Oct. 18, 2005

TRESSEL: I can’t remember if I mentioned in a postgame when we were talking about the fact that it was a little bit fitting in that in our captain’s breakfast, Glenn Cobb talked a little bit how games like this, you know, reveal what you’re really all about, and that the type of care that you have for one another and the type of commitment that you have for your teammates and your school and your team, and all the rest, and I think without question our guys demonstrated that they have a lot of character and they play every down of every moment and to me that’s huge. Now, that’s got to continue, because you have to demonstrate it every day and every day in practice and I think go all the way back to preseason, remember talking to you about the fact that the way these guys trained they were in the finest shape I’ve seen a team, and the way they practice is a great tempo, you know, we have to continue that. And if we continue that, you have a chance.

You know, that’s all you can ask for is that. On the flip side, we’ve got to make some dramatic changes in taking care of the football. I can’t remember a time where we lost the turnover margin 4 to zero and had as many mistakes in our special units and then came up with a win. I guess the only thing that can overcome some of those facts and realities is if you just play with great passion through the course of the game and find a way to win. And I think that’s perhaps what we did. But we have to understand that, you know, as we head on the road, which is a difficult thing to do in the Big Ten, and hope to progress, that we’ve got to square away that turnover margin. We’ve got to square away some special teams things and do them more consistently and better and come up with some plays from our special teams that can make the difference, rather than have them make the difference on the opposite side. You know, that has to be done if we’re going to become the team that we think we’re capable of becoming and plan to become. When you go back to the Michigan State game, you know, as you watch the film, Michigan State is a good football team, totally impressed with the way they prepared for us and what they attempted to do against us and how they adjusted in the course of the game and so forth. You know, they’re a good football team that’s going to win a whole bunch of games, you know, it was a competitive atmosphere out there.

We had, I think, five or six guys on each side of the ball that graded winning performance. We would like to have more than that and need to have more than that. We had some guys get special recognition, Ashton Youboty was both the defensive player of the game and the special units player of the game. Blocking two punts and I think we still don’t know who exactly blocked the punt because Nate Salley —

SNAPP: Field goal?

TRESSEL: Field goal, excuse me.

Nate, some say, had one hand on the ball and Ashton had the other or whatever, but Ashton being involved in two field goal blocks, keeping them from scoring points and all the other units that he was on earned him the special units and did an excellent job in the secondary. You know, they threw the ball a whole bunch and they threw it vertically a decent amount, and he was left alone in some coverage, a significant amount of time, and just did an excellent job for us and was awarded for both of those.

Our offensive player of the game, you already had in here, Doug Datish, really had a fine game at left tackle, those ends that Michigan State has are big and they’re physical and they really bring it, and he did an excellent job for us there.

Our Jim Parker offensive lineman of the game is Nick Mangold. And Nick Mangold — you know, Alex Stepanovich was in for the weekend, and hopefully he’s not out here listening now — Nick Mangold is as fine as a center as you could possibly have.

He is — his intellect is where it all starts, he knows what’s going on and he directs all decisions that are made up front, his ability to play low with power is unlike any center that I’ve ever seen, and his ability to get out there and a couple of our big plays, a couple tosses and screens and so forth, and he’s down there, you know, this 300 pounds flying down the field. And he’s a great one and was our Jim Parker offensive lineman of the week. And the attack force player of the week on defense was A.J. Hawk and was so active, I don’t know, 10 tackles, you guys have all that stuff, 10 tackles, five assists, you know, quarterback pressures, and just — every time he hits you, it’s with explosion. And his awareness of what’s going on out there and his ability to make sure everyone else is doing what needs to be done is tremendous, and — and, you know, you talk about Hawk and Mangold, if there are All-Americans, those are All-Americans, and they’ve done a great job for us.

Our Jack Tatum hit of the week was by Donte Whitner, who continues to grow as an outstanding safety and hitter.

Our scout time players of the week was some guys basically up front, Tyler Whaley, was our offensive scout player of the week. He does a great job kind of leading that scout team line.

Todd Denlinger was the defensive player of the week on the scout team. And he’s going to be a good player, great motor, just continually playing hard and making us better and making himself better.

And then on the special units, Austin Spitler, linebacker out of Bellbrook, and he’s going to be a very good player and gives great effort, and whatever you need done. And a lot of those scout special teams aren’t glamorous. And most of them have about a 50-yard run involved. And he’s out there constantly and did a great job there.

