Ohio State: The Latest

With the men's basketball team playing an early Saturday game, the Ohio State football team was recognized at halftime. Following the ceremony, head coach Jim Tressel discussed Lawrence Wilson, Eugene Clifford, Donald Washington, Antonio Henton and more, and BuckeyeSports.com has all the news.

With Ohio State on the verge of heading to New Orleans to take part in the BCS National Championship Game, head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters at halftime of the OSU men's basketball game on Saturday.

The meeting marked the first time Tressel has spoken publicly since reserve cornerback Eugene Clifford was suspended for the title game and starting cornerback Donald Washington was exonerated of what was rumored to be a similar fate.

Asked if the Buckeyes were ever close to losing Washington for the game, Tressel responded with a simple, "No."

"You always get disappointed when guys have to lose privileges, and we constantly talk about it," Tressel said. "We constantly warn our guys. Just from a pure football standpoint, Eugene really wasn't in the mix the last half of the season due to his injury."

Aside from Clifford's suspension, Tressel said there have been no new injuries or suspensions to report. Sophomore defensive end Robert Rose will not play in the game after undergoing a shoulder procedure following the Michigan game, while linebackers Ross Homan and Curtis Terry will also finish out their seasons on the sidelines and take redshirts.

"We're in good shape," Tressel said. "The thing I worry about in those long preparation times is when you bang into each other so many times you get people hurt. Outside of some soreness and that kind of thing – knock on wood, we have a pretty good (practice) coming on Monday and then we'll really get into game week mode – I think we'll be very healthy and all be there."

After suffering a fractured tibia in the first game of the season, junior defensive end Lawrence Wilson has been working to return in time for the team's final game. However, it appears he will not be suiting up against LSU despite the fact that he has made recent progress.

Wilson has taken part in the last "three or four" practices, Tressel said.

"I don't know that Lawrence will be ready to play," Tressel said. "We've been trying to get him and maybe move him along so he can give us a little time. If the game were today, I don't think he'd play."

Quarterback Robby Schoenhoft is continuing to work on the scout team as a tight end for the Buckeyes after being moved there following the Michigan game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Antonio Henton, who missed seven games after an off-field incident during the year, is now firmly entrenched as the team's No. 2 quarterback behind junior Todd Boeckman.

A big part of the reason the move was made was to ensure that the team could get enough reps for its top two quarterbacks as OSU prepared for the bowl game. With Boeckman, Henton and Schoenhoft all splitting time, the decision was made to give Henton the second-most snaps. Had he not missed time, the decision could have been made sooner during the season.

It remains to be seen if Henton will see playing time against the Tigers, but Tressel said he feels confident enough in the Georgia native's abilities that he could potentially use him as a change-of-pace quarterback to offset Boeckman's abilities.

"We'd like to think that that could be something that we'd like to do," Tressel said. "We're preparing to do that. You have to, just in case an injury occurs, but you'd like to to have the bonus to have maybe a little change of pace.

"That was our intention through all these practices, was to get a second guy ready to maybe give you a jump-start here or there."

When the Buckeyes return for spring practice, Schoenhoft will be back at quarterback as No. 3 on the depth chart.

The entire team was recognized at halftime of the OSU men's basketball game for winning its third consecutive Big Ten title. Senior captains Dionte Johnson and Kirk Barton presented OSU director of athletics Gene Smith with the outright conference championship trophy.

"It's been a long and fun season, but it's not over with yet," Johnson told the crowd. "I'll see you all down in New Orleans."

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