Spencer, Tucker Meet With Media

OSU assistants Tim Spencer and Mel Tucker provided reporters with a last-minute scouting report on Purdue, which visits Saturday. The assistants also addressed ongoing storylines involving players in their respective position groups.

OSU assistants Tim Spencer and Mel Tucker met with the media Thursday afternoon as the fourth-ranked Buckeyes were winding down preparation for Saturday's Big Ten showdown with No. 11 Purdue (3:30 p.m., ABC regional telecast).

Spencer indicated that a low scoring game -- similar to last year's 10-6 game won by OSU at Purdue -- could be in the offing.

"Points are always at a premium," Spencer said. "Look at the score from last year, 10-6. Turnovers, obviously, could be big. These will be two stellar defenses. I like their defense and, offensively, I know they do a lot of good things, too."

Here's more from Spencer:

* On fullback Branden Joe's emergence -- "He's getting healthy. He's a pretty good athlete. He's able to do a few more things because he's getting healthy. He should be able to contribute a lot more. I'd like to see him be able to do a little more on the blocking side."

* On Purdue defensive end Shaun Phillips, who has 12-½ sacks -- "They feature him. He is a great player, a super player who is very quick. It's apparent he likes to play the game."

* On why OSU struggled against Purdue last year -- "Purdue did a good job last year. They had a couple of weeks to prepare for us. When we looked at the film, we found some things we should have done. We saw some things we could have done, based on what they do."

* On the emergence of tailback Lydell Ross, coming off three straight 100-yard games -- "I think he's made some strides. He's more confident in what he can do and with his knowledge of the game. He has played with some things where maybe he doesn't feel right. He was struggling last week a couple of times, but he stayed in there. He's getting better at the right time. It's good to see that. He's a good kid who has had some unfortunate injury things.

"I think for him, it's been a combination of knowing what's going on and feeling healthier. He has gotten some more reps. I see him getting that feel."

* On who is the backup tailback (either Joe or Maurice Hall or Ira Guilford) -- "It just depends on the situation."

Tucker Also Speaks

Here were some comments as well from Tucker, OSU's defensive backs coach.

* On the play of free safety Nate Salley -- "Nate was a physical player in high school. He's an athletic kid who also played basketball. He's a two- or three-sport guy. He is 6-3, 200-plus pounds. We think he can even be more physical as he goes on."

* On Salley and strong safety Will Allen, each first-year starters -- "I think when you have a close-knit group that gets along, they watch a lot of film together. Especially Will and Nate, they do a lot of film study together. They compete with each other. They want to make plays and do what's right. Will has led the way getting everybody lined up and directing the music back there. The other guys have caught on to that."

* On what to expect from Purdue -- "The thing about Purdue, they are going to bring probably more balance with their attack than you expect. They try and establish the run and they've been able to do that. But they also spread you out. (John) Standeford and (Taylor) Stubblefield are both go-to guys. They will take their shots downfield and you have to be prepared to make a break on the ball. The safeties have to support on the run, but they will also be asked to make plays in the passing game, too."

* On the emergence of Tyler Everett, who had an interception as the dime back last week -- "Tyler is a kid who played some as a true freshman. He was a guy who came into camp with expectations of playing. He has worked very hard every day to get better and do what he's asked to do. He's had an opportunity to get in there. We are confident when we put him in the game he will make big plays for us. We don't put people in the game if we don't have confidence in them."

Buckeye Sports Top Stories