So as we move forward and hit the road for the Big Ten, you know, the truths don’t change, you know, we need to play with that great passion, we need to play with the same amount of intensity and speed and intent no matter what the score is. But we’ve got to do some things better. We’ve got to make sure we take care of that football and knock their football loose a few times and come up with a lot better play on special units and get better. We’re going into game 7, so as you go into that back half of the season, you’ve got to get better at every position and every technique and, you know, as practice time diminishes a little bit, as the season goes on because of just the normal wear and tear, the focus on technique and making sure we do things right has got to really increase, and that’s what it will be all about starting today.

REPORTER: Did Ohio State win this game, did they steal this game? Did Michigan State throw it away? All the statistics, it’s pretty lopsided for Michigan State, the time of possession and turnovers, all the markers that you’ve indicated.

TRESSEL: Well, you know, the won is points and we had 35 and they had 24, and that counts a lot. They got down there close a few times and got turned away whether it was by a special teams play or by a defensive play. Offensively, as Steve mentioned, I’m not sure I’ve been in a game where we’ve had so few plays yet 9.4 yards per play. So we came up with some plays that we needed, you know, to score those points, and turn field position around, and that type of thing.

And so you know, we won the game. I’m not apologizing for, you know, for our performance. Now, we’ve got to get better in a lot of areas. But we did the things that were most important to win the game. And that was score more points, and played every snap. And that’s what it takes.

REPORTER: Other than continuing, is there anything else you can do about turnovers?

TRESSEL: Anything else we as coaches do? You know, I guess you need to stress it more and stress it better and be more effective in helping people understand how important it is. But, you know, it still comes down to, you know, there being a deep-seated belief and that’s important. Obviously as you looked at the ball game, there’s a deep-seated belief in our games, they’re going to play hard no matter what’s going on. You know, the clock’s ticking down with five, four, three, two, one before the half, and we’re down by ten already, and we had the disappointment of giving them the ball. It’s built in, if they just play hard, that’s what we do. It’s got to get built into us, we don’t turn it over. The take away part of things, if we keep playing the way we’re playing, we’re going to knock it loose, we’re going to make those things happen.

We can’t change what we’re doing on defense, you know, to have more take-aways. I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing. And offensively, you know, if I have the privilege of touching that ball, I’ve got to make sure I hand it to the official, and then there’s no questions.

REPORTER: Coach it seems like against Michigan State, there’s a little more two back and a little less swift. Is that a matter of evolving toward that in general, or is that a matter of Michigan State?

TRESSEL: You know, I think one of the calls on the Big Ten media call was, you know, is it difficult for defenses, every week they face a different offense, and the answer’s yes, because every week there’s a different thing that you’ve got to prepare for and the things they do well and so forth.

But the opposite is true as well. Every week conceptually you’re facing a different defense, or sometimes personnel-wise you are. You might say, hey, this week they’re playing this look, so we’re going to work in this naturally vulnerable area. You say, maybe that’s not naturally vulnerable, there’s 47 standing over there, and maybe he can take one and a half spots or whatever.

Based upon what they do structurally and who they are, personnel-wise, you know, you change a little bit. And you know, I don’t know the breakdown of how many of those snaps were — we were probably in more three wide one tight than we were four wide no tight. And we were in, you know, a decent amount of two back one tight. But, you know, I don’t have that in front of me. And it’s really — you know, it’s based upon what we needed to do based on who they were.

REPORTER: Can you talk a little bit about Alex Boone, his development. His start. Does he have what it takes to be the next great tackle for Ohio State, if so, what does he have to take to get there?

TRESSEL: Alex Boone could be very good. He got baptized at Penn State, when you’re out there at that scenario, and I thought he hung in there pretty well, and then got a whole bunch, you know, 42 snaps, anyway, on Saturday. And hopefully we’ll learn a lot from there. He wasn’t perfect, didn’t rate a winning performance. But, you know, he’s — for a true freshman, playing a tough position, against 300-pound defensive ends, I thought he played very solid. Can he be the next great tackle, I got home in time to see a little bit of the end of the Rams game, or somewhere in there, I don’t know what the score was. But that guy that plays level tackle for the Rams, you know, Alex’s got a ways to go. But that’s a great thing to shoot for. I don’t know exactly, you know, what Orlando looked like, you know, his freshman year.

