Talkin' Tressel: Thursday Edition

OSU head coach Jim Tressel is always sure to point out his top scout team performers from the previous week every Tuesday, but this week he gave some early praise to some of those who are helping his team prepare for Illinois.

If Ohio State makes a better showing against Illinois than the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes did last season, there is a good chance the scout team will deserve some of the credit.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel told reporters the members of his team impersonating Illinois on both sides of the ball have excelled this week.

"I was very impressed this week at the way guys picked things up, scout team-wise, what they needed to do to give us the best look," Tressel said.

In particular, the coach said he noticed running back Daniel "Boom" Herron on offense and safeties Nate Oliver and Rocco Pentello on defense.

"This is a little bit different secondary configuration than we're used to having, so those guys have done a real good job of giving us the kind of look we need," Tressel said.

A strong week of preparation would seem to belie the fact that Ohio State will not overlook Illinois – whom it beat by only seven points last season – despite a trip to Michigan looming seven days later.

"From what I've seen, no, not at all," Tressel said. "Our guys know how good Illinois is."

Even prior to studying film that focused on the Fighting Illini this week, the Buckeyes got previews of Illinois from watching films of Ron Zook's team against previous foes such as Penn State and Wisconsin.

"That to me is what creates focus, that you know what you're up against," Tressel said. In terms of injuries, Tressel announced reserve safety Aaron Gant will be back to help out primarily on special teams, while the injuries of both defensive linemen Robert Rose and Todd Denlinger have improved this week.

For Denlinger, who has been bothered by an upper leg bruise for the better part of the last six weeks, that means he will continue to get closer to his normal role.

Rose will play but only in a limited capacity.

"I wouldn't look for him tons," Tressel said of Rose.

The coach also confirmed that because of a toe injury, Ross Homan's regular season is likely over, a scenario first brought to light one day earlier by co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.

At the conclusion of Tressel's meeting with the media, the university announced that it will honor men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces with a variety of recognitions before and after the football game Saturday.

Among those activities scheduled to take place are the display of an armed forces vehicle at St. John Arena prior to the game, an F-16 fly-over, a moment of silence prior to the national anthem and recognition of the ROTC and Ohio's 42 National Guard units.

Additionally, the OSU Marching Band's halftime show will have a patriotic theme and "God Bless America" will be played during the break between the third and fourth quarters, when all active military and veterans will be asked to stand and a list of OSU war casualties will appear on the stadium video board.

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