Tressel Says Buckeyes Staying The Course
Other than confidence -- and that's definitely big -- not much has changed for the Ohio State football team since last week.
Troy Smith was the quarterback against Indiana and will most likely be against Penn State. Lydell Ross was suspended against the Hoosiers and almost certainly won't play against the Lions. The Buckeyes came out aggressive and posted their most impressive win of the year against Indiana and will look to do the same this Saturday.
However, one thing that is now abundantly clear that might not have been last week is that this Ohio State team believes it has what it takes to win football games.
"Penn State is a big rival for us and we know we have a challenge," OSU coach Jim Tressel said on Wednesday afternoon. "They're one of the two teams, along with Michigan, that will never come off our schedule. We have to prepare for their entire package and believe that we're going to absorb their best shot."
A win this weekend would push the Buckeyes toward the magical number of six, which would make them bowl eligible. But Tressel believes that may be putting the cart before the horse.
"We'd love to earn the opportunity to go to a bowl game," Tressel said. "But I haven't thought about it that much. We talked at the beginning of the year about wanting to go to the Orange Bowl, and if you don't make that the next choice is the Rose Bowl. The first time you usually hear it is after you win your sixth game, so there hasn't been much talk about it. But we'd love to be able to participate."
Speaking of participation, that was something quarterback Justin Zwick did not do on Wednesday. It is highly unlikely that Zwick will get in enough work to be considered for playing time on Saturday.
"Troy took 80 percent of the reps today and Todd (Boeckman) got the other 20 percent," Tressel said. "Justin did not throw, and I would find it hard to play him if he doesn't get enough work during the week."
Also not practicing was Ross, who was absent because he was attempting to take care of the situation that led to his suspension, which was allegedly passing fake money at a Columbus strip club.
Tressel said a few other players were "questionable," including defensive end Jay Richardson, fullback Stan White Jr. and safety Donte Whitner.
There were questions about whether or not Joe Paterno is tarnishing his legacy by staying on the Penn State sideline through a number of poor seasons.
Tressel said he really doesn't think about other teams, but admitted, "The only time I check the transactions is to make sure I'm not in 'em."