Since Boise State and Oklahoma played in this year's Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium prior to the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, the Buckeyes have been staying and practicing at different locations than they did during their previous trips to Phoenix.
During Tressel's first formal press conference since arriving in the Valley of the Sun last week, coach Tessel said while some may view the Buckeyes as the home team due to the amount of time they've spent in Phoenix, their current location is not too familiar to them. "The people over at the Fort McDowell Resort have been tremendous in setting up our temporary headquarters and the Desert Mountain High School, those folks have been tremendous," he stated. Tressel noted that they won't be able to move to their home away from home, the Fairmount Princess, until later today. The Buckeyes will also shift their practice facility to Pinnacle High School, where the team prepared for last year's Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.
While the team has had to get use to temporary facilities, Tressel said they've been able to get in a couple of good practices over the last few days. And while Tressel admitted that all the mountains in the Phoenix area can be disorienting, he said any advantage OSU has by playing in Phoenix again comes from being well acquainted with the people who run the Fiesta Bowl, as well as this year's national title game. "When you land here, you know that you're going to be playing against a great opponent," Tressel said. "It's exciting, it's what everybody in the country set as their goal going into the season." "It was our goal to be here, and now we have to make sure that while we're here we do the things that need to be done," said the Buckeyes' boss.
The Buckeyes' leader said he's not too worried about familiarity breeding complacency among his players, or the OSU faithful. "I think you'll find out that there isn't (any burn-out among the fans), because they'll show up…I think."
Tressel noted that while this team is different than the group he led to the 2002 national title, their similarities come in how they want to be remembered. "They're a good bunch of young people that prepare hard," he said. "Football's important to them, their teammates are important to them, they want to represent Ohio State. That's very important to them."
Coach Tressel said while many of the players and some OSU administrators attended Monday night's thrilling Fiesta Bowl between the Broncos and Sooners, he and the rest of the coaching staff were working. "I got to watch a little bit of the end," Tressel claimed. Noting that Boise State executed some trick plays in critical situations, he joked with a reporter who asked if the Buckeyes have any of the same plays. "Ya, let me get a chalkboard and I'll show ‘em all to ya," he said. The coach also claimed he hoped his team learned some lessons from watching the Broncos' feisty comeback to top the Sooners. "The game is never over, and that's the way Boise State played." The reality of college football with overtime's, there were all zeros on the clock and it still wasn't over," he said. "It's a tremendous lesson for football, for life and for everything," said the coach who sees himself as a teacher and mentor of his players.
Dave Rice will be covering the Ohio State Buckeyes as a fully credentialed reporter throughout National Championship Week.
Rice has been working in the local and national media field for more than a decade. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Northern Arizona University and has been serving as a writer, editor and producer of sports and international news for a national wire service for nearly ten years.
Originally from the Cincinnati area, Dave is a lifelong Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State University fan. He enjoys spending time with his wife, young daughter and by watching high school and college sports.