Notebook: Daniels Recovering And More

As the Buckeyes prepare for Purdue, find out the latest on the health of Ohio State quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels, who has the most Buckeye leaves on the squad, what Rory Nicol thinks of playing at Purdue and what Brian Robiskie was thinking when he made his acrobatic touchdown grab against Minnesota last weekend.

The coaching profession is not one renowned for allowing its members to be well-rested. Plenty of stories abound of coaches sleeping on cots in their own offices in order to get the maximum amount of work done in any given time period.

For Ohio State quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels, sleep is placed at a slightly higher premium than it is for most coaches. After being diagnosed with kidney cancer during the summer of 2006, Daniels recovered while also working, never missing a day with the Buckeyes.

Now more than one year later, he said he seldom feels the ill effects from the cancer provided he gets enough rest.

"I'm really feeling pretty well," he said. "It would help. The biggest thing is if I could get enough sleep. That's the biggest key. If I could get a schedule where I could get the sleep that I need, then I'm all right."

On his current schedule, Daniels said he leaves the Woody Hayes Athletic Center sometime around 10 p.m. every evening and reports back to work around 7:30 the following morning. Night games – such as last weekend's contest with Minnesota that saw the Buckeyes arrive home around 4 a.m. on Sunday – further complicate things.

One year later, the coach said he does not feel hindered in what he can or can not do while at work. That was not necessarily the case one season ago, he said.

"That was difficult," he said. "That was a challenge at times. Some days it really was a challenge, but I haven't had anything like that (this year)."

Who Has The Most? As the season goes on, OSU's silver helmets begin to take on more of a whitish hue as players accumulate more and more Buckeye leaves. Awarded on a week-by-week basis, a player can receive a leaf for meeting any of a number of goals, both individual and team.

Through five games this season, the Buckeyes are being led both on the field and on the helmet by junior linebacker James Laurinaitis. The 2006 first-team All-Big Ten player leads the Buckeyes with 43 tackles – 15 more than runner-up linebacker Marcus Freeman.

Laurinaitis' helmet will also hold 46 Buckeye leaves this weekend when the Buckeyes hit the road to face Purdue. Showing that tackles are not the only stat considered when handing out leaves, Freeman is third on the team in leaves with 38.

In addition to Laurinaitis, he ranks behind senior linebacker Larry Grant, who has 15 tackles – tied for sixth-best on the squad – and 42 leaves.

The Circus Catch While there were several highlights from OSU's 30-7 victory over Minnesota last weekend, one enduring image of Brian Robiskie seems to stand out.

With time running low in the first half, the junior wide receiver hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Todd Boeckman that required an adjustment on his part. Sensing that the ball was slightly underthrown, Robiskie hesitated for a split second and got in front of his defender, leaping to make the catch and pushing the OSU lead to 20-7.

Later, OSU's leading receiver with 25 catches for 530 yards and six touchdowns this season said he was just trying to make a play on the ball – not necessarily make the catch.

"The route that we had called was just a read route and I just kind of read what the defense had," he said. "I just tried to take off down the field, and once I saw where the ball was I kind of knew that I was going to have to make a play because Todd throwing the ball up there, it shows what kind of trust he has. Coach Tressel and (wide receivers) coach (Darrell) Hazell, they're always telling you that if you can't catch it, then no one does."

Quotable When asked about the atmosphere the Buckeyes would be facing at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium, junior tight end Rory Nicol did not mince words.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of drunk people," he said, referring to the late (8 p.m.) starting time. "Every team that plays us, this is the showtime. This is the showdown. That's how it is. We're going to go there and their fans are going to be in our face. Their fans are going to spit on you from the sideline from about six feet away. It's going to be rah-rah, but it's going to be fun. The whole world is watching. Everybody gets to see what we can do, and it's on us to go out there and perform. It's another game. You've just got to go out there and execute."

Nicol was on the roster for OSU's last trip to West Lafayette, Ind. That game resulted in a 24-17 loss for the Buckeyes. He said he expects the best effort the Boilermakers can muster – something he said he expects out of every team the Buckeyes face.

"When they play at Ohio State, it's the showdown, it's the game, but we play 12 schools every year," he said. "Maybe you prepare for that Michigan game a little bit different, but other than that those 11 teams, they're all good teams."

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