Tressel Gives Wednesday Evening Update

Ohio State is putting the finishing touches on its game-plan for Saturday's opener against Miami University. Head coach Jim Tressel spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice and gave updates on injuries, Justin Zwick, Antonio Pittman and more.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters Wednesday evening following practice.

Overall, the Buckeyes are in very good shape injury-wise, but there are a few players banged up.

"Well, Lawrence Wilson got a little bit of a sprain, I guess you would say," Tressel said. "But I think he's going to be fine. Nothing serious, thank goodness. Beyond that, the guys who haven't been practicing: Rory (Nicol) and Jimmy Cordle, Vernon Gholston who had surgery on the finger. They're not going to be ready. But the ones we've been working are."

Gholston was expected to be one of the first defensive linemen off the bench, but he is out for the first two games most likely.

"I would bet it would be another couple weeks, but that's up to the doctor," Tressel said. "But I'm guessing at least another couple weeks."

Besides winning the game, Tressel was asked what he would like to see from his team on Saturday when it faces Miami University in the season opener.

"You'd like to see them progress from the last time they played a game and from the last time they had a scrimmage," he said. "Some of the situations that came up that maybe we didn't handle as well. Maybe we could do a better job in those situations. You want to see improvement. You want to see guys getting better; you want to see guys being productive and making plays. That's what you're looking for. And I guess Saturday – like every Saturday – I want to see them out there having fun. See them flying around. That's why they train like crazy and Saturday is when you're supposed to have fun."

Miami has a new head coach in Shane Montgomery. But he was the RedHawks' offensive coordinator the past four seasons, so their offense should look very similar.

"I think every first game, whether it's a new staff or not, lots of times you can find new coordinators or new position coaches that might bring something with them," Tressel said. "You have to assume you don't know what they're going to do. Now, you have to rehearse what they have done and especially what they have done well with the thought being, ‘They're not going to go away from what they've done well.' But you have to be ready for everything."

Ohio State's Jim Heacock is entering his first game as defensive coordinator. Tressel says the Buckeyes' defense won't look much different this season under Heacock's leadership.

"I see a lot of things that are the same, which is good," Tressel said. "I see guys running around who know what they are doing; they're aggressive and they enjoy playing with each other. I don't know that we'll see much personality change until we get to a game and sometimes guys have certain things they like to do in certain situations. That will be fun to watch Jim and Jim is going to have fun doing it with Luke (Fickell). But I see guys flying around and it's tough to deal with if you're an offensive guy with guys crashing into you all the time. Our defense likes to apply pressure and they're doing it."

Tressel has been impressed with what he has seen on film from Miami senior quarterback Josh Betts.

"Big, strong, doesn't get flustered," he said. "Extremely well-schooled. Obviously listened very well when he was there playing behind Ben (Roethlisberger). He has a lot of confidence in their system. I wouldn't expect their system to change too much because I'm sure Shane had a lot to do with that system. But you have to be ready for some things. But Betts to be is just a tough, strong… early in the year last year made some mistakes, but as the year went along they won six of their last seven games and he became a veteran."

Justin Zwick will start at quarterback for OSU on Saturday. He was nursing a sprained ankle in camp, but Tressel says the coaching staff has not held Zwick out of any drills this week in order to protect him.

"No, no," Tressel said. "He's done what the normal starting quarterback will do and that's get at least two-thirds of them. We really haven't changed any. Run options, quarterback runs, nothing different."

Saturday marks the first start for sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman. It could be the beginning of a long and productive career as the No. 1 back for Pittman and Tressel has been impressed with what he has seen from him in camp.

"He looks to me like he's that guy at the starting gate waiting for the things to flip open and get going in the race," Tressel said. "He looks anxious and that's what we want him to be. I think he's done some good things. A year ago he did some good things. In the spring I thought he played well. He's backed it up this preseason. I just think he wants to get out there and get it on."

The Buckeyes can do a lot of things offensively this season. And right now, the offensive coaches are throwing ideas around of how they would like to attack Miami on Saturday.

"We're right at that point of debate," Tressel said. "It's Wednesday night, we've had two practice days of working on nothing but Miami and what we anticipate them doing. And now you have to sit down this evening and tomorrow morning and say, ‘OK, we've had 40 practices and we like these things and we've not liked these and what are we going to hang our hat on Saturday?' And we're right at that point."

Tressel was asked if Ohio State could be as diverse as any offense in the country.

"Yeah, we've got the whole package," he said. "We can go from empty to jumbo with no receivers. We want to do that and we've talked many times – for our defense's sake – we always want to be able to do that. And to be able to attack anyone with anything. Now we have to make sure we're good at things."


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