Jard Work: A Rocky Apology

Did you hear Jim Tressel's reaction to criticism about comments he made earlier in the week? Or the latest on Brandon Saine, Jordan Hall and their respective roles in the Ohio State offense? How about Tressel's honeymoon? These topics and more are covered in this week's edition of 'Jard Work.'

Jim Tressel took rare aim at some of Ohio State's most fanatical fans on Tuesday, labeling them "miserable."

Two days later at his final press conference of the week, the head coach of the Buckeyes stopped short of issuing an apology and instead lamented the fact that his comments were made in a room full of reporters.

"My dad taught me a long time ago you'll have 1,000 chances to keep your mouth shut. Use every one of them," Tressel said. "I don't know what attention it's gotten, but no one could have better fans than we do. If anyone was half as miserable as we were on Sunday and Monday, I can understand them being miserable. You live and learn."

Tressel said he had not been addressed by anyone on the comments.

"I always used to tell (former OSU athletics communications director Steve Snapp) and why I tell (Snapp's replacement) Shelly (Poe) now, I'm not sure what I have to gain by visiting with this group (of reporters) but I enjoy it and unfortunately I talk too much but life will go on."

Decide for yourself if that qualifies as an apology.

As for the criticism that has been directed at the Buckeyes since the loss, senior captain Doug Worthington said he has not paid it much attention.

"I have a deaf ear to that because there's not too many Buckeye fans not behind you," he said. "If that's the case then they're not Buckeye fans really. I take criticism well. Nobody can critique me like I do, so at the end of the day I just want the team to get ready for the Toledo game. All the naysayers are not important in our locker room."

Backing Up The Boom: Through the first two games of the 2009 season, the Buckeyes have used exactly two running backs. The OSU coaching staff likes to have "a pair and a spare" ready to go at all times, which begs the question of who the spare might be.

The Buckeyes brought in two freshmen in four-star recruit Jaamal Berry and three-star athlete Jordan Hall. Tressel said the plan is not to redshirt either of them, but Hall currently has the upper hand on Berry who is currently nursing an injury Tressel is not entirely certain about.

"Jaamal has been nursing a little bit of a hammy or I don't know what, exactly," Tressel said. "Jordan has gotten more reps lately. Then probably the case right now, Marcus Williams is the old standby, knowing how to do everything."

Berry was limited by wrist and ankle injuries as a senior but rushed for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior at Miami Palmetto. Hall, who was prep teammates with Terrelle Pryor, picked up 946 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior.

Starting tailback Dan Herron has carried the ball 35 times for 116 yards so far this year, and backup Brandon Saine has 10 carries for 55 yards. Pryor is the No. 2 rusher on the team with 16 rushes for 66 yards.

Herron's average of 3.3 yards per carry has some wondering why Saine is not toting the ball more often. Tressel said the plan is to get him more involved in the game plan in a few different ways going forward.

"He would be a guy that, as we envision how we want to be offensively he'll have more carries than he had but you'd always like to integrate him into the passing game," Tressel said. "He's an excellent receiver whether it's out of the backfield or out (wide). He a guy that we envision having more carries."

Carter Continues To Impress: One of Isaac Newton's laws states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Case in point: Duron Carter and Taurian Washington. When the season began, Carter – a true freshman – was on the two-deep but behind Washington, a junior, among other players.

Two games into the season, Carter has three catches and Washington has one dropped pass. Now the freshman has worked his way into the lineup as one of the top three wide receivers, while Washington has slid down the totem pole.

Tressel said that the depth chart at wide receiver now reads Dane Sanzenbacher, DeVier Posey, Carter, Ray Small, Lamaar Thomas and Washington.

Smith Goes To Practice: In the days after the Buckeyes lost to USC, athletic director Gene Smith made it a point to talk to the team about what he learned about the team in the loss. As Tressel related it, Smith told the team that they had really "brought it" against the Trojans and if they produce the same effort each week they will have a successful season.

That message left an impression on Worthington.

"He told us that the season's not over and a lot of Buckeye fans are behind us and they forgot about the game and they want to be able to root for us for the rest of the season," the defensive lineman said. "He said just go out there and compete every week and if we play like we did against USC we'll be hard to beat. You've got to compete and prepare every week."

It's Fundamental: Since his arrival on campus, the OSU coaches have talked about Pryor's need to improve his footwork to become a more effective passing quarterback.

Quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano was asked how his star pupil has progressed along those lines.

"His footwork has been very good actually," he said. "There's going to be times for every quarterback when you have to stand in there and throw the ball down the field and your feet aren't going to be in perfect position and you've still got to make the throw. Those are the hard ones."

A Sept. 15 column from the Sporting News listed Siciliano as the assistant coach on the hottest seat in the country, but the first-year coach said he is not feeling any added pressure.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "I know how hard (Pryor) works. I know how hard I work. I know how hard our players and the rest of our coaches work, so I don't feel any pressure. I know that we're busting our butts to make sure we're putting in all the time and the effort needed to be a good football program."

Honeymoon? What Honeymoon? When a reporter suggested to Tressel that his honeymoon period with the OSU faithful was fading, the coach had a quick comeback.

"You felt like it's been a nine-year honeymoon? You must not have liked your honeymoon," he said with a laugh.


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