Luke Fickell was telling us, he looked pretty good. He said he never touched that dummy once in rush pass drills when Orlando was going against him. You know, I think Alex can be good.

REPORTER: Any updates — any injury updates?

TRESSEL: Everett out, Barton would be questionable, still uncertain there. He hasn’t done anything football-wise since, you know, last week. Because we don’t — it’s more fitness oriented and so forth on Sunday, and we didn’t practice yesterday. Freeman would be out. But practicing and coming along and just not ready to put him in the game.

As you look at this particular week with Miami, Hoeppner coming taking all that stuff, now it’s Indiana stuff, I don’t think you’re going to be in as much base defense as you would be in a normal game. If — so I don’t know if he’ll get as many practice reps. The same would be true with D’Andrea, we’ll probably be in more nickel, I don’t know how many reps he’ll have, but D’Andrea played special teams and did fine and hopefully will continue to play more special teams and be ready to play, you know, in the linebacker unit.

I would expect — I don’t know what our breakdown was when we played Miami, nickel versus base, but I would guess 25/75, I would guess. Probably be similar when we play Indiana, because it’s a very similar system. So Freeman, probably, you know, won’t jump in there.

REPORTER: Youboty?

TRESSEL: Ashton had a pretty good little hip pointer but played through it. Again, that passion that our guys have to compete, Ashton Youboty’s a great example.

REPORTER: He should be able to play?

TRESSEL: He’ll be fine?

That’s one of the hard things, when you go through a grueling season, you know, like we’ve — you know, we’ve had six ball games that have been tough ones, someone said that San Diego State beat Utah the other day, so I thought they were pretty fair. You look at all those teams we’ve played, you know, that takes a little bit of a toll. We’ve played a little of nickel. Branden Mitchell came in and played 30-some snaps. As I listened, did a pretty good job. Nick Patterson’s coming along, every time you lose a guy, it’s an effect.

REPORTER: Would you consider Rich?

TRESSEL: That’s a possibility. This is probably a nickel-based week, down the rest of the Big Ten, as we were talking about those medical issues, you know, maybe two of the last five games you’ll be in more base defense than you will be in nickel. So that could happen. We’ll have to see.

REPORTER: What about Rehring?

TRESSEL: Red shirt. Rehring’s coming off a serious issue, and we’re happy he’s getting well and getting stronger every day.

REPORTER: Is Branden Mitchell your nickel back?

TRESSEL: As you look at this week, yes.

REPORTER: How, overall, how would you rate Troy Smith’s performance?

TRESSEL: Troy did not rate a winning performance, I thought he made some strides. We had the ball 42 plays and we had some short drives, sometimes you don’t like short drives, but I think we had a couple three-play touchdown drives. I thought he made some progress in some areas and had some experiences that will help him make progress, I hope, down the road. And he only netted 42 yards rushing, which our goal is always to have our quarterback net 50, you know, just like we can’t find the last field goal block for a touchdown, I can’t find a game at Ohio State where the quarterback had no interceptions and 50-plus rushing yards and we lost. And so — we didn’t get there. But I thought he did a good job on a couple of throw-aways. A couple big plays. He probably didn’t get to run as much because we didn’t have the ball as much as we’d like. He made some progress. He and we have a ways to go.

REPORTER: You said a week ago that people noticed time of possession in the Big Ten. Could you talk a little bit about the time of possession Saturday. They scored quickly, but there are times —

TRESSEL: We took your advice and started scoring quicker. You know, they had the ball a decent amount. They didn’t turn it over. You know, made first downs. I don’t know how many three and outs we had. Our goal is to have five three and outs with our defense, and I don’t know that statistic in front of me. But we did not meet that goal. We might’ve had two, something like that. So that leads to it.

When we had short-scoring drives, that leads to it. When you lose possessions with two turnovers on your special teams, you know, that — you know, that’s one possession you didn’t have, that’s zero seconds. You know, we did not sustain long drives on the times that we had to punt. So you add all those things together, you know, and we didn’t have much time of possession.

REPORTER: Is it a worry not necessarily because you don’t — you don’t hold the ball long enough on offense, but how that reacts for the defense, how much time they have.

