Presser Notes: Indiana Week

By Kyle Rowland on October 5, 2010 at 4:50p

There is one place in the country where the sky falls when the hometown team is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation: Columbus, Ohio. 

That is exactly what is happening in the aftermath of Ohio State's 24-13 win over Illinois. People are worried about injuries (Tyler Moeller, Terrelle Pryor), play-calling, running backs, defense, etc. Some concerns are valid. Most, however, are not.

Injuries are certainly mounting, especially in the secondary, and with Ben Chappel, the nation's third-highest passer invading Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes must defend the pass well. An upset at the hand of the Hoosiers would derail any national title aspirations Ohio State has. 

The running backs, Brandon Saine in particular, have been lackluster. I don't think it's anything to be overly concerned about, though. When needed, they'll perform. Saturday was evidence of that. Also, Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry will get more reps. I know fans are reluctant to believe that because he's being saying it all year, but as the season progresses they will become more involved with the offensive game plan. 

I'm not even going to address the defense. They are fine. 

Now, the hottest topic among OSU supporters, as it is almost every season, the play-calling. Personally, I felt it was adequate Saturday. The wind was howling. I was in the press box for much of the game, but when I went down to the field for the fourth quarter, it was clearly a factor. Ohio State was playing with a quarterback on one leg and the wind made passing difficult. Why not run it down their throats? Would you rather score 50 points a game, go 10-2, lose to Michigan every year and win a bowl game half the time? Probably not. That is what the Buckeyes had before Tressel was hired. I just don't see how the play-calling for Saturday's game can be questioned. Yes, they were overly conservative, but they did what they needed to win the ballgame.

Sometimes fans don't realize what they have. Jim Tressel is good as they come. There are two or three games where his style has actually cost the team a win. There are countless others where it has won them games, including a national championship.  

At his weekly press luncheon, Tressel was asked about all the things I just mentioned. His answers shed light on several things. 

The main question: How is Terrelle Pryor?

COACH TRESSEL: Sunday we did a little bit of drills and weight lifting and all that, so we didn't really test it, per se. Yesterday was our day off and he was in doing his film study and his rehab and all. I would expect every day he'll get closer to 100%. I don't know who's 100% after five games that has as much wear and tear as a guy that has his hands on the ball, but I think he'll be fine.

REPORTER: Is it a strain or what's the nature of it?

COACH TRESSEL: That would be as good a word as anything. I don't really even know.

It is definitely a Tressel Speak answer, but I share the same opinion. Quad strains can be nagging injuries, much like ankles. Pryor's seemed to be minor, though. He was a virtual non-factor in the mobility department after his return, but his movements off the field seemed to indicate he wasn't that injured. Not to mention, the trainers, doctors and facilities Pryor will use in his rehab will help a tremendous amount.

I wouldn't panic yet, Buckeye fans. Wait and see how he performs Saturday. Obviously, they'll take it easy with him. He will be running a whole lot less and you'd think he'll be taken out of the game as soon as it looks like the lead is insurmountable. If he is still shaky going into the Wisconsin game, you have every right to be worried. 

Tressel on Tyler Moeller's season-ending (possibly career)  injury:

It's really disappointing because he had the similar injury sometime before his head injury, and then unfortunately during the time he was rehabbing with his head injury, he could not work on anything that would raise his heartbeat and all that, so in essence, he probably spent seven or eight months doing nothing, which did not allow him to rehab, and so he got back and he was giving us 30 plays a game and that type of thing and just caught a guy the wrong way and that not-all-the-way-rehabbed injury just couldn't handle that and you just feel terrible about it. And from his standpoint specifically, we're going to appeal for a hardship, and all that takes time and paperwork and documentation and so forth, but you just feel sick for him because you saw the pain he was in last year not being able to help his teammates and now he was, and now he was having fun. So, yeah, it's very disappointing and obviously it hurts us.

Huge loss for several reasons. No. 1, Ohio State already lost C.J. Barnett to an injury. Another player from the secondary being knocked out is a big blow. Two, Moeller is a leader. You only have so many guys on a team that players respond to and he was one of them. Sure, he'll still be on the sidelines and in the locker room, but it is different when you aren't on the field. Lastly, I just feel bad for the guy. Everyone knows about his situation last season. To battle back and make an impact like he was making this year; it's a tough blow to take. Hopefully the NCAA grants him a sixth-year of eligibility. You'd think they would, but no answer will surprise me. 

REPORTER: Is Christian Bryant now full speed ahead? How have you approached that aspect?

COACH TRESSEL: Well, the only way we could, which was in the game he was full speed ahead and I thought he did a solid job. He's got to get better, he knows that. But he really loves football. Without having sat and talked about it yet because we go out this afternoon and everyone gets the reps, but in my mind the three things that can happen, the most logical one is Christian will step in and do a good job. The other thing you always have the opportunity to do is move Jermale back there, because he played nickel there for multiple years, put someone else in at safety, and then the other thing is we get Nate Oliver back, who has been playing that nickel position and he's been out for a couple weeks and we hope he's back 100%, we think so, but we need to see it.

