Talkin' Tressel: Minnesota Edition

It has been a week full of storylines as Ohio State has worked to erase the loss suffered last weekend on the road against Purdue. Get head coach Jim Tressel's final thoughts on the team heading into Saturday's game with Minnesota as he updates the health of the team as well as how he feels the team has responded in practice this week.

During his final press conference before this weekend's game, Jim Tressel was asked what improvements he would like to see from his offense.

"Outside of the obvious?" the Ohio State head coach replied.

So it goes for a Buckeye offense looking to right itself and push itself to 4-1 in Big Ten play against the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers (noon, ESPN). OSU has scored only 25 points in its last two contests and the hope for the coaches is that the Buckeyes will be able to turn it around this weekend.

"Let's not have short drives that are ended by three-and-outs or turnovers," Tressel said. "What we always tell our guys is if we can end every drive with a kick, that's what I'd like to see our offense do. That, to me, would be where you'd like them to get."

One person that message needs to get through to is sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who personally accounted for four fumbles in the team's 26-18 loss to unranked Purdue last weekend. Wednesday night, a more relaxed-looking Pryor met with reporters and said he felt less pressure on his shoulders heading into the weekend.

This week, Tressel said he has seen improvement from his quarterback and told him so after Tuesday's practice.

"I thought he had a very good week," Tressel said. "He asked me, ‘How do you think I did?' and I said, ‘Well, about 95 percent of the time I felt you were right on task and really did what we needed you to do, but we got sacked on too many. You've got to throw it away.'

"Outside of that one (area), he did really good."

During his Tuesday press luncheon, Tressel said the offensive tackles had a number of missed assignments against the Boilermakers that helped make it difficult for the OSU offense to function. This week, the line will be at less than 100 percent as a number of players are battling injuries.

Tressel listed starters Michael Brewster (center), Mike Adams (left tackle) and Justin Boren (left guard) as players who will play but will not be fully healthy this weekend. Also included in that mix are reserves Andy Miller and Jim Cordle, who continue to recover from the flu and injury, respectively.

"What percent they are, I would probably have to visit with you after today," Tressel said, adding that the linemen are suffering from injuries and not the flu.

Miller had lost 18 pounds with the illness but has regained about 15, putting his weight at around 285, Tressel said.

"I think he's in a lot better (shape)," Tressel said. "(Offensive line) coach (Jim) Bollman said yesterday he had as good a day as maybe he's had all season. Maybe that's fresh legs, I don't know."

As for fully healthy linemen, Tressel cited starters J.B. Shugarts (right tackle) and Bryant Browning (right guard) as well as reserve right tackle Marcus Hall.

The offense will not have running backs Dan Herron or Jaamal Berry this weekend while they recover from injuries, and Berry is looking like a more likely redshirt candidate this season. He did not practice this week.

"I don't know about a wash, but we might use it as a developmental redshirt year," Tressel said. "Every week you get a week closer to it."

As for Herron, the goal is to be back before the team's road trip to Penn State in two weeks. The depth chart this week features Brandon Saine as the starter followed by Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin.

Junior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore suffered an injury to his right knee in the team's Oct. 3 victory at Indiana and has since been out of the lineup. The hope is to have him back in November, Tressel said, but he did not have a specific week in mind.

Larimore had been walking with a cane during the first week he was out but was spotted without it prior to the Purdue game.

For the team as a whole, Tressel said he felt the last week has been one of good focus for the Buckeyes.

"I thought we had a good week of practice," he said. "Was it simply because we didn't do well last weekend? I'm sure that's part of it. We happened to have two great weather days. I thought it was very solid.

"Unfortunately, the only way you really evaluate that is how well you do on the subsequent Saturday."

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