TRESSEL: The best thing we can do for our defense is keep them off the field. You know, it’s less wear and tear, it’s less opportunity for the other folks to score. One of our goals as an offense is to control the tempo of the game with ball possession and field position, you know, if we do punt, punt them way down and that type of thing. So absolutely. You know, there was a — I don’t think we can ignore that Michigan State did a pretty good job of possessing the ball.

REPORTER: How is Troy doing with his reading of defenses?

TRESSEL: I thought as we went through this particular game, I thought he was right on as — you know, a lot of time you grade the film or you watch the film and you say, gosh, I wonder why he did that. You might feel that way during the game as I might. Then I watch the film and I say I wonder why he did that. Not just Troy but any quarterback. But then you sit down and watch the film with him, he said I felt this guy so I wasn’t going to throw it. Or my feet weren’t ready at that moment or whatever. So I thought from a conceptual standpoint, as I listened to, you know, the synopsis — and the same thing really happens on the offensive line, too, you say I wonder why they did this or that, this happened, I rubbed off on here, I wanted to help, saw this guy losing this guy or whatever. But to answer the question, I thought there was an improvement.

REPORTER: Do you go play by play with him each week?

TRESSEL: No, actually we do it by position. And Joe handles the quarterbacks. And then what I’ll do is I’ll go through the whole game, and I’ll pull out some things that I’m just curious to ask the staff, curious then maybe to even ask the individual. And I’ll do the same thing with the other team. You know, I’ll bring in a guy from a different position and say, hey, watch this from their guy. Watch Stanton on this play. See what he did with his feet. See how he did this or that. So I’m just kind of, you know, from a general standpoint. But Joe goes through it, you know, with all the quarterbacks in the room moment by moment 124 over time how often can a quarterback have a losing — or a losing grade and you still win the game.

Craig probably had two winning performances out of 14, the year we won ’em all. It’s a hard position. You know, because, you know, it’s a decision you make or a throw you make or whatever, and you’re so affected by the others. But yet we grade you independently. It’s very difficult. We probably get two or three a year from a quarterback position.

REPORTER: So it’s not so disconcerting or unsettling when that happens?

TRESSEL: Correct.

Now, if it’s way down there grade-wise, it’s very disconcerting and unsettling.

REPORTER: What about the guy in front of him that you talked about earlier, Nick Mangold, can you give us a scope of what — I mean, he’s changing coverages up front. But is he calling plays? Can he go that far?

TRESSEL: He’ll tell the rest of the line who we’re working towards so really sets in motion everywhere they’re going. He’ll tell the backs and so forth, you know, who the line’s picking up in pass protection, and because of the Big Ten stadiums he calls the cadence. Because there’s no way, especially if you’re in the shotgun that anyone can hear anyway. So beyond that, does he call plays? You know —

REPORTER: Change plays. Change plays.

TRESSEL: No, probably not. You know, quarterback — if we’re in those situations — would do the play changing. But he’ll make a lot of suggestions, you know, when we come off and that type of thing. He’s just — he’s on top of it.

REPORTER: We asked you the same thing a couple of weeks ago. On the road, would you do anything differently or take a look at that, I was just wondering going into a two-game road trip?

TRESSEL: Yeah, we’re kind of bound by how we travel, because we bid aircraft back in March and April, I guess we could bus a little differently when we bus, for instance, this particular week, we’re bussing. And we’re leaving maybe an hour or so earlier than we did the last time we went there, and a lot of it’s because of the construction we ran into.

But, you know, outside of that, you know, we have only so many hours, by the time you get there and have something to eat, it’s time to go to bed.

So we — we won’t change, you know, anything dramatically.

REPORTER: Is this something that you would have to turn around pretty quickly, or else this ends up mounting on players that they — you have to play well on the road?

TRESSEL: I don’t know that they look at, you know, big pictures like that. You know, who knows, we might’ve come back from North Carolina State saying, hey, aren’t we wonderful, we won a game on the road in a hostile environment. You know, forget all of that, watch the film, what do we got to do to get better. And some of that periphery stuff, you know, really doesn’t have a whole bunch to do with did you block, did you tackle, did you take care of the ball, did you do a good job on the special teams, did you handle the environment. The environments we go into are pretty good, those are — and I don’t know exactly what our win/loss record is on the road, but I have never heard any of our guys walking around bemoaning that we aren’t a decent road team.

