In his final press conference before the game against the Boilermakers (noon, Big Ten Network), Tressel said he has seen good work from his beleaguered offensive unit but that it has not been largely different from any other week this season.
"I think any time you don't get as many plays as you like and you don't do as well as you'd like, you have a little bit of that feeling, that something inside of you that says, ‘We've got to explode,' " Tressel said. "Now, we have to go do that. I've seen good work out of our guys this week, but I've seen good work out of our guys most every week.
"I've never had a week where I said, ‘Oh man, these guys just aren't getting it.' I really felt for two days we were sharp."
As usual, Thursday's practice will focus more on the team's mental preparations for the game. How well the offense responds during that practice will be a strong indication of how the team will fare this weekend.
Cordle suffered a foot injury during the USC game and has not played since, although Tressel said he could have played last week against Wisconsin in an emergency. This week, he has gone through 90 percent of the drills in practice and was expected to take part in all of Thursday's practice.
The majority of Cordle's practice reps have come at either tackle or center, Tressel said. The question is where he will fit back into the lineup and whether he will reclaim the starting spot filled in his absence by sophomore J.B. Shugarts.
"I would say this game he would probably spot at various places until he's 100 percent and who knows, he could get into the game at a position and just go," Tressel said. "Down the road, I'm not exactly sure how it will go. If we can play eight guys, that always helps."
Freshman Marcus Hall will continue to rotate in at right tackle as well. As for Miller, the former starter has missed the last two games while he has battled a flu virus that has run through the team.
He returned to practice this week in a limited capacity but is still not to a position where he can be a major contributor.
"Andrew Miller lost about 18 pounds and doesn't have the stamina and power that he had when he's healthy," Tressel said. "I would say that if he can help us Saturday, it would be a handful of plays. He probably wouldn't be able to go a whole bunch of plays in a row. I expect that to come back fast, but this will be his third practice in the last 2½ weeks."
Miller started the first three games of the season before giving way to freshman Mike Adams in week four. The junior also is a member of OSU's field goal unit and will be able to fulfill that role this weekend, Tressel said.
Fifth-year senior Andrew Moses has worked at center and guard in a backup role this week, while Miller has primarily worked at guard. Cordle has taken some snaps at left tackle as well.
The Buckeyes carrying the ball behind that line are hoping to stay healthy as well. Sophomore Dan Herron will not make the trip after re-aggravating an ankle injury against the Badgers while freshman Jaamal Berry also will stay in Columbus.
That leaves junior Brandon Saine and true freshman Jordan Hall to carry the load with redshirt freshman Jermil Martin the next player on the list. Hall has been sidelined by the flu this week but returned to practice Wednesday and looked fine, Tressel said.
"We feel as if Jordan is a veteran," the coach said. "He's a smart football player. We don't have much trepidation with Brandon and Jordan. Now after that, we're young. There's concern."
As for the offense as a whole, Tressel said he likes the excitement he has seen this week. Now the task is to see how well his team can adapt to mid-game challenges – an area in which the coach said this week he feels the team has been struggling.
"I think what you want to do and what you're excited about doing, you have a better chance of accomplishing that but you still have to go do it," he said. "To me, your ability to explode is how well will you adapt to what your opponent is going to do?
"We're used to people doing different things (against us). Now we have to get better at adjusting to that."