Tressel: Thursday Night Update

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters Thursday evening following the Buckeyes' practice. Tressel is feeling very good about the overall health of his team and hopes to get senior wide receiver Roy Hall back this week. The coach also talked about Chris Wells, Donald Washington, Troy Smith, Craig Krenzel and more.

To be a national champion, any team needs a little good luck. And who knows how this season will turn out for Ohio State, but so far the Buckeyes have been able to avoid the injury bug.

Even fifth-year senior Roy Hall, who has missed the first two weeks of the season with a sprained ankle, could return to action this Saturday against visiting Cincinnati (noon, ESPN Plus).

"Roy Hall looked good this week," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "I was really pleased with the way he played, today especially. And with another 48 hours, I would like to think that Roy could give us some time. And everyone else that traveled to Texas is fine. We didn't get any practice-time injuries.

"Obviously, we don't have Mike D'Andrea, who had (knee) surgery last week. We're hoping he can get back for maybe a pro combine day.

"Devon Lyons is back in a blue jersey, which means he can run around, he just can't get hit. So, he's making a little progress. So, right now, knock on wood, we're healthy."

When asked if Hall might jump Brian Robiskie for the No. 3 WR role this week, Tressel said: "I don't know that Roy can go that much. He could be in there as the four or five. And it really gives you the chance to maybe have six, with Ray Small, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie. It just gives us more depth. I don't know if it would be fair to him to play him 40 plays, but maybe if he could get a dozen or 15 plays, that would be great."

Tressel also updated the status of sophomore cornerback Brandon Underwood. Much like his older brother E.J., Brandon has been a mystery man throughout his OSU career due to a myriad of academic problems and injuries. Underwood missed all of preseason camp and wasn't even listed on the official roster in August. But he is back working with the team and Tressel is hoping he will able to contribute at some point this year.

"You know, he's coming along OK," Tressel said. "Brandon is working on the scout team and he's missed 29 practices and a lot of learning time, but I would hope by the next couple of weeks that he could start showing some things, and who knows."

But even if Underwood starts to make progress, it's hard to imagine him playing much for the Buckeyes this season in the secondary. He has at least five cornerbacks ahead of him: Malcolm Jenkins, Donald Washington, Antonio Smith, Andre Amos and Kurt Coleman.

Tressel was asked specifically about Washington, the talented redshirt freshman from Indianapolis.

"I think Donald has made a lot of progress. He made enough progress that after game one he moved into the starting role. We put him on the field (corner) and moved Antonio Smith into the nickelback position. I feel real good about Donald. He gives us a little bit of ability to do some different things.

"Andre Amos is going to play some. Kurt Coleman is going to play some as well. And if you can just keep playing a lot of those young guys… with Malcolm kind of being the old guy of the group and Antonio being a swing guy between nickel and corner. We feel good about Donald."

It's hard to find a knock on the powerful OSU offense this season. But if there is something the Buckeyes need to get better at, it is running the football. And no one knows it better than Tressel.

"I think we have to become a better running team," he said. "We haven't met our goal either week of over 200 yards. But that doesn't mean we're going to line up and it doesn't matter what defense you're in we're going to run the ball. But we've been working hard on the run game and for us to become an even better team we're going to have to get better at running the football."

Antonio Pittman continues to impress as OSU's starting tailback. but a lot of people expected true freshman Chris "Beanie" Wells to play more. He had just five carries for 17 yards against Texas.

"A couple of things, I think," Tressel said when asked why Wells isn't getting more opportunities. "One is that we only had 53 plays, and over half of our plays were passes. Which, Woody (Hayes) would have been disappointed. And Antonio Pittman is our starting tailback. Would I have liked to have Beanie have 10 carries and Mo Wells in the high single digits and Antonio 15 to 20? Absolutely. We had some good fortune and we made some yards and scored some points. So, the games are shorter. I think that's what we're finding out a little bit. That makes every play even more special."

Tressel of course was referring to the new rule in college football that starts the clock early after changes of possession (when the official blows the whistle to start the play clock, allowing teams to burn up to 25 seconds). College coaches seem unanimous in their dislike of the new rule, but Tressel does not expect a mid-season change to the old rule.

"I think whenever you make decisions you have to give them time to study it," he said. "And it will be an interesting study. Numbers of plays, scores of games, parity of football, injuries. Are there going to be less injuries? We've added a 12th game and part of the discussion was you're adding a game so you're really not losing how much football you get to play. And again, I don't know what I agree with, but we need some data to study and I'm not going to waste any energy being disappointed with it right now."

Tressel mentioned at his press luncheon on Tuesday that he believes UC thinks Saturday's game could be an "ideal let-down game" for OSU, with it coming after the big win against Texas, and before the Big Ten opener against Penn State. But Tressel thinks his troops have looked good in practice this week and doesn't sense any complacency.

