Tressel, Buckeyes Prepare For Hoosiers

Jim Tressel met with the media following Ohio State's practice on Wednesday and tackled a number of topics. Tressel says that Ted Ginn Jr. could see some time at defensive back against Indiana. The coach also talked about OSU's blitz-happy defense, turnover margin, net punting and more.

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

With the Buckeyes banged up in the secondary – senior cornerback Tyler Everett is out for the Indiana game this Saturday (noon, ESPN) – Tressel revealed this could be the week that Ted Ginn Jr. finally gets some snaps at defensive back.

"That's a possibility," Tressel said.

When asked if Ginn has been getting a lot of work at DB in practice, Tressel replied: "No comment."

Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner says he is expecting a "blitz-o-rama" from OSU's defense, which set a school record with 12 sacks in its win over Michigan State last week.

"Well, we'll play some base and we'll do some zone blitz, which you still play zone behind it," Tressel said. "And then we will get after you and play pure man and challenge you to let it go."

But does that qualify as a "blitz-o-rama?"

"I guess it depends on how you look at it," Tressel said. "I'm sure we have tendencies of down and distance, field zones, just like they do and everyone does. But I'll say this, one of the things you do as a coach is make sure you are prepared for another team's blitz. Because if you are not prepared for another team's blitz, I don't care which it is… Jim Bollman sits for hours, even if they've only run the blitz twice. But he wants to make sure if we run this play and they have this blitz on that we're prepared. So, I'm sure (Hoeppner) is talking about how they go about preparing and I understand what he's saying."

Tressel was asked if the Buckeyes are blitzing more this year than at any time during his OSU tenure.

"I don't know the answer to that," he said. "I would say this: If I was getting ready for our team, I would certainly be prepared for people coming at you. We're an aggressive style defense and have been for probably the last 15 years."

Ohio State is last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at minus-6. Not exactly the mark of a Tressel team.

"Well, someone asked today on a call we were on, ‘How do you work on it and what can you do about it?' I've always believed the most important part about the turnover margin is that you thoroughly believe that there's nothing more important," Tressel said. "So, maybe if you're carrying the football to class it helps you grow in that belief. You know, ‘I wonder why they'd have me carry this; it must be important.' So, anything you can do to help raise the level of awareness that it's important for us to take care of the ball, and it's important for us to create some turnovers, anything we can do – whether it's pointing out the truths of that, or talking about it, we've had drills for those types of things for years. The deeper your belief is in it, the more I think you have a chance to accomplish it."

Indiana, led by sophomore quarterback Blake Powers, is primarily a passing team this season. Powers already has 20 touchdown passes and he is expected to put it up a lot against the Buckeyes.

"That's their belief system is to put it up a bunch of times and I would think we'll get at least 40," Tressel said. "And I'll say this though: The more successful they are running, the less they'll throw. They're just like everyone else. If they can be balanced, they will. So, we better not be prepared for just pass, because they've had their moments where they've done both."

Tressel also commented on OSU freshman punter A.J. Trapasso who is averaging 42.7 yards per punt.

"I think A.J. has done very solid," Tressel said. "He's had the booming ones, he's had the well-placed ones and he's had the time – once or twice here or there – not hitting it like he would want to. But the interesting thing about that is all things are related. I think every one of his punts that he put exactly where we wanted it, whether it was that 76 yarder, or ones that we've put in the corner, I'll bet you the snap was perfect in the window. And I'll bet you the ones that weren't exactly where he wanted them, perhaps the snap wasn't exactly where he would like to do it. Or maybe the protection had a little leak. Everything is so related, but I think he's done a good job."

Ohio State has led the Big Ten in net punting for three consecutive years and is leading the conference once again in that category.

"We work on it a lot," Tressel said. "Just like the turnover question, there's no doubt in our team room that the punt is the most important play in football. We put it in first, we work on it first everyday. It gets more time than any play in our offense or defense If the punt is going on, you don't go to an offense or defense meeting, you go to a punt meeting. So, we believe that it's very, very important."

Junior linebacker Mike D'Andrea could receive more playing time this week. He was strictly a special teams player against MSU.

"He's had a little more scrimmage time," Tressel said. "On Tuesdays when we're in full pads, we like at the end of the day to get eight or 10 scrimmage reps with the guys that didn't play a bunch Saturday. He's now gotten that for two straight weeks on Tuesday. I would expect him to certainly be ready for us. We'll see what the game dictates and the health of the team and what we're doing. How much base defense we're in, how much nickel we're in, how much dime, that kind of thing."

Finally, Tressel was asked about the Buckeyes' strategy on kickoff and punt returns as far as using both Ginn and Santonio Holmes as deep men.

"What it has done is cause a lot of people to spray their kicks around and hit them on the ground and all that stuff, which is what Indiana does naturally," Tressel said. "Indiana will kick the ball – I'll bet you we've had 10 or 11 different places they've kicked the ball on kickoffs. So, that will fit right into what people have been doing to us. They'll have some great film on how people have tried to disrupt the rhythm of our return. Because if you remember back to the first two games, the rhythm of our returns were pretty good. Kickoff-wise, I think we had at least four or five out to midfield. Punt return wise, we had seven or more that were 30-yarders. Some were called back unfortunately. People now have worked really hard to disrupt that rhythm. Punt the ball out of bounds, punt the ball on the ground. Kickoffs, pooch it. So, we've had to live with that."


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