Although the Buckeyes won an outright Big Ten title this season, they often did so at the expense of their offense rather than as a result of it. Heading into bowl season, OSU's average of 364.83 yards per game ranks it 71st in the nation and ninth within its conference.
With more than a month of bowl practices in line, there has been speculation that fans clamoring for more of a high-powered OSU offensive attack could get their way come Jan. 1.
Not so, however – for a couple of reasons.
"I don't think you can change a whole bunch because by the time you really get rolling on it, at least the way we do our calendar, you'll have 10 practices and then you'll take a little break and then you go have four practices out there (in California) of game-week preparation," Tressel said Dec. 6. "We wouldn't in this short window change a whole bunch conceptually.
"We aren't all of a sudden going to start doing different types of things. I think we just have to get better at what we do."
If they wanted to, however, senior offensive lineman Jim Cordle said he feels such changes would be possible.
"You could install a whole new offense if you wanted to," he said. "You've got time. It's almost like camp, so you've got long, tough practices just like camp. Our coaches already have an initial game plan, but that can completely change during the next couple of weeks."
It's Been A While… The trip to Pasadena marks the first for the Buckeyes since they pulled out a come-from-behind victory in the 1997 version of the game. Given that it will be exactly 12 years to the day OSU was last there, this year's group of Buckeyes do not have a lot of memories of that game against Arizona State.
"I grew up watching the Rose Bowl with my family and my father," senior wide receiver/kick returner Ray Small said. "Just for me to be playing in it is great. Having my family there to watch me is even better."
Asked if he remembered the 1997 Rose Bowl, Small said, "Not at all. 1997 is when I started playing football."
Current OSU linebackers coach Luke Fickell was a member of that 1997 team, a fact not lost on one of his players. Senior linebacker Austin Spitler also said he had not watched the game, but that "I think we have to throw it up there just to watch Coach Fickell out there."
It's Been A While … Again … Although this group of seniors has a chance to leave OSU as the class with the most victories in school history, they are also part of an undesirable streak.
Losing the last game of the year is not a fun fact to live with, senior cornerback Andre Amos said.
"At the end of the year everyone wants to win that last game and when you don't get a chance to do that for the last couple of years, it means that much more," he said. "That's going to be in the back of our minds and we're going to work that much harder."
Small said the players are taking the situation personally.
"That's a humongous goal," he said. "That's huge for all the seniors and the coaches and the team in general because everybody says Coach Tress can't win the big game. That's what we're going to do. We're going to go out there and prove everybody wrong."
Sunday Sermon: Coaches are not allowed to talk about prospective recruits until after they sign national letters of intent, but OSU's recruitment of Seantrel Henderson came into discussion Dec. 6 with Tressel.
The nation's No. 1 overall prospect took an official visit to see the Buckeyes during the weekend of Sept. 12. While there, he and his parents met with Tressel in his office and a subsequent video of the exchange has made the rounds on Youtube.
It would seem to be a pretty big breach of security for a coach who notoriously keeps access to his facility and players tightly guarded, but Tressel said he did not see it that way.
"That's reality," he said. "We just talked to our guys Saturday at practice. If you think you can go out and not be seen and not be recorded and people not know what you're doing, you're mistaken."
Tressel said he had not seen the video but added that he did not need to because he was obviously there as it was being filmed. He then drew a parallel between the situation and a quote from the Bible.
"In Proverbs, it says the beginning of all wisdom is the reverence or the fear of God, knowing that if you have any wisdom at all you know He knows," Tressel said. "So if you have any wisdom at all, you know you might be on Youtube. That's just the way it is.
"That's your Sunday sermon. If you missed church, then you got it here."