Presser Notes: Michigan State Week

By Chris Lauderback on October 15, 2008 at 7:00 am
Tressel flexed on Beanie (Tressel's World)

After last Saturday's offensive stinkfest against Purdue, Tress went on the defensive a few times in this week's presser but for the most part he was his usual calm, talking without saying much self.

Discussing the offense, he noted no offensive player graded a winning performance however there were six such instances on defense led by Jenkins, who played his best game of the season, and Laurinaitis.

Moving to Michigan State, Tress discussed Ringer's impact on the Spartan rushing attack in addition to how it he opens up the pass:

They've got things going the way they'd like to go them. You have Javon Ringer who you better have a whole bunch of helmets up there to get stopped. I think he's really grown as a runner. He was always a great kid. He was always a great competitor, great trainer, great, good receiver and special teams guy, but now he's turned into a very, very patient runner. Like most young runners, maybe early in his career he would have a tendency to bounce it outside a little bit and now he'll sit and wait and keep his shoulders square and so you better be prepared to have him tote the ball 30-plus times in the ball game and the thing that makes that difficult is that usually it takes extra people there to stop him, which makes you a lot more vulnerable to the play action pass and to the pass game and so forth. And Michigan State's done a good job, especially in the last three weeks of really hurting people with their pass game because everyone has seen what they need to do to stop the run.

Nothing unexpected in that assessment however I was little puzzled by his comments on MSU's defense, and more importantly how it supposedly mirrors Ohio State's:

From a defensive standpoint, what you'll see from Michigan State is a lot like what you see from us. Obviously it's just a mirror image and they're going to put a lot of people in the box and make it very difficult for you to run. They're going to dare you to throw. They're going to play aggressive coverage on your receivers. They're going to make it very difficult for them to get off the line of scrimmage and they love to bring blitzes. They're going to have two or three new blitzes, usually of the zone blitz variety. They're not really a big blitz and play zero coverage type group, but a lot of zone blitzes and make it difficult on your pass protection.

Stack the box? Dare you to throw? Employ two or three new blitzes? I think OSU's defense is improving, but I'm not sure I'm following him with some of those statements. I do agree we'll see a lot of zone blitzing out of Dantonio and that's certainly consistent with the Buckeye blitz package.

Tress also reminded us just how effective MSU's punter, Aaron Bates, was last year pinning OSU inside the 10 yard line on three of his eight punts. Sounds like he's doing the same thing this season including one downed at the 2 yard line last week.

Moving to the OSU side of things, Tress was asked more than once about the decision to insert Pryor over Boeckman and how the Vest feels about the decision looking back. That's when he started to at least infer a little distaste for the topic:

COACH TRESSEL: Do I have any misgivings? I'm not sure what a misgiving is. Would I love to have Todd having some snaps in the game? Obviously. Because Todd's a great kid and you would love to have him have opportunities. Do I think Terrelle is improving? I think he's learning every day. I'm not exactly sure what a misgiving is, but --

REPORTER: You don't have any doubts whatsoever that when you brought Terrelle in, that the timing was right for that and he was prepared for that as Todd was also to not play.

COACH TRESSEL: That's about four questions within one. Do I feel okay about what we've done and what we're doing? Yeah.

REPORTER: Jim, if you would love for Todd to get in and get some snaps, than why hasn't Todd gotten in and gotten some snaps?

COACH TRESSEL: Haven't determined that that was the right moment, situation.

REPORTER: What would be the right moment, then?

COACH TRESSEL: You'll know the moment it happens. I'm being honest with you.

Sure, that doesn't read like much but with Tressel's demeanor I think he's tired of the subject.

From there, he was asked about finger pointing which led to him taking an indirect swipe at Beanie for voicing his opinion to the media regarding the play calling against Purdue:

Well, you hope you have the right kind of people, which I think we do. Is it human nature to be disappointed when you don't do as well as you'd hoped or as well as we need to be? Absolutely. But I guess the only way you can avoid finger pointing is be so focused on what you have to do to aid the cause and get better and not spend a whole bunch of time analyzing or talking with whomever about what may be the solution and control what you can control.

The media obviously picked up on his comment so a few questions later Tress was asked about Beanie essentially questioning the number of pass plays called:

Well, if you check the records, we could -- Kathe could show us the court records -- we've called a lot more passes than we've thrown. Some of them maybe we should have thrown them in there, but you know what, some of them maybe the best decision was to not. Some of them we've had a little bit of protection problems.

Early in the season, some of them our protection problems were fine and all of a sudden we left the confines of our protection, so if -- I don't get real caught up in how many passes we throw. I get caught up in how many we complete and how many we throw to the other guys, but -- no, I would like to -- in this day and age, I suppose you're going to get 65 plays to 70 on a normal game and I would like to throw it 30 times, that'd be great, run it 35, throw it 30, but let's make sure that a good bunch of them are completions and a couple of them are touchdowns and none of them interceptions.

While I am sick of the play calling as much as the next guy, I do think Tressel makes a valid point. There's a combo of factors such as poor line play and a timid QB when it comes to passing that intertwine with the grossly predictable play calling. Still his problems to correct, but I think we all agree we'd see more actual pass attempts down field if Prince Markie Dee, the Human Beat Box and the rest of the Fat Boys could pass protect for a couple seconds.

Oh, and so much for thinking Tressel had discovered some magic leading to Cordle and Person swapping sides of the line:

COACH TRESSEL: Shelly probably was dyslexic on that one.

REPORTER: That's not a change?

COACH TRESSEL: That was probably a typo.

Dammit! I had my heart set on that change saving the season.

Continuing with the o-line, Tress took one more dig at Rehring and his apparent need for diapers while speculating on where he fits into the mix:

He'll play at right guard and right tackle like he has ever since he's been back, which was against two games, one and a half games counting the restroom. Just the facts.

Too bad he didn't take it further and announce the fact Rehring is the worst lineman in the conference.

Not really any other highlights in my mind. Tress confirmed Wilson's done for the year and Spitler, Nicol and Sanzenbacher are back but a decision on Boom likely won't come until later today. Seems like the rest of the presser was 20 questions on Pryor v. Boeckman. Frankly, I'm tired of that talk so I left it out. That said, I personally expect Boeckman to see the field for at least two series this Saturday. Not saying I agree, just feel it coming.