Bryant is a good player. There was a reason OSU recruited him. That being said, he'll get burned a few times this season. He did OK Saturday, especially being thrust into the game the way he did. No question, though, he needs to improve. Moving Hines to nickel is interesting. He has been playing well, but a move to nickel might utilize his athleticism more. 

Tressel spicing up Brandon Saine's season:

I think his performance has been solid. He's gotten four or five touchdowns, does a good job out of the back field. He hasn't had the running yards. I'm not sure who would have in the situations he just happened to be in, but Brandon Saine adds a dimension of speed and versatility that we have to absolutely use. So have we figured out exactly how to maximize that? Probably not. But that's what you do during the course of a season, you know, who's available, who's healthy, what do they do, how can we -- what's some good match-ups, so I'm sure it will change every week.

Saine has definitely been a disappointment in the running department. His receiving skills are solid, though. As far as hands go, I think he and Dane Sanzenbacher have the best on the team. The Buckeyes have a stable of running backs, so if Saine can't run effectively someone will pick up the slack. The question is: Who will it be? I think it will be interesting to see which tailback emerges during the Big Ten season.  

Tressel when asked about Jordan Hall:

COACH TRESSEL: Well, let's go back to, let's say three weeks ago. We've got a lot of receivers we like to get the football to. We've got a quarterback we'd like to run seven to 10 times, and a couple tailbacks who we think are very good. So there just aren't that many balls left and I guess we could take all those balls this season that we've thrown to tight ends and give them to Jordan, then we'd be having the opposite discussion. Are you ever going to -- could it change this week that we're going to give the tight end the ball?

I have one million percent faith in Jordan Hall. He's going to make a difference this season, he already has. Gosh, his punt and kickoff returns. He is a good runner. I wish we had more balls. That sounds terrible. Man, I am getting old. But you know what I'm saying. I wish we had more carries available, but you're going to see Jordan Hall.

The ball reference = Gold. Hopefully the video goes viral. Easily the funniest thing I've heard/seen out of Tressel. The room erupting in laughter. 

As for question and answer, I think a big reason we aren't seeing Hall as much people would like is loyalty (Saine is a senior, Herron a junior). Tressel is as loyal to upper-classmen as any coach in the country. Another reason is mistakes. Young players tend to make them (fumbles in a RBs case) and Tressel despises turnovers.  

On Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson:

He's a good player. If he gets a sliver, he's gone. He's got great quickness and because he rushed for so many yards leading up to that game they were so loaded with folks making sure that they had an eye on him that people -- they got people behind him. And I'm sure if they went back and had to redo that one, they would have stayed a little bit back and given him his 10-yard gains and not let a couple of those -- they had like a 70-yarder because they were -- and you do. That's tough duty he's a good player and he can change the field real fast.

Sorry, Buckeye Nation, but Denard Robinson is really good and has a great shot at winning the Heisman. Even if the Wolverines go 8-4, he can win it. His stats have been out of this world. Obviously, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and Ohio State can change those statistics.  This week will go a long way in determining how well Robinson is in Big Ten play. If the Spartan defense contains him, I'd think the other four I mentioned would, too. 

The "and so forth" count: Six. I think Tress is getting back on track after a few down weeks. 


Comments Show All Comments

MaliBuckeye's picture

If he gets a sliver, he's gone

I think that might have been a commentary of the fragility of Mich1gAAn's offense as well.

"Sarcastically, I'm in charge."


BTwrestle04's picture

Completely stolen from Rittenberg's lunch links, but thought this was an interesting read:

KenK's picture

Seriously, how can you not like Jim Tressel?! Here's a guy, who in his profession is probably one of the most successful on the planet, doing this sort of thing. Well done, sir.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Jason Priestas's picture

He's a class act.  And like others have said around here, once he's gone, some of the haters are going to realize what we had.

741's picture

This is a golden era in Ohio State Football history. If they can't see that there is little hope for them.

Colin's picture

Containing Denard Robinson is some real tough doodie.

btalbert25's picture

Saine and Herron haven't been great this year, we all know that, but they did carry the team last year.  In addition to that, I think it goes a lot deeper than Tressel being loyal to upper classmen.  I really think that as Hall and Berry get better at everything that a running back has to do, like pick up blitzes and pass blocking, then if they are out playing Boom and Zoom in practice, they'll see the field.  They'll get an increased workload as the season goes on, especially if the current RB's continue to not play well.

741's picture

My view is that Tressel is not "loyal to upperclassmen" rather he is loyal to what he believes to be the percentages... Saine and Herron have had more reps, and in his mind are more reliable and less prone to mistakes.

If there was a Beanie or a Clarett here right now (i.e., an undeniable talent on a national scale), the percentages would be skewed in favor of putting the ball in the hands of the guy who while young and relatively inexperienced, has the ability to carry the team on his back and put the ball in the endzone.

I too like what little I've seen of Hall and Berry, but no one in their right mind can make a case that either of these guys is one of the top RB's in the country. They will need to earn their way into the lineup over time. We all know this, and it's a reasonable process if you are honest with your assessment of the coach and the player(s).