"Based upon what they are doing physically, I feel good," he said. "Our Tuesday practice was upbeat. I thought Wednesday was very good. I thought today, they moved around pretty well. Now, that's usually a good indication of paying attention to what they need to do to get better."

Tressel will be going head-to-head with his good friend and former OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio on Saturday. The UC head coach is known as a defensive genius and Tressel thinks he knows what to expect from the Bearcats' defense.

"If you recall, Dino's M.O. here was the zone blitz," Tressel said. "His is not a dangerous blitz, you know, leave someone alone type thing. Mark really spent a lot of time with (former OSU defensive back and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau – he is the father of the zone blitz and was really nice enough to take on our staff and teach us a lot about the zone blitz. So, Mark has been more of a zone blitz guy."

Tressel also talked about OSU senior quarterback Troy Smith who continues to establish himself as the early front-runner for the Heisman.

"Well, Troy has had two excellent games," Tressel said. "And the reality that I know and Troy knows and (quarterbacks coach Joe) Daniels knows is you're only as good as your next outing.

"He's worked hard this week and he even spent some time with one of our old quarterbacks, Craig Krenzel, who is going to be the honorary captain. Craig is trying to stay sharp film-wise and keep his head in the game while he's going through his (shoulder) injury. I even understand they were watching some film together and talking quarterback play. So, Troy has a real hunger to learn whatever he can from whoever he can and I hope he ends up being one of the great quarterbacks."

Smith and Krenzel were of course teammates on OSU's 2002 national championship team. In fact, Tressel pointed out that there are a total of 17 fifth-year seniors on OSU's roster that were on the roster with Krenzel during the unforgettable 14-0 season.

The one major surprise out of Smith this season has been his lack of rushing attempts. Who would have thought that Smith would have eight carries for minus-14 yards through two games? That's counting sacks, of course.

But, there could be a method to the madness. The Buckeyes might be protecting their best player to help him stay injury-free.

"I think that's true (wanting to keep him healthy) but I don't know that's why we haven't had him carry," Tressel said. "The option and the called quarterback runs have had a place in our game-plan the first two games. We just haven't seen the time to use them based upon what the opponent was doing. But I think everybody in the country knows that that will be a part of who we are."

And no one knows it better than Krenzel and the Miami Hurricanes.




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"To be a national champion, any team needs a little good luck. And who knows how this season will turn out for Ohio State, but so far the Buckeyes have been able to avoid the injury bug.

Even fifth-year senior Roy Hall, who has missed the first two weeks of the season with a sprained ankle, could return to action this Saturday against visiting Cincinnati (noon, ESPN Plus).

\"Roy Hall looked good this week,\" OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. \"I was really pleased with the way he played, today especially. And with another 48 hours, I would like to think that Roy could give us some time. And everyone else that traveled to Texas is fine. We didn't get any practice-time injuries.

\"Obviously, we don't have Mike D'Andrea, who had (knee) surgery last week. We're hoping he can get back for maybe a pro combine day.

\"Devon Lyons is back in a blue jersey, which means he can run around, he just can't get hit. So, he's making a little progress. So, right now, knock on wood, we're healthy.\"

When asked if Hall might jump Brian Robiskie for the No. 3 WR role this week, Tressel said: \"I don't know that Roy can go that much. He could be in there as the four or five. And it really gives you the chance to maybe have six, with Ray Small, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie. It just gives us more depth. I don't know if it would be fair to him to play him 40 plays, but maybe if he could get a dozen or 15 plays, that would be great.\"

Tressel also updated the status of sophomore cornerback Brandon Underwood. Much like his older brother E.J., Brandon has been a mystery man throughout his OSU career due to a myriad of academic problems and injuries. Underwood missed all of preseason camp and wasn't even listed on the official roster in August. But he is back working with the team and Tressel is hoping he will able to contribute at some point this year.

\"You know, he's coming along OK,\" Tressel said. \"Brandon is working on the scout team and he's missed 29 practices and a lot of learning time, but I would hope by the next couple of weeks that he could start showing some things, and who knows.\"

But even if Underwood starts to make progress, it's hard to imagine him playing much for the Buckeyes this season in the secondary. He has at least five cornerbacks ahead of him: Malcolm Jenkins, Donald Washington, Antonio Smith, Andre Amos and Kurt Coleman.

Tressel was asked specifically about Washington, the talented redshirt freshman from Indianapolis.

\"I think Donald has made a lot of progress. He made enough progress that after game one he moved into the starting role. We put him on the field (corner) and moved Antonio Smith into the nickelback position. I feel real good about Donald. He gives us a little bit of ability to do some different things.

