Tressel Ready For Season To Start

OSU coach Jim Tressel met with the media for nearly 40 minutes this afternoon. The coach was grilled on the aftermath of the latest Troy Smith controversy. He also discussed Ted Ginn's role in 2005 as well as preseason expectations for his team. Plus, OSU announced the public is being invited back to photo day (sort of). Click here for more.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel addressed the media this afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The coach shared his view of the recent Troy Smith controversy and looked ahead to the upcoming season.

Smith was cleared of wrongdoing recently by OSU's compliance office after it had been reported that he skipped class in June to participate as a counselor at a football camp in Tennessee hosted by NFL quarterback Steve McNair.

"That trip was back on June 2 or thereabouts," Tressel said. "We have had time to review the situation and study it. To me, there were two issues. One was the legality, whether it be NCAA, Big Ten or institutionally. Two was the way we are trying to build and the way we want to do things.

"Our compliance people looked to see if there were any NCAA or Big Ten (violations). There were not, which was a good thing. But there were some internal rules that were (broken). We have a rule that you not miss class. There are also ways that you need to go about proactively things.

"I am pleased that none of the things outside of our jurisdiction were wrong. It's up to us to handle our jurisdiction."

Tressel indicated that he will monitor Smith's behavior during preseason camp. He was asked if missing class time in this manner could lead to a loss of playing privileges beyond the first game. Smith will already miss the season opener with Miami (Ohio) as part of a two-game suspension for receiving illegal extra benefits.

"We are going to go with the preseason plan of what we're going to do," he said. "Have we defined anything from a game standpoint? No. The game we would be talking about would be the second game (against Texas) and right now all we are concerned with is the first game."

Tressel was asked about the importance of strong decision making at the quarterback position.

"That the exact way the discussion began (with Smith) and we continue to discuss it with him," Tressel said. "It's not simply that he missed class. That's a problem of it's own. The decisions that you make will determine the outcome of your performance – academically, on the field, socially and whatnot.

"Absolutely, that is the issue. To be a championship quarterback here, you've got to make good decisions. That was not a good decision how (he) went about that."

Tressel was asked how Smith responded to the recent inquiry.

"I think most of you have worked with Troy," the coach said. "Troy, I think, is a thoughtful, listening person. I've never had conversations with Troy where I thought his mind was elsewhere and he was not looking at you or his mind was not interested in what you were trying to relay. He was just as thoughtful and as engaged as I've ever seen him."

With Smith unable to play against Miami, OSU will turn to Justin Zwick. Zwick was 3-3 as the starter early in the year before suffering a shoulder injury. After Smith was suspended, Zwick came back and helped OSU down Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl.

"I think that was a great confidence game for Justin," Tressel said. "He had been through some situations that did not work out the way he had hoped. But he hung in there, he got healthy. It was a longer ordeal than any of us had anticipated. But that game was huge for him."

Following that game, though, Tressel makes it clear that the best player will play and that the team needs more from that position.

"We expect more," he said. "But you can just see it in them. They carry themselves with a lot more confidence. They get people in place and just have a lot more assurance."

Ready To Roll

Tressel indicated that the last week or so before the start of fall camp can create some anxiety.

"There is some anticipation this time of year," he said. "I talked to Earle Bruce on the phone today. He said as he reflects back on his coaching career the most anxious he was and the most anxiety there was was during the week or so before the preseason. Once it starts, you're working and you're going."

Ohio State, coming off an 8-4 season, is seen as a Big Ten front runner and preseason national top-10 team in a number of the various magazines. But Tressel said he has not spent much time reading those projections.

"I have to admit I haven't seen any preseason magazines," he said. "I used to look at magazines. I remember you'd sit down about July 4 and there would be a magazine or two out and you'd read about what was going on in college football. Well, today, we know what's going on in college football. We read about it every day all year long."

It's Teddy

Tressel admitted that he expects sophomore Ted Ginn Jr. to see time on offense, defense and special teams in 2005.

"What he'll do most of is play receiver and return kicks," Tressel said. "What he'll do a little of is play corner, quarterback and tailback."

Tressel said it is not realistic to expect Ginn, as good as he may or may not be athletically, to start and play both ways all season long.

"Everyone wants to reflect on Chris Gamble in 2002," Tressel said. "But he didn't go both ways in the preseason and he didn't go both ways in the first five or six games. He went both ways during the cooler weather, starting with the Penn State game and maybe the next four games. I could tell by Michigan week he was getting tired. We've got to be careful."

Tressel was asked if Ginn is the best player in the country.

"Is he the best player in the country?" Tressel asked rhetorically. "He's the fastest football player I've seen. I have not been around a guy who plays football faster than him."

Quick Kicks

* Tressel confirmed that Kentucky kicker Aaron Pettrey will enroll as a walk-on and, if things check out, would go on scholarship in January.

"I love persistence," Tressel said. "He has fought his way through some of the tough circumstances he was faced with. He wanted to be here."

* It appears that defensive tackle Brandon Maupin's career is over. Tressel said he has not been enrolled since the end of spring quarter.

* Tressel indicated that OSU's 12th game in 2006 could be filled by another Ohio team, but likely not Division I-AA Youngstown State.

"I think Youngstown State will get into the mix," he said. "I don't know if that will be in '06. I am waiting for some calls to come back on that 12th date."

* Photo day is set for Thurs., Aug. 11. There will be a public component this year at French Field House. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., players will be inside the field house. Each person will be limited to one item and the autograph session will last for 45 minutes.

* The team has this week off and will go through one more week of conditioning next week before reporting for camp Aug. 7. The jersey scrimmage will be Aug. 20. The kick scrimmage will be Aug. 24. The rehearsal scrimmage will be Aug. 26. All are closed.

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