Denny's picture

hee heee hee bawls


BuckeyeSki's picture


Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

chaoscrusader's picture

My complaint was not that they ran the ball. It was the plays they ran. too simplistic allowing the defense to key on two gaps. With the defense stacking the box, the play selection helped the Illini out.

azbuckeye's picture

I think the issue for the play calling was Pryor, and his injury WILL be an issue for weeks to come.  Notice that Tressel did say that the leg was not evaluated on Sunday or Monday and he did not say he had any basis for his thinking that it will be fine.  Pray for Guiton.

Bucksfan's picture

Regarding the general sense that the sky is falling: it doesn't help when you have national media syndicates like Pat Forde using the logic, "How can the voters jump Oregon over Boise State when they just posted a 59-0 pasting on NMSU, where Ohio State had an almost loss against Illinois?"  He actually called the 2-score game over Illinois an "almost loss."  I mean, Alabama almost lost at Arkansas, and it was because of how tough Arkansas is despite not having played a soul.  Boise State blew apart New Mexico State University 59-0, but Ohio State just recorded its own 50+ point win the week before with a 73-20 beat down of a WAC school...the big problem being that Boise State plays in the same conference as NMSU, and Ohio State doesn't play in the WAC?  Am I understanding this correctly?

And Forde isn't the only national d-bag rasing their eyebrows unnecessarily at Ohio State.  It's rampant, and it's feeding any and all skepticism towards Ohio State.  Virtually no one has Ohio State's back.  Expectations are impossibly high.

cal3713's picture

Unfortunately, that's what two consecutive national championship losses will do.  The media talked us up as one of the greatest teams ever in 2006, gave us a second chance in 2007, and are still pissed that we didn't deliver.  It's irritating, but understandable. 

Buckeye Black's picture

Yep, it would seem that only a victory over Bama, or the new national darling, Oregon, would quiet the critics.  Apparently beating the Ducks in the Rose Bowl has given the Buckeyes one more week of being number 2.  If it is another sloppy game this weekend with an Oregon winning in a shootout, watch for the Bucks to fall as far as number 4.  It doesn't make any sense considering what took place in January, but that is the state of the media against tOSU.

chaoscrusader's picture

Pryor's injury was in the second half, I was talking about the first half. Besides Tress went heavy, double tight, unbalanced which was in addition to his normal strech and power plays in the 4th qtr to offset some of what the Illinin D was doing with success. I really did not have any problems with the late game play calling.

I still like to see Saine at wing (especially with Stoneburner being injured) with Hall/ Berry as the RB. I can think of numerous variations in that set up. It would be a waste of Saine's talents not to get him on the edge.

Then drop the Boom/Saine on them in single back power & strech.

Bauserman as the back up is still disappointing. It is a rareity anymore that when he enters the game that he looks competent. I would really like to see Guiton as the backup.

I guess this is a case of holding your hands out palm up, Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one gets filled first .

BTwrestle04's picture

I have gotten on Tressel's case more than a few times. The fact remains, he makes millions of dollars coaching one of the most elite temas in the nation for a reason. He knows how to succeed. Expectations for Ohio State are always at an all time high. If Tressel did not know what he was doing, he would have been shown the door by now. His record speaks for itself. While all of us can give our opinions on various aspects of the team, Tressel is there at every single practice. He sees what we all don't have the luxury of seeing. He sees classroom attendance and grades that we don't get to see. There are reasons he plays the players he does. He has shown in the past that he is not affraid to put the best players on the field. (Pryor starting over Boeckman in his senior year, Duron Carter getting significant reps as a true Fresh., Maurice Clarrett starting as a true Fresh., Big Hank the tank getting good reps as a Fresh., Bryant earning the starting job after Moeller's inury). Point is, he knows far more about his team than any of us will ever know. It's easy for us to sit back and criticize when we don't know 1/100th of what he knows about his team.


/end rant

ToledoBuckeye's picture

Tressel loyal to upperclassmen?.......tell that to Todd Boeckman!  If Tressel feels Jamal or Jordan should be starting than he wouldn't hesitate to putt Saine on the pine.

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

I was sitting in the NW corner right by the tunnel to theh Buckeye locker room Saturday.  I was watching TP walk (limp) into the locker room through my binoculars.  As he walked by the Illini students, someone yelled something to him.  He clearly turned his head to them and said "I'll be back"/

When he came out of the locker room, it was as if he was shot out of a cannon.  he SPRINTED across the field to the bench.  He said it hurt to plant and pass so I'm guessing the cold wind made it tighten up.  But based on his body language and how he came out of the locker room, I think he'll be OK.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

tampa buckeye's picture

Moss back to the vikes would be crazy.  In other NFL news troy smith is getting a shot in SF very soon.

Dean's picture

Guys, guys, guys -- you say you hope the video goes viral, you post it on YouTube, and you don't link to it?

It's at, with the good bit at 1:50 (notice the gesture!)

NW Buckeye's picture

Thanks for the link.