Coach Recaps Cincinnati, Looks Toward Marshall

With this free link, we have coverage of OSU coach Jim Tressel's weekly luncheon as well as his appearance on the Big Ten teleconference. The coach recapped the Cincinnati win, previewed the Marshall game and also discussed the quarterback situation, Redgie Arden, John Kerr and more. Click on the link for more.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel met with the media today to reflect on Saturday's season opening win over Cincinnati and the game Saturday against Marshall (3:30 p.m., ABC regional telecast).

"We were anxious to get out there," Tressel said. "We had been practicing for a long time. I know our coaches were excited about the amount of good video we got from that game. One real upside for us was it was a nice, hot day. We hadn't had many of those. I thought we played through that pretty well. We appeared to me to be in fair condition.

"It was a chance for us to go against a physical, sound football team."

The Buckeyes will face Marshall, which dropped its opener to Troy 17-15 Saturday in Huntington, W.Va.

"Marshall doesn't lose very often," Tressel said. "They are a football team that is used to winning. They will not be happy about having a loss in the loss column. We know a year ago they went into Manhattan, Kan., and beat Kansas State. We studied the film of that game when it came time for us to prepare for Kansas State.

"They went to Tennessee and played Tennessee nose to nose. They have won something like five of the last six MAC championships, so they know how to win."

Tressel had his own rivalry with the Thundering Herd when he was at Youngstown State.

"Football is very important to the people of Huntington, W.Va.," he said. "It is an important part of their culture. Usually, they can run fast. They have some people who can go. And they have people who can hit. It's a passion and that's why they feel they're giant killers. They have beaten some people who are supposed to be bigger programs.

"If you can visualize this, when you play someone for the (Division I-AA) national championship three straight years, there is going to be a pretty big rivalry. Then, the fourth year in a row, we played Boise State but the game was at Marshall. They were the host. The people in Huntington love football. Their players love it."

Tressel downplayed the notion that the alleged incident involving OSU defensive end Redgie Arden where he was injured in a scuffle reportedly involving several Marshall players will have any impact on the game.

"(Redgie) won't be in uniform," Tressel said. "He just had surgery last week. I have talked to him and he is doing fine. I talked to him today, in fact. The only thing I would share about my conversation (with Marshall coach Bob Pruett) is we were two coaches talking about the situation and apologizing that those things happened.

"We weren't where we should have been and neither were they, and that was the result."

Tressel was asked what, if anything, concerned him about the Cincinnati win.

"Well, we can't lose the turnover margin 3-0 and win any game," he said. "The only reason we were able to do that was because we had a lot of explosive gains. Those are running plays of 12 yards or more and pass plays of 15 yards or more. They had two of those and I believe we had 16 or 17. That's the only way we can offset losing the turnover margin."

Starting quarterback Justin Zwick accounted for all three of those turnovers with a fumble and two interceptions. Tressel said Zwick would again start. He also expects Troy Smith to play, but he is not committed to any set formula.

"I would say I would be committed to that as long as we have the practice week we need to have to back that up," he said. "We need to stay committed to building our whole team."

Tressel indicated that five players have been added to the roster following the first game, most notably linebacker John Kerr.

"Yeah, John is back," Tressel said. "Andree Tyree is back, we're allowed to expand our roster after the game. Steve Fender is back, A. J. Trapasso is back, Chibundu Nnake is back, and anyone else you guys see? Those five guys are back on the roster."

Tressel was asked about freshman Curtis Terry appearing on special teams.

"Curtis loves to run and hit," he said. "He's a special teams kind of guy while he's waiting to grow as a linebacker. He's getting scout team reps as a linebacker but he's getting the real deal on the special units and I'm sure he's slowly learning the defense. Our defense is pretty complicated and hopefully he's watching these guys close but Curtis is going to be a good player."

The coach also provided an update on injured fullback Branden Joe.

"It's going to be close," the coach said. "They have these new terms now, high ankle sprain. In the old days, it was just an ankle sprain and this and that, so high ankle sprains take longer than low ankle sprains. I don't know if they wait and see how long they take and then they deem them high or what, but they say it's about a four-week thing. This is -- we're in the middle of the third week since it occurred. I don't know, maybe you could ask Mo how he moved around yesterday In drills. I really didn't see, but I would have to go with questionable until I know better."

Also Notable

* Players of the game for the opener included Maurice Hall (special teams), Bam Childress (offense), Bobby Carpenter (defense), Ryan Hamby (offensive lineman), Quinn Pitcock (attack force), John Hollins (Jack Tatum hit of the day), Jordan Hoewischer (scout team special teams), Sian Cotton (defensive special teams), Todd Boeckman (offensive special teams).

