Tressel Fields Questions As OSU Preps For Purdue

OSU head coach Jim Tressel met with the media earlier this afternoon to discuss the game with Purdue, the final home appearance for his 26 seniors, his team's injury status and more. Click this free link for some of his key comments.

OSU coach Jim Tressel normally brings several players with him to his weekly press luncheon, but with it being Veterans Day and the team on a different schedule he flew solo today. Here were some of the high points from his 40-minute press conference with the media:

* On Purdue -- "I think when you thought of Purdue before the season, we all knew they had 18 of 19 starters back and they could be an outstanding group. I'm sure we all had the feeling that on Nov. 15 they would be here, contending for the Big Ten title, which they are.

"Offensively, they have made the commitment to be a balanced team with the run and the pass. I'm sure they believe they could line up and run the ball 40 times and be successful. Or they could make the decision to throw it 50 times, too. But I think they would like to be somewhere in between.

"Kyle Orton does a great job of running their attack. They have great receivers and a veteran offensive line.

* On Purdue's defense -- "I think their defense, you had to say coming into the year, would be one of the best in the Big Ten and the country. The numbers bear out that they are. They are in the top three or four in most categories in the league.

"They have a great free safety with unbelievable speed in (Stuart) Schweigert. The defensive end, (Shaun) Phillips, he's special. The strong safety (freshman Bernard Pollard) is about the only new guy in the lineup.

"We had our hands full trying to make yards against them a year ago. Purdue will be the stiffest test we've faced in 2003."

* On this being the final home game for 26 seniors -- "Our seniors have done a great job. They have played well and they have played hard. They have led well. To have a chance to finish their college home career with a game of this magnitude is special. We're looking forward to the challenge.

"What makes it even more special is they've been so extraordinary both on the field and in the locker room. The reality is this is their last time in the stadium. They had a little feeling of that in August, but today it's real. It's our job for the rest of us who will be there again to make sure that their last journey is a good one."

* On his team's injuries -- "One guy we are not going to have is (middle linebacker) Mike D'Andrea. His shoulder is banged up. We will know more tomorrow when we get the MRI back.

"Maurice Hall is not 100 percent. But if you ask me Maurice Hall has been a warrior. A lesser man may have pulled the reins in. Mo Hall wants to help the team.

"My feeling last week (late in the game) was that Mo Hall had been there, done that. I didn't think he needed to be banged around. Ira Guilford hasn't been there. I felt we should go with Ira, part of it in hopes that it would make Mo Hall healthier.

"The last thing I heard on E.J. Underwood is that he should be able to begin practicing football Dec. 5. That was the latest doctor's report I saw, so we should get him back this season (for the bowl)."

* On the LB rotation without D'Andrea -- "We feel both Fred Pagac and Robert Reynolds can play the Mike. A.J. (Hawk), Bobby Carpenter and Thomas Matthews can play the Will. Rob, Bobby and Jason Bond can all play the Sam. We will be one less in the depth. Where I think we will lose Michael is on the special teams."

* On the emergence of DB Tyler Everett -- "Tyler is coming along. He is a smart player. He's where he is supposed to be. He played in our dime package last week and maybe had 40 plays. He graded a winning performance. Plus, he's been a very good soldier on our special teams."

* On his team's standing in the BCS -- "We're third -- I checked because I knew you were going to ask. What I think is this: There is no way we can go up if we don't win and if we don't win, that's the way it is."

* On the hoopla surrounding the BCS ladder -- "Any time people talk about who's going to make the playoffs or get the wild card, that's interest in your game -- as long as it's not us (talking). We need to concentrate on Purdue or we will join the throng of people next week who all they have to do is talk about it."

* On whether he has studied what his team needs to do to finish second in the BCS -- "Have I crunched the numbers? No. I try and spend my time trying to figure out what we're going to do on third-and-4 from the left hash."

* On where he voted OSU in the coaches poll this week -- "I don't know ... or should I say I don't remember. You're trying to get me fired from the coaches poll."

* On why Michigan was able to rout Purdue 31-3 two weeks ago -- "Michigan did an outstanding job of hitting the big play. Then, from a defensive standpoint, they created turnovers. Those were the two wonderful things they were able to do."

* On whether his team can withstand four straight weeks of pressure packed games, three of them against ranked opponents -- "We all have an emotional fuel tank, if you will. As I look at our football team, I don't sense at all that we're running low on emotional fuel. It's pretty obvious what's out there. I read one time, 'Goals create energy.' Our goals are still out there."

Also Notable

* ESPN "College Game Day" will originate from the south lawn of St. John Arena for the second time this year. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso also attended the Washington game to open the season.

* OSU defensive end Will Smith is a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the country's top end and is also one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award. Smith leads OSU with 9-1/2 sacks and 17-1/2 tackles-for-loss.

* With two regular season games and a bowl game left, the seniors have compiled a 38-10 record since the start of the 2000 season.

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