Video of Jim Tressel's follow-up session outside the conference hall. Highlights:
- Jermil Martin has not been working out with the team and will not report to camp.
- Rod Smith is close to having his grades squared away, with the thought he'll be good tomorrow.
- Marcus Hall is good to go, contrary to earlier rumors that he could be an academic casualty.
- The NBC4 report on Storm Klein and Nathan Williams was "inaccurate" and NBC4 has since filed an retraction.
- On Pryor: "He doesn't want to let anyone down, that's just his nature."
- If we had a game tomorrow, "Paul Haynes would say (Moeller) would be back at Star with Hines at safety."
- The battle for the 2nd string quarterback is alive and well. Reading between the lines, it appears as if Joe Bauserman and Kenny Guiton would be 2A and 2B, but Taylor Graham is also in the mix.
- Justin Boren has to improve a bit from the communications standpoint -- sometimes he "just wants to go block somebody".
- Left tackle is still open. Adams will likely be running with the ones on the first day of camp, but in the second practice, "it'll probably be somebody different."
- Corey Linsley will stay at center and Jack Mewhort will play guard.
If you missed Tressel's remarks earlier in the day, video and transcript are after the jump.
Thanks so much. It's good to be here. I know most of you are probably tired. I'm the 11th person or so on the docket. But excited to get going, and this kind of kicks off the reality for all of us coaches that it's going to be four or five months before we come up for air.
But it's been a lot of fun working with our group. Our 2010 Buckeyes are a little older group than what we've had. Twenty-five seniors. And I feel good about the maturity of the leadership. And I think our rising junior class has really grown quite a bit.
And you can see how they're coming along. The back half of our team, I think, we need to find out a little bit more about to see just how far along they've come and we're going to need them to provide depth.
We lost a good senior class from a year ago. And not all of them were starters, but all of them were excellent contributors. So there's some roles that have to be filled and we need this young group.
Our freshmen, most of our freshmen were in this summer, and they seem to be like a good group. And I've heard good things from academic and strength people how they're attending to things. And now I'm anxious to see them on the practice field. We get going reporting for camp on the fifth and looking forward to a fun year in 2010.
You've dealt with this quite a few years, but what's it like playing with a target on your back as a team, and do you like that in some way?
I think the reality we've had for years and years at Ohio State is that we normally have a target. I think once you get started, though, you don't really know. You're just trying to get better.
And we try to focus to become as good as we can be. And I think we're very capable team. I think we should be a team that's being targeted. I know we'll be a team that's being targeted. And we'll always get everyone's best shot. And with that in mind, we better make sure our best shot's ready each Saturday. But it's just part of the deal.
Jim, could you talk about Terrelle Pryor's growth process, his learning curve last year, Preseason Player of the Year, more turnovers early in the year and seemed to grow as the year went on. Right now how do you feel about him?
I've kind of talked through that journey a few times. I don't want to bore the people I've done that with. But Terrelle's had an interesting career in that his freshman year he was thrust in there a little bit more than any of us had planned, himself included. He was thrust in with a veteran team and trying to find his way and his identity and his acceptance, if you will.
And I thought by the end of the year he really progressed. And then his sophomore year, all of a sudden it was a brand new huddle, and he was supposedly the veteran and supposedly the guy that was going to kind of lead that group. And I thought he had to figure out the difference between what he had experienced before and what he was experiencing in his sophomore year.
I thought he learned a great deal throughout the regular season his sophomore year. And I thought it really started to really crystallize in his mind during bowl practice.
That's the beauty, if you have an opportunity to earn a bowl, getting that extra practice and guys come along, and I thought he was able to focus in on what he needed to do better and he knew his place amongst the group and all that. So I thought he performed fairly well in the bowl game. And then I thought he did the same thing in the spring.
He really focused on becoming the best he could be. And now he has a new team that he's, without question, looked to for leadership. And I thought his summer was good as well.
