Tressel, Buckeyes Expect Beanie To Play

For the first time since the first game of the season, Ohio State fans can start expecting their team's primary offensive weapon to be available come Saturday. Head coach Jim Tressel updated the status of Chris "Beanie" Wells as well as his teammates at his weekly press luncheon, and we have all the details.

Ohio State is turning over two new pages in its book this week.

One sees the Buckeyes open up Big Ten play with a home game against Minnesota this Saturday (noon, Big Ten Network) for eight straight conference games, while the other should see the return of the biggest piece of the team's offensive puzzle in tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells.

Speaking with reporters at his weekly press luncheon as well as on a teleconference for the conference coaches, OSU head coach Jim Tressel termed Wells as being "probable" for the team's game against the Golden Gophers.

"Yesterday Beanie ran every snap he was asked to run and he looked to me better than I thought he might look," Tressel said. "He said he feels wonderful."

The addition of the powerful Wells to an offensive attack that now features a dual-threat quarterback in freshman starter Terrelle Pryor might be exactly what the Buckeyes need to snap out of an early-season funk that has seen them struggle to consistently move the football.

"I think it adds to our arsenal," Tressel said. "He's a good back. He can do some things."

The coaches have not yet planned how that will exactly unfold, but the problem must be a good one to have. After injuring his right foot in OSU's season-opening win against Youngstown State, Wells has missed the last three games while trying to battle his way back from injury.

Wells will be fitted with a special shoe to help better distribute the stress on his injured foot.

Pryor's development has come with an increased role during practice. During OSU's Monday practice, he took 10 of the 15 team snaps and was expected to take between 40 and 45 of the team's 65-70 snaps Tuesday.

With Pryor at the helm and redshirt freshman Dan Herron in the backfield, the Buckeyes defeated visiting Troy by a 28-10 score Sept. 20. Pryor tossed a school-record four touchdown passes in his first start, but he was not the only new face in the lineup.

Freshman center Mike Brewster also earned his first career start as junior Jim Cordle slid over to left guard and replaced the injured Steve Rehring. While Rehring is expected to be out of the lineup for "another week or so," according to Tressel, it was Cordle who earned offensive lineman of the week honors for his performance.

In addition to his duties at guard, Cordle helped Brewster with the calls at the line as well.

"I thought Jimmy Cordle probably had, outside of Michael Brewster, the toughest duty," Tressel said. "He had to change positions, worry about himself, do all he could do to help guy and he did it very well and he did it fast."

Brewster improved as the game went on, Tressel said, and the rest of the line played solid but not spectacular. The lineup does not figure to change until Rehring's return.

Joining Rehring on the disabled list is backup middle linebacker and special teams standout Austin Spitler, who suffered a leg injury on a punt against the Trojans. Sophomore linebacker Tyler Moeller is expected to be back in the lineup this week, and senior running back Maurice Wells has been limited by an undisclosed injury for the last week or so.

The team's defensive line has also seen a shakeup, as sophomore defensive end Cameron Heyward is now listed as one of the starters at defensive tackle. Taking his place at the end is sophomore Thaddeus Gibson, who saw the most playing time of his OSU career against Troy.

"When you play those spread teams, you want to get a little less size on the edge and a little more quickness in the middle," Tressel said. "It's just a matter of deploying a similar body type to what you're facing."

Heyward lined up both inside and outside against Troy, and Tressel said he graded out with a winning performance.

In all, Tressel said "five or six" players graded out with winning performances against Troy.

"There were some excellent performances, but probably not as many winning performances as we would like to have," he said.


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