Tressel Hits The High Points

OSU head coach Jim Tressel took some time on Thursday afternoon to brief the media on the impending summer football camp as well as his team's summer conditioning plans. The coach also discussed the firing of Jim O'Brien, the status of Louis Irizarry and Ira Guilford, Maurice Clarett's plight and the team's first depth chart for 2004. Click here for more.

OSU football coach Jim Tressel met with the media for about an hour on Thursday afternoon. The topics were many -- the football camp, summer conditioning and preparing for the upcoming season.

"The bulk of our youth camp will begin tomorrow," Tressel said. "Last Saturday, we had 24 teams in here for a passing tournament. Today, we finished up camp with 200 kickers and punters.

"Tomorrow, 1,500 kids will check in for our all-position camp. We will have 150 guest coaches over that four days. Then, as soon as they check out, the next day 1,500 more kids will check in for another four-day camp.

"Then, after they check out we will have 250 seniors in on June 26 and 100 more on June 27."

Where Bill Conley used to be the camp director, Tressel has handed those reins to new recruiting coordinator John Peterson as well as assistants Luke Fickell and Joe Daniels.

Tressel discussed the importance of the senior advanced camp.

"The senior camp has become important in recent times for a couple of reasons," he said. "To ask some of these players to spend four or five days at your camp is asking a lot. Everyone is asking them to do that. So everybody is now having these one-day camps. It is important for us to have a chance to come in and evaluate them."

In regards to conditioning, the five-week summer program will begin Monday.

"On Sunday night, our players will report back to campus," Tressel said. "This is the part of the year I term as the bottom line. There is nothing more impactful than this next five weeks. This is when we get ready for a grueling preseason. You have to be in good shape to be able to learn.

"Anything that's hard helps you grow together and gain those relationships. I hope it's hard. I hope it is extremely hot, but also safe. We will have trainers there."

One portion of the summer program is the team's seven-on-seven competition, which the players must organize.

"We can not coach (during the summer)," Tressel said. "One of the days during spring practice we allowed the upperclassmen to rehearse how they would organize practice."

Tressel indicated that several of the incoming freshmen will be joining the team, a departure from previous NCAA rules that prohibited assimilating freshmen before they enroll.

"That has been changed," he said. "They can come in as long as they have signed a national letter of intent."

Other Odds & Ends

* Tressel reported that "38 or 39" players finished spring quarter with GPAs over 3.0 and 15 were 3.5 students or above. The team's average GPA was 2.78.

"Going into the summer, we have the least number of guys I can ever remember that have to get something done to be eligible," the coach said.

However, a team roster showed that redshirt freshmen Dareus Hiley and Reggie Smith are not eligible at this point, presumably due to academics.

* Tressel discussed the status of suspended players Louis Irizarry and Ira Guilford, who face charges of felony robbery.

"They are going through the legal process," he said. "They are on an interim suspension from the university and they did not complete spring quarter academically."

Tressel was asked if there was any scenario where those players may return.

"I don't know the answer to that," he said. "I don't have a crystal ball. I think we would have to see the legal situation to its finality. If whatever they've been charged with comes to bear, I would agree with (athletic director Andy Geiger's) assessment (that they're gone)."

* Tressel was asked if he feels for former tailback Maurice Clarett, stuck in limbo as his appeals to enter the NFL a year early seem unlikely.

"I guess feeling sorry for him isn't a bad description," Tressel said. "You do wish he had stayed on academically. That way he would have had some options if the court situation didn't work out."

* Tressel was also asked for his reaction to basketball coach Jim O'Brien's firing.

"Obviously, for all of us here it is a real difficult thing to get a hold of," he said. "We don't know what we don't know. Vividly, one of the best reminders I have (of O'Brien) was the Saturday night after we lost to Illinois in 2001. Coach O'Brien called to say, `Hey, hang in there, you did what you had to do. It will be fine.'

" That is just the kind of guy he is. This is a little different situation. We do know that NCAA rules are everything in our world. That's real. Obviously, I felt a lot of empathy for Obie and his staff and also for Andy Geiger.

"I never had to do that as an athletic director. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been. Andy is a very sensitive person. He wants to do well by everyone. I feel bad at times when I hear murmuring that this happened under his charge.

"I think you have to look at what Andy Geiger has done here from afar. We haven't had many people here at Ohio State with the kind of vision he has had. Maybe L.W. St. John with the building of Ohio Stadium and the golf course had the vision he had.

"Andy got here and saw nothing had been done with the Horseshoe. He stuck his neck out there and said we have to do this. He wants us to follow the rules. This has been a tough thing for all of us and I'm sure for Andy. But he's strong and he's good and we have to move on."

* OSU produced its preseason depth chart. There were few surprises.

At right tackle, T.J. Downing and Tim Schafer were bracketed as starters. Stan White Jr. is listed as the third tight end behind Ryan Hamby and Jason Caldwell after Irizarry's departure. Branden Joe and Brandon Schnittker were bracketed at fullback. Josh Huston was listed first at punter.

Defensively, the tackle starters were Marcus Green and Quinn Pitcock with David Patterson and Joel Penton -- who each missed spring ball -- listed as the backups. At middle linebacker, Anthony Schlegel and Mike D'Andrea were bracketed as the starters. E.J. Underwood had the nod at corner (opposite Dustin Fox), with Ashton Youboty backing him up.

"The depth chart likely will change quite a bit between now and Sept. 4, when we play our first game," Tressel noted.

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