A pair of new rules could have a major effect on college football this season. Head coaches will be given one "coach's challenge" per game where they can ask for a review of a questionable call – much like the NFL. If the original call is upheld, the team that requested the challenge will be charged a timeout.
Also, the games will be shorter this season due to the fact that the clock will start as soon as the whistle is blown following TV timeouts, instead of when the ball is snapped.
Yes, it appears to be a terrible idea at best, but let's remember this is the same group of people that have decided against a playoff system for years. Making college football games shorter? Parish the thought.
Tressel, who is usually fairly guarded with his comments, is not a fan of the idea to start the clock early.
"Well you won't see any difference when you're watching a game," he said. "It's just when the game is over, there will have been less plays. You'll see the long TV timeouts and waiting forever to get back out on the field, but then the clock is going to start, rather than the clock being started when the ball is snapped. So, you are going to see anywhere from… some people are saying eight to 10, some people are saying 15-20 less plays. Our guys worked a lot of hours and a lot of days. I don't want any less plays. So, we're going to try and go fast."
"Oh, there's no question," Tressel said. "There would be some end-of-the-game things that would be impossible. (Akron beating Northern Illinois) wouldn't have happened. Your timeouts are even more important, which is ironic because now you have the coach's challenge and you could maybe lose one of your timeouts.
"I'm thinking to myself that I don't want to burn a timeout that we might need as an offense because of this new clock. We might be able to really use that for defense, because of this new clock, we need to get a stop and get the ball back. We could have one less timeout than we thought and that's really two less timeouts because of the way the clock starts on change of possessions.
"So, it's really ironic the two rules that go in are kind of conflicting."
Tressel was asked how he will manage the situations that might call for a coach's challenge.
"Well, we're going to want to make sure that the people upstairs… and only late in the game," he said. "We're not going to consider it… well, maybe one minute to go in the half and we think something is crazy and who cares about the timeout, we might then. But then you don't have it maybe when you need it in the fourth quarter.
"So, our initial thinking is late in the game. Now, when we check with our officials, they're checking every replay. So, they've got like six cameras and all these views and touch screens that they can watch in a split second and different angles. So, I've got to think they are going to catch it. And I'm not sure the coach's challenge will be as big of an issue as the clock, because most of the time we won't want to burn a timeout."
Tressel also gave official word that Mike D'Andrea is done for the year with his reoccurring knee injury.
"He's probably going to have surgery in a week or two," Tressel said. "Just for a better quality of life, and there are some procedures out there that could maybe give him a chance (to play football) again down the road. He did all he could do from a rehab standpoint and gave all the effort he could give. He just has to go on to the next option."
Ohio State will open the season as the No. 1 ranked team in both major polls. Tressel doesn't think the lofty ranking is a negative thing for his team, and he doesn't think it's a motivational factor either.
"Probably neither," he said. "We've been real busy. We've got a great opponent coming in here and we've been studying Northern Illinois like crazy. And our guys are very aware that you have to earn crowns; you're not given them."
After months of hard work, OSU's players and coaches are excited to get season underway.
"At Ohio State you talk about it 365 days of the year and unfortunately so many of them are between seasons and so many of them are prognostications and all of that and progress reports," Tressel said. "Now we get a real test. Our guys are anxious and excited and I'm sure nervous and they can't wait to get out there. … This team has prepared hard and I feel good about our progress. Now we have to go out there and do it when it counts."
There has been a lot of talk about senior quarterback Troy Smith's film study and his improved ability to read defense. Tressel thinks Smith is going to have a big year, but he is still stressing ball security and sound decision making.
"You can see it in practice," Tressel said of Smith's improvements in terms of the mental side of the game. "You can see the understanding of why we're doing this and why we're doing that. You can see the confidence that our offensive staff has in him. You can see with the way that our offensive staff is planning that we're featuring the talents of our offensive players. Which in Troy's case is being able to understand what we do, what they're doing and what's the best approach. So, I hope we see that in the games as far as decision-making."
The Buckeyes appear to be in good shape health-wise heading into the opener. Freshman linebacker Ross Homan, who was nursing a pulled hamstring early in camp, will play on Saturday. But a veteran wide receiver might need to wait until the Texas game to see his first action.
"Yeah, Ross Homan has practiced throughout the course of time," Tressel said. "The guy who we might be missing that we really hadn't counted on is Roy Hall. He's been nursing a little bit of an ankle and I just don't see it being 100 percent. And we're not going to put a guy out there who isn't at his best.
"Brian Robiskie will be in there when we're in three wides, and Brian Hartline when we're in four. Probably the fifth guy in that rotation is Ray Small. And Albert Dukes really had a good last couple of days."