So I feel good about where he is right now. He's always thinking about football. I was sitting over there in the ESPN truck. And he called and had an idea. So I let Herbstreit answer the phone, let those quarterbacks talk to one another. And he is just always thinking about it. I think he's anxious to get this season underway.
Given your win in the Rose Bowl last season and Iowa's in the Orange Bowl and the expectation of those two programs coming in into this season lining up with Wisconsin, do you think the national perception of the conference has been altered a little bit changed, and could you sort of magnify on that a little bit?
I think you're only thought of as your most recent performances. If you look at the Big Ten as a whole, our recent performances, our bowl game performances, whether we won or we lost, because we lost a couple of tough ones, I thought what people remember most recently about our football is pretty good darned good.
Then I think if you really look and see how many people are coming back from those teams, I think this will be as veteran and as tough and as excellent a Big Ten in the ten years I've been here.
I think we do have a number of teams that can compete against anyone in America. And I think what the world remembers is what we did most recently.
Now, they may love to think back and do some historical perspective of whatever we haven't done or whatever, but I think the most recent evidence of Big Ten football is pretty good from this past December and January.
The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry has always meant a great deal to you. In the landscape that will include expansion and divisional play and a conference title game, probably, are you worried at all that something might be taken from that game, and what do you want to see the Big Ten do to make sure that doesn't happen?
There's always going to be change. I don't think -- I can't imagine that there would ever be a change from the fact that Ohio State and Michigan are going to square off and it's going to be exciting and meaningful and all the rest.
How it will be done exactly and where within the year and all those things, I'm sure if we look back in our history, most recently it's been in the last regular season game. Prior to that, it wasn't.
So where it will be in the future, I'm not sure. But I don't think it will ever change in its importance and the people that are involved in it, especially, what it means to all of them and all of us.
But it's going to be interesting to watch the change unfold. Whether what 12-team division setup we have or are we going to even not worry about that because we're going to be expanding to more teams or whatever, I don't know. I'm not part of those discussions.
But I think change is exciting. And anytime you add someone like Nebraska to the fold, in our case, I know it's a year from now, and it's not really relevant to today's press conference, but when you add Nebraska and their tradition and their academic excellence and all the rest, there's a lot of neat things going on.
And I'm looking forward to watching how that change unfolds. But I have no trepidation at all that it will affect the great Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
Jim, just to follow on that. Do Ohio State and Michigan need to stay in the same division? How would you do it?
How would I do it? No one that has any power has asked me how I would do it. So I guess amongst friends here, I guess you could go one of a couple of ways. You could just go strictly geographical, which would be us and Penn State and the two Michigans and the two Indianas there and the western side with Nebraska and Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, that type of thing, which would be logical and so forth.
Or you could not want to get two geographical, and you could do all those computations of how you think people should be aligned and cross over and so forth.
But however they do it is going to be exciting. However they do it, it's going to create new things for us. And I'm sure that people in charge of that, our athletic directors, our Big Ten office, our college presidents, they're going to set us up with the best possible deal we can have.
Jim, coming off a win in the Rose Bowl as opposed to the previous couple years where you didn't end the season with a win, did you really notice anything with the players or the staff through spring ball or maybe even over the summer? Did you feel anything differently to end on an up note as opposed to maybe finishing with the loss and maybe having a different motivation over the summer. Was there any difference ==
Or a different staff. Who knows, they could have run us out if we didn't. I don't know.
I think when you go back and you watch the film, you see that nothing's as good as it seems and nothing is as bad, they used to tell us. I thought we did some things there.
I'm not sure we didn't play as good a game the year before that when we played Texas and lost in the last second. I'm not sure if you added up all the plays and all the performance and so forth, we didn't play just as well that day and didn't happen to win.
But obviously it feels better to win. We felt very strongly that that was a signal for the Big Ten; that we were going to step up and win that game. I think we were ranked seventh or eighth and Oregon was ranked seven or eighth, good nose-to-nose battle, we were representing Ohio State, but we were representing the Big Ten.
