Tressel Notebook

Today, we have comments from Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel on a wide range of topics. Tressel discusses the new addition to his coaching staff, the NCAA adding a 12th game to the schedule, how the former Buckeyes did in the NFL Draft and more.

New Ohio State defensive assistant coach Tim Beckman was hired last week and it seems like another good move by head coach Jim Tressel. Beckman brings an impressive resume to the table and should be able to step right in and have a positive impact, much like Darrell Hazell did last year with the receivers and kick returners.

Tressel knows it's a bonus having someone like Beckman who has worked against the spread, has experience as defensive coordinator and has experience as a recruiting coordinator.

"It's all of those things," Tressel said. "It's a bonus having Jim Heacock, who's been a head coach, on our staff. Anytime that guys have had responsibilities (it's a bonus).

"As far as Tim being a recruiting coordinator, that's huge. Because when you're at a place like this, you can't have guys running out saying, ‘Hey, I'm going to sign me three guys.' He's coordinated. He understands that what's most important is the 18 that we end up, not the three I end up with. So, all of those experiences added to the value and we feel he is the perfect guy for us."

Tressel was asked for his thoughts on the NCAA adding a 12th game to the schedule, beginning in 2006.

"I think whenever we craft an opinion about something, we first look at the whole," he said. "It was a decision made by the NCAA with college athletics. And then we look at how does it affect Ohio State? Obviously, it's a huge plus for Ohio State athletics. Anytime we can play one more Ohio State football game, the revenue that it brings, the excitement that it brings, the people that it brings into our community… all of those things that are positive about one more Ohio State football game, that's a great thing.

"Now, I've talked to players off and on over the course of time and I haven't heard any of them say that they're looking forward to the open week. They know we're going to work, they know we're going to practice, they know we're going to train all year round. So, I think from a players' standpoint, I think they're fine with adding another football game, as opposed to doing something different that particular week.

"I think it's a little bit of an additional challenge and drain to the coaching staff, because it's one more week of preparation and so forth. But, all of us have those additional responsibilities when the need arises for the group. So, I think it's a real positive thing. Obviously, I would like a lot more of those extra 12th games to be home games, than away games. But so will all the other people in the nation. We'll see how that unfolds. But, I don't think it's a bad thing at all. I think it will be a positive thing for the whole."

Tressel also commented on kicker Josh Huston being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

"He was counting on it, but it seems like it was taking forever to finish," Tressel said. "He came here with the idea of when Danny Stultz leaves, maybe I can take over. And, you know, it didn't happen. That's life. Injury was part of it and that's why he's ended up with a sixth year, because he really had a couple years in a row where he couldn't participate. Then, with Mike Nugent's success… you don't play two kickers at once. You play two defensive ends, or wideouts. So, it didn't worked out as he planned, and now maybe he has the chance to be the dream of being the guy out there in the Horseshoe making the game-winner. And I know he's excited and our staff is excited."

Last year, a record 14 Ohio State players were selected in the NFL Draft. This year, that number fell to three (or two, depending on your level of disdain for a certain running back).

Mike Nugent went in the middle of round two to the New York Jets, Dustin Fox went in the middle of round three to the Minnesota Vikings, and Maurice Clarett was taken with the last pick of the third round by the Denver Broncos.

Simon Fraser was expected to be drafted, but ended up signing a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Tressel gave his take on the draft.

"Well, you know, Maurice Clarett is a great player," he said. "We got to witness that every day in practice and I'm not surprised that it was evaluated that he could become an excellent NFL player. You know how valuable that position is, whether it's college football, or the NFL. Obviously we wish him well and hope that he does become an outstanding NFL player.

"Nuge, to me that's special to be the first guy picked by someone in their draft, and you're a placekicker. I don't think they'll be disappointed. I supposed he had good training for New York by being raised in Columbus where you're supposed to make every kick and win every game. So, he'll be ready for that New York expectation and they will grow to really appreciate Mike Nugent.

"Dustin Fox, to see him go in the third round was an exciting thing. You can see Minnesota's direction and they kept talking to him about the expectations and the plans they had and he was the type of person that they would like to have be a part of their resurgence. And I know he's excited about that.

"Simon Fraser, I think he's going to a great situation with the Cleveland Browns. I think the biggest surprise of the draft was that Simon was undrafted. I think he's going to make someone's team and I'm excited the Browns picked him up."

Most pundits predicted that Clarett would go undrafted, or would be a seventh round pick at best. The thought here was that Clarett would not last past the early fourth round. So, what did Tressel think? He watched Clarett closer than anyone. Did he know that Clarett would be drafted? Or did he buy into the baseless hype that he would go completely undrafted?

"I don't pretend to know what they think, or what they talk about in their draft rooms," Tressel said. "But, I wasn't surprised in Maurice's case (that he was taken so high). He's a good player and that's a key position."

It was also announced last week that Hazell has been promoted to assistant head coach, a title formerly held by Heacock.

"With Jim's place being full and only having four guys on his side of the ball and taking over the coordinator role and so forth, we thought the best thing was to have someone to step up and take on his assistant head coaching responsibilities," Tressel said. "Darrell Hazell has done that before – he was the assistant head coach at Rutgers – so he'll be moving in to take over those roles. He'll still have the receivers and the return stuff. His football won't change. Instead of working 20 hours a day, he'll work 20 and a half. Not that significant of a change."


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