Tressel Talks About Bowl Opponent
Even though Ohio State knew it was going to be left out of the Bowl Championship Series party this year, part of the Buckeyes’ postseason fate was still determined by the BCS poll for a third straight year.
When Texas leapfrogged California in the final BCS standings, it sent ripples through the Big 12 which had to shuffle what it thought was going to be a bowl lineup that featured the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl, Texas A&M in the Holiday and Texas Tech in the Alamo. But when Texas got bumped up into the top four of the BCS standings, the Longhorns got Cal’s spot in the Rose Bowl against Michigan and moved other teams up a notch,
That pushed A&M to the Cotton Bowl, Tech to the Holiday – where it will meet an angry bunch of Golden Bears – and Oklahoma State landed squarely in the Alamo Bowl, becoming the Buckeyes’ opponents for the Dec. 29 contest in San Antonio, Texas.
Although he indicated last week when bowl practice began that he believed his team’s opponent would be Texas Tech, OSU head coach Jim Tressel said he really wasn’t surprised that the Cowboys earned the nod.
“We thought Texas Tech or Oklahoma State,” Tressel said, who addressed members of the media Sunday night after the official invitations were made. “It was a little bit according to what trickled down from the BCS situation. I guess Texas wound up being in the BCS, which was a great thing for them. We knew it was going to be one of the other and Oklahoma State is a very physical team, coached by an Ohio guy, and that will be exciting. It will be a great challenge.”
Oklahoma State is coached by Les Miles, who was hired by the Cowboys shortly after the 2000 season. He was school’s offensive coordinator in 1997 when the team went 8-4 and reached the Alamo Bowl. Miles was actually OSU’s second choice in that coaching search to replace the fired Bob Simmons – then Boise State head coach Dirk Koetter accepted the Oklahoma State job but rescinded his acceptance a day later and took an offer from Arizona State.
Before taking the reins of the Cowboys, Miles was an NFL assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. He has also served on staffs under such coaches as Bill McCartney at Colorado and Bo Schembechler at Michigan. Miles also played for Schembechler at Michigan from 1972-75.
Tressel said that his team really hasn’t done much in practice so far for bowl preparation and doesn’t expect that to change much until late this week.
“Well, we practiced two days in shorts so we really haven’t gotten a great emphasis on anything,” he said “But everyone we know that we talked to in the Big 12 that has played Oklahoma State will tell you they’re very physical. They get after it and I’m sure it will be the opposite end of the spectrum from what Texas Tech’s attack would have been.
“Last week, we just worked in between recruiting on the fundamental things that we do. And we talked a little bit about, if it’s Texas Tech, it’s this and if it’s Oklahoma State, it’s that, and we even thought maybe Texas A&M was in the mix if Colorado had beaten Oklahoma. But we didn’t get too deep into anything and we worked on Ohio State.
“This week, we’re going to have final exams through Wednesday so it will be a little running and a little lifting and so forth. Then Thursday we’ll get back at it a little bit more about ourselves. On Tuesday, we start having film and (offensive and defensive coordinators) Jim Bollman and Mark Snyder will be in off the road – you’re only allowed seven coaches on the road – so I will defer to them when it comes to Thursday’s practice to find out what we’re going to work on.”
Tressel admitted he didn’t know much about his upcoming opponent.
“I will say this: When we were preparing for Kansas State last year, the films that I used the most were Marshall, Oklahoma State and Texas because I thought they did the best job of attacking Kansas State,” the Ohio State coach said. “I have always respected what they’ve done and how they’ve built their program. They were able to beat Oklahoma a couple of years in a row in the rival game, and they’ve become a bowl team for multiple years. Obviously, they’re an up-and-coming group playing in a real strong conference.”
Although some believe Oklahoma State is more of a smash-mouth team that would fit well in the Big Ten, Tressel offered that Texas Tech might have provided a closer fit to some other teams the Buckeyes have played.
“Texas Tech is a little bit like Purdue and Michigan State,” he said. “Our league has 11 teams and it’s pretty diverse. I’m trying to picture someone who is like Oklahoma State in our league and there might be more teams like Texas Tech because their quarterback runs. He’s got 10 touchdowns. I don’t know that we’ve got a quarterback in our league – maybe Michigan State – that can do something like that.
“We might have faced more teams like Texas Tech than we have Oklahoma State. But it’s exciting for us to play in the Alamo Bowl against a good team. They’ll be excited and we’ll be excited. It gives us a chance to go and gives our seniors a chance to have one more feather to put in their cap to see if they can leave here with a winning bowl record. It’s an exciting time.”