Especially after we watched some of our Big Ten brethren do a great job earlier in the bowl time. So it felt terrific to win that ball game.
But when you go back to work, you have to look at the realities and see where we have to get better if we want to progress in 2010.
How do you feel about the possibility of a nine-game conference slate, and do you feel there's much chance that the league could switch from eight to nine?
Probably the thing in my mind I thought wasn't a great idea for a nine game was that we may have one of our Big Ten teams, they could be one of those special teams that year, and maybe make a run at winning the whole thing and then it just so happens they've got that five away games in-conference play schedule, and they end up dropping maybe one of those that hurts them and keeps them from the national spotlight. So I've never been sure that it was the best thing for the conference.
I understand from a scheduling standpoint and all that, I know us with 36 sports, and we need to raise quite a bit of money to fund an athletic program like we have, it's really important to have home games.
If you're assigned to five away games from the get-go, you're in the midst of a home-and-home with somebody, like we like to do, all of a sudden now you've got six away games and that might be difficult for us to do our 36 sports.
So I guess just Ohio State-wise, I'm not sure it's a great financial thing. For the league, I worry a little bit about it falling wrong at the wrong time.
You talked a few minutes ago about the rising junior class you have. When you started putting that class together, could you tell maybe it was a different class, did things feel differently when you were getting that group of guys?
That's the fun part of recruiting and coaching, there's no two groups that are the same. The makeup of our classes typically is about 60 to 65 percent Ohio guys and 40, 35 to 40 percent guys either from states that touch us or even further.
And this group was a little bit more far and wide. I think it was even. It was like 50/50. A lot of them were very well thought of, which is a challenge of its own, as a young man tries to progress and meet those expectations. But it was a situation where a handful of them were thrown into the lineup in 2008 as real young guys, and so it's been fun watching them progress.
And I just see a lot of growth in them. And that's the fun of what we do. We get all nervous and so forth, and we talk a lot about how we do, whether we won the Rose Bowl or won this many games or that many games.
I know what coaches get nervous about is how does young person progress, are we getting him ready for the rest of his life.
It's fun to see those moments when you see the evidence that guys are coming along. And that class just seems to me that they're giving us more and more evidence that they're coming along. You're only one phone call away from maybe not feeling that way, but I feel good about that group.
And the expansion question, do you find yourself and your coaching staff getting caught up and theorizing about what could happen and what may happen, the same way the media ends up doing? Are you worried about what may happen and how it's going to impact Ohio State, and is that something you guys actively discuss?
Interestingly, our staff -- I'm not sure we've spent three minutes speaking about expansion, because there's really nothing that we have to do with it.
But I know our players, for instance, we have three seniors here this couple of days, and we have 25 seniors who are -- they don't really care one bit about expansion.
In 2010, we know what the deal is. Now, are some younger guys thinking about it, maybe. But I don't think, the time I spend with young people, the future to them is next Friday. The future to them isn't 2011.
That's not the way they think. So, no, we haven't worried too much about it, nor talked too much about it. And I think it's exciting. When the time is right and the moment happens, it's going to be fun to see it unfold. But I think our guys are wired up about 2010.
You just mentioned about being nervous, about how a young person progresses. I'm curious. Now that Maurice Clarett is back on campus taking classes, is there any participation for him in the football program, not officially, by just coming by the office, seeing people, or is he just like any other undergrad there?
He's not on a scholarship or anything. So he's just like any other undergrad from that standpoint. He knows he's welcome to stop by.
And he knows we're very busy and so forth. One of the first things he said when he came back, I said, you know, you ought to let people know that what your intentions are and so forth. And he said, well, the biggest intention I have is to not disrupt this 2010 football season that's coming up.
And so he wants to be in the background, but he wants to be a student and he wants to grow. And just like anything else, day by day we'll see how we progress.
SO FORTH COUNT: 6