“Blue skies smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see.” Willie Nelson

Columbus, Ohio Coach Jim Tressel met with the media prior to the start of the Buckeyes’ 11 a.m. practice Tuesday. Tressel and staff then worked the team through a scheduled two-hour session under blue skies, mid-60 degree temperatures and another fine day in Arizona.

Tressel, sporting visor and sunglasses over his glasses, spent about 15 minutes with local media as well as a contingent of Buckeye football beat reporters. He said the team would practice in pads for about two hours Tuesday. Some additional notes from the session included the following:

Holiday travel lessons
Tressel said that at least five Buckeyes were still getting “a lesson in holiday travel” and had not made it to Scottsdale. Five he mentioned included Brandon Saine, Aaron Gant, Dane Sanzenbacher, DeVier Posey and Zach Domicone. (A group of players, including Saine, Sanzenbacher and Domicone did make the tail end of the team’s practice session).

As healthy as we can expect
Tressel said that even though starters Beanie Wells and Jim Cordle missed some practice time back in Columbus, he expected the team to be “as healthy as we can expect to be” for the Fiesta Bowl.

Joe is Colt
Joe Bauserman is running the scout team offense and is thus simulating Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

“Colt does everything well,” Tressel said. “It’s hard to simulate 80-percent completions, and I don’t think you can under-estimate his speed and strength. If there’s any better in the nation, I don’t want to face them.”

Laurinaitis’ instincts “rule”
Biggest difference in James Laurinaitis between today and three years ago when Ohio State played Texas, according to Tressel: “Experience. He’s always been very instinctive, but now his instinct is backed by knowledge. He hasn’t been a guy who has over-thought things. He has had that ability to allow his instincts to rule. Add that to the knowledge he’s gained…he’s a great player.”

Players are fortunate…
Commenting on a question about whether he detects a difference in his players at this year’s bowl, practicing on such a lovely day and at the Pinnacle High School setting with its mountain ranges in the distance, Tressel said you could tell the players were “feeling fortunate to be here because not a lot of teams get to come to this one.”

And anxious, too
Tressel also said the players were anxious to play Texas. “This is a special thing to play Texas. We’re at one of the great bowls playing one of the great teams. It’s hard to beat this.”

Wednesday’s schedule includes press conferences. Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock and select Buckeye defenders will take part in a 9:30 a.m. interview session at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort. Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis and his key offensive players will  be interviewed at 8:30 a.m. The Buckeyes will practice at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle High School.

For some images of Day 2 at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, click on the above photo album link.