Regarding Hamby, a tight end, winning the lineman award, Tressel joked, "Jim Bollman told the linemen he was the leading receiver among the linemen … and he also blocked at 90 percent."

* This is Hall of Fame weekend at OSU. Former coach Earle Bruce, one of 12 inductees Saturday, will serve as an honorary captain.

*****

Below is our coverage of Tressel's remarks from earlier today on the Big Ten teleconference:

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel took some time to speak with the media today during the weekly Big Ten teleconference. Tressel was asked about Marshall and what he thought about their game this past weekend against Troy.

"Obviously, we had a film exchange," Tressel said. "They have our Cincinnati game, and we have their Troy State game. Their Troy game was very physical, very hard-played. Two teams showing great speed and flying around and banging into each other -- the mistakes made the difference in the game, but it was a hard-fought game with a field full of athletes."

Tressel also discussed what Ohio State's plan of action would be coming into this week.

"As far as what our plan would be, I guess it would be two-fold," he said. "Number one, we first have to get better at what we do and really try to keep our focus on that, and then number two, we have to do a great job of studying --it's just one game, but at least studying who Marshall is at this moment and how best we can attack them across the board, offense, defense, and special teams."

Marshall's loss to Troy was a bit of a stunner, but Tressel believes that the loss might not make things easier for Ohio State.

"They're used to winning," Tressel said. "(Head coach) Bob (Pruett) has probably won 85% of his games or something since he's been there, and they don't take to losing very kindly. Losing a tough one like they did is going to make them even tougher because they have to be winners."

With Ohio State, Marshall starts a three-game stretch that may be as tough as any in the country as after traveling to Columbus, the Thundering Herd must go on the road to face Georgia and then return home to face MAC power Miami (Oh.). Tressel said that Ohio State hasn't thought much about Marshall's road ahead, but they have definitely brought up the fact that the Herd knocked off powerful Kansas State on the road last year, a fact that has already been replayed several times for the Buckeyes.

"We really haven't mentioned anything about their schedule beyond our game as far as playing Georgia or anything," Tressel said. "We have talked about the fact that they went into Manhattan, Kansas and beat Kansas State, but we talked about that last year as we were preparing for Kansas State. We used the Marshall film probably as much as any film we used preparing for the Fiesta Bowl, so just a reminder -- those guys that we borrowed some things from to beat Kansas State are the very guys coming to Ohio Stadium, and we know full well how good they are."

Interestingly enough, this weekend's game will be the first time Ohio State and Marshall have ever played, despite being relatively close to one another. Tressel, however, is very familiar with Marshall, having faced them while he was at Youngstown State.

"It was interesting watching the film the last two days of their home game against Troy," Tressel said. "It kind of brought back memories of playing on that field in that beautiful stadium, seeing kids fly around. The one thing I always felt about Marshall when we played them is that they had tough kids who love to hit, played with great speed and expected to win. They're the very same now, with even better athletes."

When asked to compare Marshall to Cincinnati, Tressel didn't elaborate, but he did say to expect a hard-hitting defense.

"I know this -- they will run and hit you," Tressel said. "That is not to say that Cincinnati doesn't, but I'm extremely impressed with the quickness and tenacity of Marshall's defense. I'm not sure that I would get into critiquing two teams when neither of them are mine."

Tressel also took the time to talk about quarterbacks Justin Zwick and Troy Smith, both of whom will now have something to look upon when trying to improve.

"I think the quarterback play begins with your decision making," Tressel said. "I think (Zwick) played 55 snaps or 53 snaps, so now he has 53 opportunities to evaluate his decision making. He made some very good decisions, and he made some decisions I know he and we would like to have back. Then you also now have an opportunity to watch your fundamentals and your techniques and your feet and your shoulders and all of the things that go into whatever position you play. Again, I thought he had some very good technique and also some things that we've got to clean up so he can become as good as he's capable of becoming.

"Troy is the same situation. Troy probably didn't have as many point of attack plays. He did a little bit more handing off and a little bit less throwing the ball down the field or checking plays off at the line of scrimmage.  But Troy also has some film of himself in a live game where we didn't know for sure what was coming and we had to react."

Tressel was also asked a question about instant replay. The experimental Big Ten replay system prevents coaches from challenging a call, and Tressel was asked if he could foresee an instance where he could use a timeout to try and get a call overturned.

"Never gave that much thought," Tressel said. "I suppose if you really felt you knew that it might get overturned, that there was a good chance. Timeouts are pretty precious.  A lot of it would have to do with what's going on in the game. Let's pretend it was right down our sideline... If we could get a tremendous vantage point that there might be a good chance that it might be overturned and we felt we had a time out to burn, that would be good strategy."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories