Tressel Thursday Update: Barton Will Play

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters following Thursday's practice. Tressel feels very good about the progress of right tackle Kirk Barton and believes he will draw the starting assignment against Michigan State on Saturday. Tressel also talked about the progress of defensive tackle David Patterson, the similarities of OSU's and MSU's offenses and much more.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel feels good about the progress of right tackle Kirk Barton who played sparingly last week against Bowling Green with a foot injury. Tressel says Barton will definitely play and possibly start against Michigan State on Saturday (3:40 p.m., ABC).

"In fact, (offensive line coach) Jim Bollman told me after yesterday's practice and reinforced again today that Kirk probably has a little bit more power than he's had for the last year," Tressel said. "His procedure was a positive thing and that's what he needed to get done."

Defensive tackle David Patterson had his knee scoped on Tuesday and it was initially thought that he could miss two or three weeks. But Tressel believes that Patterson could be back as early as next week.

"The thing that I've heard is that there's a good chance for Indiana," Tressel said. "Which, we were told when you have procedures like that, the best news is a week, and the worst two weeks. Very similar to (Maurice Clarett in 2002) and we've had Donte Whitner who only missed one game and that type of thing."

Joel Penton will start alongside Quinn Pitcock on Saturday, and Todd Denlinger will also play a lot off the bench. And there is one more defensive tackle that has stepped up in Patterson's absence.

"David is a great player and to pick up his production is a great challenge," Tressel said. "And as I listen to (defensive coordinator Jim) Heacock, he obviously has great confidence in the guys that have been rolling in there with Quinn and Joel and Todd Denlinger. But he thinks that Doug Worthington with more reps and more practices has really stepped to the forefront."

Tressel thinks that Worthington will definitely see some action against Michigan State.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I think just facing him last year in scout team, he plays with a flat back, he has a lot of power, he plays low, hard guy to move. He's going to be a big, strong guy one day."

Michigan State is reeling after three consecutive losses, but Tressel knows that a win over top-ranked Ohio State could turn the Spartans' season around.

"Absolutely," Tressel said. "When you get in the middle of the Big Ten schedule and some people have wins and some people don't have as many wins as they want, all of a sudden those games get even bigger than you thought they might be. We knew going into the year that we were going to be going into a lot of big games on the road and we knew we were going to have to be extremely good to be successful and we haven't changed our discussion about that."

The weather is expected to be in the high 40's on Saturday with a chance of a rain/snow mix, but Tressel doesn't seem too concerned about the playing conditions.

"Well, it's probably a little cooler than a normal mid-October," he said. "But we've all had some games where it was a lot colder than it is going to be on Saturday and ones that mean a lot. We had a nice, brisk workout today. I mean, that wind was going pretty good."

Offensively, the Buckeyes and Spartans are very similar in terms of their formations. And Tressel hinted that OSU might have copied a few ideas out of the MSU playbook over the years.

"Yeah, we do a lot of things like spreading the field out like Michigan State does," Tressel said. "We may have even borrowed a few things over the course of time, who knows."

Michigan State enters the game fairly banged up. Tailback Javon Ringer is out for the season and wide receiver Matt Trannon is out for at least this week. Plus, the Spartans are nursing several other injuries, including on their offensive line.

"Trannon and Ringer to me are very significant," Tressel said. "As are a free safety and a captain defensive lineman. I think it's fairly typical. Now, what other bangs and bruises do they have? I'm not sure. But when you lose guys that you are really counting on, that affects you. Unfortunately, you know that that's part of it and every game you come out of healthy you're really happy. But losing Ringer, I thought he was outstanding. I felt that way about him all along. And Trannon is a good, good player. But the guys they put in for them aren't bad. But yeah, it hurts losing those guys."

Tressel was also asked about OSU freshman kicker Aaron Pettrey. He has been solid this year, but hasn't faced too many pressure situations.

"Well, I think Aaron was in a pressure situation when we took the ball and went down the field, 0-0 at Texas, and he didn't make it," he said. "Then later came back and made one. So, I think he's been in a couple. Hasn't been in any game-winner situations. And yeah, you don't know how that's going to happen until you line up for that. It will happen one day."


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