderson said. "I was looking at their records and their scores. There were three or four games they were within six points of winning. Obviously, without watching the games, I don't know what happened. But that tells me they were close and a couple plays from winning the game.

"Sometimes, records will reveal a lot. But sometimes they don't tell the whole story. They're 2-6, but I'm sure they're a lot better than that."

Anderson talked about going to picturesque Beaver Stadium, where more than 105,000 are expected on Saturday.

"It's a beautiful stadium," Anderson said. "It's probably one of my favorite stadiums. The atmosphere was great. The fans were great. It was pretty loud.

"Unfortunately, what I think about going there was giving up the 19-point lead two years ago."

PSU quarterback Zack Mills was an unknown redshirt freshman two years ago when he guided the Lions to a 29-27 win over the Buckeyes, a win that gave Paterno sole possession of the Division I-A career wins mark.

"I wouldn't say this is payback," said Anderson, who helped OSU down PSU 13-7 last year in Columbus. "That was a classic case where we played a great first half, but we didn't finish the game. That's one of the things you can talk about playing for 60 minutes. They did and they won the game."

Anderson believes OSU's senior leadership would preclude a similar collapse.

"I don't think we would let that happen," he said. "We would be out there trying to get guys up. Plus, a lot of us were on that team two years ago, so we remember how that felt. I don't think it would happen."

Anderson said he knows Mills would be gunning to have another big day against OSU.

"Obviously, he had a real good day that day," Anderson said. "I thought last year he was pretty good. I think this year he has missed a few games with injuries. I think he's had a pretty decent career there."

Anderson said he refuses to get caught up in the all of the talk about where the Buckeyes could be bowling this January.

"I know it kind of sounds cliche, but I don't worry about what's going to happen next week or what's going to happen in December," he said. "You can't. You have to worry about what's going to happen each week. If you start looking past a team, that's when they're going to beat you.

"It's pretty simple: We play Penn State this week and nothing else really matters. We can't worry about the polls. We have to focus on what we need to do to get better."

While he notes that it is nice for the Buckeyes that if they can win out they would be guaranteed the Rose Bowl, Anderson said he remains focused on the task at hand.

"It would be nice if we could do that, but we have to keep playing and get better every week," he said.

Carter: Out For Year

Tressel discussed the diagnosis on senior flanker Drew Carter, who suffered a knee injury against Indiana.

"Drew Carter had an MRI and he does have an injury," Tressel confirmed. "He'll be out for the year. That is devastating in my mind. As a senior, he was playing his best football. He has done everything Ohio State has asked of him for five years. He withstood some injuries and always had a positive attitude.

"We will line someone up there. Whether they will make the plays he has made remains to be seen."

Tressel did not specify the exact nature of the injury, but other sources have reported it as a torn ACL in his right knee. Tressel said Carter would undergo surgery when his knee regains some strength.

He was asked if there was any chance Carter, who missed the entire 2001 season due to knee and ankle injuries, could pursue a sixth year of eligibility.

"I haven't heard any talk of that," Tressel said. "Of course, we just evaluated the MRI yesterday. I don't think that has been checked on."

OSU's release listed redshirt freshman Santonio Holmes as the new starter at flanker with junior Bam Childress backing him. Junior Chris Gamble, the former starter there and now a full-time cornerback, also figures to play.

"I think we will look to some of the guys who have been playing there -- Santonio Holmes, Bam Childress and Chris Gamble," Tressel said. "Chris will help us some there. I think Roy Hall also has to step up."

Tressel was asked why Gamble's reps on offense have been so few and far between this year.

"One, he has been a little banged up," the coach said. "Two, with those early hot weather games, we were very concerned that we would overdo a guy and all of a sudden he didn't have enough left for the Big Ten season. Three, in those early games, people were throwing the ball 50 times a game. That's a lot of work and a lot of pressure on the secondary.

"If you add all of those things up, that is maybe why you didn't see Chris as much on offense.

"I think you may see more of him in our last four league games than you saw in the first four. I think he only saw three plays (on offense) in those games."

Also Notable

Tressel praised his team for putting its best foot forward last week at Indiana.

"We got something done last week that we hadn't done this year: We went on the road in the Big Ten and came out with a win," he said. "We jumped up quickly and I think our defense really set the tempo of the football game.

"I think we did a pretty darn good job from an execution standpoint. We are aware that was a young team that we played. I think the touchdown we scored right before the half may have been disheartening for their young team. Our guys kept playing."

Tressel described PSU, which has lost three games by eight points or less, as somewhat of a hard luck team.

"We know the challenge we have this week in going to State College," the coach said. "They are a big, strong and well coached football team. They have only been a play or two away from turning the tide in some of their tough losses in the Big Ten.

"I think one thing they knew before the season was at some positions Penn State was going to be young. But it is now game nine and it's November and they're not young any more."

Tressel was asked whether Penn State continues to maintain the recruiting advantage it has enjoyed through the years under Paterno.

"We recruit in Pennsylvania," Tressel said. "We haven't had great success in Pennsylvania and a lot of it has been because of Penn State. They have been fortunate to sign some of the players we were interested in. We don't bump into them as much in Ohio. But there are some Ohio guys who are anxious to see what Penn State has to offer.

"Pitt has done a good job. There was a little time there where they were not doing as well. But now they have had some moderate success and with the new facilities at Pitt, they've done a good job. Perhaps some of what Pitt has been able to do has affected Penn State."

Tressel was asked if it's possible the game has passed by the 76-year-old Paterno.

"Knowing Coach Paterno as I know him, I know no one is being more difficult on him than he is. He is a competitive guy. He wouldn't have been in coaching that long if he didn't have the passion to compete. They lost a lot of grest seniors. We know we will have a battle from the get-go."

Tressel also cited examples of how PSU has been revolutionary, even in recent years, noting the Lions were one of the first defensive teams to load up "the box" and how Mills' effective run-pass style inspired OSU to use Craig Krenzel in the same vein against Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl.

Finally, Tressel discussed Ross' emergence as OSU's feature back. He was the Big Ten player of the week last week after a 167-yard, three-touchdown effort against IU.

"Lydell gave us continuity in how he hit things up in there," he said. "He did a good job of keeping his shoulders square. He hit it to the play side and to the back side. It's good to have that continuity. It was good he was able to get 20-some carries.

"I like to have a guy who does that, then have another guy in the teens and another guy around seven or eight. I think that's a healthy way to spread it around."

Tressel was asked if Ross is now "the man" at tailback.

"If Lydell can promise me he will get that many yards again, he will get that many carries," he joked.

Tressel also mused that fullback Branden Joe called Ross' three-TD day "a hat trick."

Ross said he hopes the offense has finally found some consistency.

"I think we have something to build on and we need to continue that next week," he said. "We can't make as many mistakes if we want to be successful."

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