Buckeyes Begin Prep Work For Oregon

The regular season is complete for all teams across the nation, and the Rose Bowl sits as the next game on Ohio State's schedule. After enjoying his team's annual awards banquet, head coach Jim Tressel shared his early thoughts on Oregon and his team's last game of the season.

Duck hunting season has already begun in Columbus, but that does not mean Ohio State knows what it will do to attack Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Following the team's awards banquet in downtown Columbus, Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel said he has not had a chance to extensively study what Oregon does but that he did watch the team's 37-33 victory Thursday night against Oregon State.

"It was a great football game between two great teams," the coach said. "They were extremely competitive and extremely fast. They play with a lot of confidence. If you can win that league, you're pretty good. I think that league was very, very balanced, which makes a league more balanced."

The Buckeyes will not start to fully get into preparation for the Ducks until Thursday, when the school's finals are completed, Tressel said.

However, the coach said he is impressed with junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

"Masoli is a guy who makes plays," Tressel said. "I think he's got a lightning-quick release. He's an outstanding runner. He's the perfect guy for that kind of offense where you put a lot of stress on people with misdirection and option."

The Rose Bowl will be played 41 days after the Buckeyes wrapped up their 2009 regular season with a victory against Michigan. The team started bowl practice last week and has two practices under its belt and will take a break for Christmas before heading out west. The team's calendar for the next few weeks has been set, but the practice schedules have not, Tressel said.

It has been four years since the team's last postseason victory, but the Buckeyes are not adding any extra pressure upon themselves due to that fact.

"This is the Rose Bowl," senior defensive lineman Doug Worthington said. "I don't think we need too much juicing up. Besides that, losing the last few bowl games is huge. That's another juice is well, but when you put Oregon and its great program on top of that … we have to make sure we prepare well and do what we have to do to bring back a ‘W.' "

Tressel said the goals for bowl practice vary depending on whether they relate to an individual player or the team as a whole.

"If it's a young guy that probably won't play a whole bunch on Jan. 1, he needs to have the goal of giving us as good a look as he can at Oregon and also progressing in what we do for the future," Tressel said. "If you're a veteran guy, obviously (work on) your knowledge of what Oregon does and what we need to do against them.

"Plus, it's always important to stay healthy this time of year. I don't know that you need quite as much physicality, although you need enough because you haven't played for a few weeks."

To that end, senior defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson said the Buckeyes are healthy as a unit and that he does not know of any injury problems.

With the extra time to prepare for this game, some of the players suggested that it would give the OSU offense time to change things up in preparation for the Ducks. However, Tressel downplayed those thoughts, saying the team would not conceptually change what the offense does.

In addition, the coach said he had not heard any conversations about wide receivers Lamaar Thomas and Taurian Washington considering transferring out of the program after seeing limited action this season.

For the past two seasons, the team's bowl destination has largely remained unknown until the regular season was complete for every team in the nation. This year, the Buckeyes knew they had clinched a berth in the Rose Bowl following an overtime home victory against Iowa in the penultimate game of the season.

Asked if that made this time of year any more enjoyable than the past few seasons, Tressel said, "Those were pretty enjoyable too. I just enjoy this time of year if you're going to be playing in January. I don't get too worried about if we find out early or late.

"If you're going to be playing in January, that makes a nice, warm Christmas."

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