\"Andre Amos is going to play some. Kurt Coleman is going to play some as well. And if you can just keep playing a lot of those young guys… with Malcolm kind of being the old guy of the group and Antonio being a swing guy between nickel and corner. We feel good about Donald.\"

It's hard to find a knock on the powerful OSU offense this season. But if there is something the Buckeyes need to get better at, it is running the football. And no one knows it better than Tressel.

\"I think we have to become a better running team,\" he said. \"We haven't met our goal either week of over 200 yards. But that doesn't mean we're going to line up and it doesn't matter what defense you're in we're going to run the ball. But we've been working hard on the run game and for us to become an even better team we're going to have to get better at running the football.\"

Antonio Pittman continues to impress as OSU's starting tailback. but a lot of people expected true freshman Chris \"Beanie\" Wells to play more. He had just five carries for 17 yards against Texas.

\"A couple of things, I think,\" Tressel said when asked why Wells isn't getting more opportunities. \"One is that we only had 53 plays, and over half of our plays were passes. Which, Woody (Hayes) would have been disappointed. And Antonio Pittman is our starting tailback. Would I have liked to have Beanie have 10 carries and Mo Wells in the high single digits and Antonio 15 to 20? Absolutely. We had some good fortune and we made some yards and scored some points. So, the games are shorter. I think that's what we're finding out a little bit. That makes every play even more special.\"

Tressel of course was referring to the new rule in college football that starts the clock early after changes of possession (when the official blows the whistle to start the play clock, allowing teams to burn up to 25 seconds). College coaches seem unanimous in their dislike of the new rule, but Tressel does not expect a mid-season change to the old rule.

\"I think whenever you make decisions you have to give them time to study it,\" he said. \"And it will be an interesting study. Numbers of plays, scores of games, parity of football, injuries. Are there going to be less injuries? We've added a 12th game and part of the discussion was you're adding a game so you're really not losing how much football you get to play. And again, I don't know what I agree with, but we need some data to study and I'm not going to waste any energy being disappointed with it right now.\"

Tressel mentioned at his press luncheon on Tuesday that he believes UC thinks Saturday's game could be an \"ideal let-down game\" for OSU, with it coming after the big win against Texas, and before the Big Ten opener against Penn State. But Tressel thinks his troops have looked good in practice this week and doesn't sense any complacency.

\"Based upon what they are doing physically, I feel good,\" he said. \"Our Tuesday practice was upbeat. I thought Wednesday was very good. I thought today, they moved around pretty well. Now, that's usually a good indication of paying attention to what they need to do to get better.\"

Tressel will be going head-to-head with his good friend and former OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio on Saturday. The UC head coach is known as a defensive genius and Tressel thinks he knows what to expect from the Bearcats' defense.

\"If you recall, Dino's M.O. here was the zone blitz,\" Tressel said. \"His is not a dangerous blitz, you know, leave someone alone type thing. Mark really spent a lot of time with (former OSU defensive back and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau – he is the father of the zone blitz and was really nice enough to take on our staff and teach us a lot about the zone blitz. So, Mark has been more of a zone blitz guy.\"

Tressel also talked about OSU senior quarterback Troy Smith who continues to establish himself as the early front-runner for the Heisman.

\"Well, Troy has had two excellent games,\" Tressel said. \"And the reality that I know and Troy knows and (quarterbacks coach Joe) Daniels knows is you're only as good as your next outing.

\"He's worked hard this week and he even spent some time with one of our old quarterbacks, Craig Krenzel, who is going to be the honorary captain. Craig is trying to stay sharp film-wise and keep his head in the game while he's going through his (shoulder) injury. I even understand they were watching some film together and talking quarterback play. So, Troy has a real hunger to learn whatever he can from whoever he can and I hope he ends up being one of the great quarterbacks.\"

Smith and Krenzel were of course teammates on OSU's 2002 national championship team. In fact, Tressel pointed out that there are a total of 17 fifth-year seniors on OSU's roster that were on the roster with Krenzel during the unforgettable 14-0 season.

The one major surprise out of Smith this season has been his lack of rushing attempts. Who would have thought that Smith would have eight carries for minus-14 yards through two games? That's counting sacks, of course.

But, there could be a method to the madness. The Buckeyes might be protecting their best player to help him stay injury-free.

\"I think that's true (wanting to keep him healthy) but I don't know that's why we haven't had him carry,\" Tressel said. \"The option and the called quarterback runs have had a place in our game-plan the first two games. We just haven't seen the time to use them based upon what the opponent was doing. But I think everybody in the country knows that that will be a part of who we are.\"

And no one knows it better than Krenzel and the Miami Hurricanes.

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