Bucknotes 11/8

Dave Biddle checks in with this week's Bucknotes, and he has plenty of quotes from Coach Tressel, who talked about Shane Olivea, Chris Gamble, Santonio Holmes, Maurice Clarett, scripting plays, and more.

Earlier this week, Ohio State radio broadcaster Jim Lachey, the former standout offensive lineman for OSU and the Washington Redskins, made an excellent comparison between Joe Gibbs and Jim Tressel.

"They are the same type of guys," Lachey said. "Joe never showed too much emotion on the field and Jim is the same way. In the locker room, it might be a little different, but they are both cool, calm and collected on the field. They don't show their emotions and they are always in control."

Gibbs coached the Redskins to three Super Bowl titles and is regarded as the one of the best game-planners of all time. Hopefully Tressel never leaves OSU to pursue a career as a NASCAR owner.

So, does this mean Ohio State gets to put up a 1992 Final Four banner?

Mike Jenkins breaks the game open with a big play. People might forget that the Minnesota cake-walk was anything but mid-way through the second quarter. With the Bucks trailing 3-0, Jenkins broke loose for a 49-yard reception leading to the first touchdown of the game.

If the Bucks are able to take care of business these next three weeks, we might look back on Jenkins' big play in the Wisconsin game as the catch that saved the season. If he doesn't come down with that ball, the Bucks are forced to punt from their own 16 trailing by one in the fourth quarter on the road. What a clutch player No. 12 has turned into.

It's a rule set up to protect quarterbacks, but Craig Krenzel doesn't take advantage of it nearly enough. Just like in the pros, if a QB is outside of the hashmarks, they can throw the ball away without penalty as long as the ball crosses the line of scrimmage. Krenzel addressed the topic earlier this week and knows better than anyone that he must do a better job of getting rid of the ball.

"Some of those sacks I took were my fault. I've got to make quicker decisions and get rid of it if nothing's there," Krenzel said.

We'll see if he improves this week because Purdue is a team that likes to blitz quite a bit.

So far this season, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 110-14 in the third quarter. How's that for halftime adjustments?

Offensive guard Mike Stafford played a considerable amount of plays against Minnesota, his first extended action since the Cincinnati game. Stafford had a couple of real nice pull blocks, one in particular on a long run by Mo Hall. It's nice to have Stafford back, who might be a more effective player than super-sized Adrien Clarke.

Michigan is tipping its plays. He mentioned it over and over again during ESPN2's broadcast of the UM-MSU game last week. The people at Michigan might never let Spielman announce one of their games again, although Buckeye-backers do appreciate his efforts in espionage.

The Buckeyes' six-man rotation on the defensive line is nothing short of lethal. I never thought we'd see a better Buckeye line than the Vrabel-Fickell-Finkes crew, but this year's might be better because of depth.

Will Smith, Darrion Scott, Tim Anderson and Kenny Peterson are excellent players, but when you can bring David Thompson and Simon Fraser off the bench, you are talking about something special. It means two of the linemen are always getting a rest, which keeps them fresh for the second half.

Not really. They have a general idea of what plays they want to run early in the game, but nothing is ever etched in stone.

"The problem you get into with scripting is when a team has two weeks to prepare for you, they can come out with something different," Tressel said. "I struggle to list a script and say to my players, ‘Now look, we're going to run these plays,' because it might not be what the task needs. One thing I learned from Earle Bruce is that everyone is going to play Ohio State a little differently, so you better be able to adjust when you're coaching at Ohio State, especially on offense."

Will tailback Maurice Clarett play this week? It's looking more and more like he will.

"I thought his practices on Wednesday and Thursday had more life and pizzazz than Tuesday," Tressel said. "His strength continues to go up. The final determination of whether he'll play or not won't be a coaching decision, because from a coaching standpoint he's ready to play. It will be a medical decision on Friday after the week of practice is over and he's had a chance to regain his strength. The doctors will test his strength and if he meets the test requirements for the strength the doctors will let him go and then it's a matter of how he fares from there. But he seemed to have a little more bounce in his step Wednesday and Thursday than I think he's had in the last week and half. He went through everything that everyone else did and I expect him to play on Saturday."


With Chris Vance unavailable for the Purdue game (attending the funeral of his brother), what does the depth chart look like at receiver? Is Drew Carter next in line, or did Bam Childress pass him up? Any other wideouts looking good in practice? Tressel addressed all of those questions earlier this week.

"Chris Gamble plays the same position that Chris Vance does, if we're just with two wides. With Chris Vance out this week, when we go to three wides, the top three will be Mike Jenkins, Chris Gamble and Bam Childress. If we have a play-numbers problem because of drives on defense or something like that (in reference to Gamble), then Drew Carter of course can step up for us. Mo Lee will also make the trip this weekend. And another guy who we're planning on redshirting, who I think is going to be a superstar around here, is Santonio Holmes. I don't look for us to play him because he would then lose his redshirt opportunity, but on the other hand, we have to what's best for the team."

Fans were a bit surprised that Shane Olivea played as much as he did against Minnesota. Well, so was Tressel.

"We only thought Shane was going to play around 20 snaps, but he played much more than that. Coming off an appendectomy, I mean, this is 2002 I guess, but 12 days away from an appendectomy is amazing to me. But Shane is a competitor. Shane is a good player. We are a better team when we've got that big guy in there because, I think, there can't be many tackles in the Big Ten that are better than him," Tressel said.

Why have the Bucks dominated in the second half this year? Tressel knows part of the reason why.

"Conditioning has been a big factor. I think we're in excellent shape. Al Johnson, Mike Cochran and Bernardo Amerson have done a great job and the players have been working hard on their conditioning ever since January," Tressel said.

Contact Dave at sports@madison-press.com

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