Fox, Ross Represent OSU In Chicago

OSU seniors Dustin Fox and Lydell Ross represented the Buckeyes at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon today in Chicago. They talked about the season ahead. Plus, OSU coach Jim Tressel also discussed some roster issues. Click here for more.

OSU seniors Dustin Fox and Lydell Ross represented the Buckeyes in Chicago at today's Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon. The two seniors were queried on a wide range of topics.

"Expectations at Ohio State never change," Fox said. "We have the athletes to do it."

Fox was asked about taking the mantel of leadership as a senior.

"You've got to do everything right all the time," he said. "It is a tough situation to be in. In the past, you could do whatever. Now, you have to be a model of consistency day in and day out. I think our senior class can step up and be just as good as leaders as the guys before us were. The sky is the limit for us."

Fox reacted to news that the media picked Michigan and Ohio State 1-2 in the Big Ten race.

"At this point, it is so early," he said. "You don't know what will happen. There are probably four or five teams that could have that spot. But it is exciting to be up there. That's the way you want it. You want to play Michigan for the Big Ten championship at the end of the year.

"It's not always that way because you have teams like Purdue or Iowa that can step up and give you a challenge."

Ross talked about improving the running game.

"I think the guys blocking need to be more confident in who's running the ball and I need to be more confident in who's blocking," he said.

Ross confirmed that OSU coach Jim Tressel has already preached to the seniors the importance of leadership and having a career-best year.

"He focuses on the seniors," he said. "Every senior wants to have a great you. Coach Tressel is there beside you. He wants you to have that great year. He talks about the seniors all the time and how important they are. It's already in your mind."

Ross also discussed the vacuum of leadership in the program.

"Those guys are gone and they aren't coming back," he said. "But we have some guys to fill in who will do a good job."

Tressel was asked what it was like to coach at a place where "if you win eight games, people aren't satisfied."

"Well, we won 11 games last year and we weren't satisfied," Tressel replied. "I enjoy that. I'd rather be at a place where they expect a lot."

Tressel told the media that the roster situation was in a state of flux. OSU may have 105 players in its team photo, participate in preseason practice and dress for the first game. The coach said there may be some decisions to be made in the days ahead regarding several players. Without naming names, he did admit that one or more could be regulars.

"We have some guys who still have some hurdles to hit before we determine who our 105 are," he said. "There may be some guys trying to leap a hurdle all the way up until Tuesday morning. We want it to be a privilege to be one of those 105. It's important because who reports with the 105, those are the only guys who can play in the first game. After the first game, on Sunday (Sept. 5), we are allowed to add guys to the roster."

Tressel confirmed that LB Reggie Smith (transferred to Walsh) and WR Dareus Hiley (transferred to a junior college) will not be around this year. When asked if Hiley could one day transfer back to OSU, he said, "I think that's one of the options he would have, but I only know our standpoint."

Regarding freshman punter A.J. Trapasso, who was cited twice for underage drinking this past spring, Tressel said, "I mentioned there were some guys who needed to get some things done prior to us making the decision on the 105. A.J. is one of those guys."

Tressel has always maintained that the punt is the most important play in the game. A questioner asked about how the coach has always "liked the punt."

"Now, I think the punt is important, but let's not start a rumor that I have a love affair with the punt," Tressel joked. "I'd like to see us block a few of them."

Tressel did say that if the season started today Josh Huston or Kyle Turano would likely be the starting punter.

He indicated that incoming freshman Jonathan Skeete probably projects more as a kicker and, if Mike Nugent stays healthy, Skeete would likely redshirt.

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