REPORTER: What is it that’s most difficult about going on the road, is it playing in the other team’s stadium in front of a hostile crowd, or is it the travel things that go with it? What presents the greatest challenge?

TRESSEL: I suppose you would have to ask the individual. Especially those ones that are out on field. Now, I haven’t found any difference, because, you know, all of a sudden you’re in a stadium, you don’t know what stadium you’re in, there’s a field out there, you’re glued into what you’re doing. I’ve never found much difference.

Now the guys did say at Penn State, they had trouble, they were late off the ball a couple times, and if you’re late off the ball in front of a good defense, you’re in trouble. Communication errors because of the environment. You know, it’s just not exactly what you deal with every day, you know, your — I guess everyone has a comfort zone. And maybe that’s a change.

I really believe that when you’re the home team that you gain energy from your place. And I know I can’t scientifically prove that. But I think you gain energy. And it helps your performance. And sometimes when you’re on the road, you know, maybe there isn’t that energy boost. I don’t know.

But you know I haven’t found it to be that excruciating playing on the road.

REPORTER: Did Teddy’s touchdown boost his confidence?

TRESSEL: Teddy’s going to be — Teddy’s he’s just — he’s a guy that loves to play, and he’s so happy when his team wins, and so happy when he can help. And I thought he played a very solid game. I don’t know how many snaps he had. But probably in the high 30s out of 42. And graded winning performance. So I think any time something good happens to you, it helps.

REPORTER: Earlier [inaudible].

TRESSEL: We didn’t do a whole lot of two tight ends.

REPORTER: Than what you’ve done in the past years, is that something you feel comfortable with because you’ve done it much longer. Is it more comfortable for you?

TRESSEL: Hopefully not. Hopefully when you make decisions you make them on what’s good for the kids and not what makes you feel better. As we looked at who we were blocking and who we were running routes against and so forth in every particular week, you know, we will base how we deploy on that. So — so I hope the answer to the question’s no.

REPORTER: Is there something with Gonzales in the fact that he hasn’t caught many balls in the past two games?

TRESSEL: We had a couple of opportunities to get him involved. You know, one in particular that had a little bit of a footwork problem, that QB, has been a little more balance and would have been a good play. You know, that’s what you have to know when you’re one of the people out there is that some guy goes here, another guy goes here, and we’re going to throw to the open guy. And we’re not going to say — to me the worst thing you can tell a quarterback is, hey, we’ve got to get Teddy the ball the more, we’ve got to get Gonzales the ball more or get the ball to Tone. That totally is against your teaching. The teaching is we’ve got to get the ball to the guy the coverage dictates.

You know, it’s interesting, I thought Indiana was getting better each year, since I’ve been here. The first year we played against Cam Cameron’s team, and they were very explosive with Randle El and all that stuff, but they were very inconsistent.

When Jerry came in, DiNardo, I thought each year they were getting better. And Terry Hoeppner mentioned to me back at the spring meetings, after he had spring practice, he was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you go into a situation, when there’s a change, and supposedly it’s in disarray and so forth and so on. He said hey the practice ethic, the competitiveness, you know, all of those things, he was pleasantly surprised with.

And I think he has taken them yet another step.

If you watch their Central Michigan to Nicholls State to Kentucky to their three Big Ten games, I think you see marked marked improvement, which tells me they’re doing a good job teaching. I think half that staff is from Jerry’s old staff, there’s familiarity there, and the other half is what Terry brought from Miami. You know, we’ve had evidence that both sets of those coaches are good teachers. You can see it each and every game they’re an improving football. The score against Iowa was 24-21 there in the fourth quarter. We weren’t 24-21 the last time we were in Iowa in the fourth quarter. I think they’re an improving football team. And these receivers are something. The red shirt freshman, 6-7, Hardy. They spray it around. If you visualize Miami’s attack, and they gave us some problems in the opener, probably with a more enhanced run game, you know, Indiana’s a better running team than Miami was, you know, our defense will have a challenge. But you do every week. And their defense, if you think back to the Miami game, as soon as the ball heads toward the line of scrimmage, here come nine helmets, and they’re going to bring their safeties, that’s just what they do. They’re going to lock up their corners, that’s just what they do. I think they get better at doing what they do each week.

REPORTER: Antonio Pittman said before the start of the season, he kind of wore down last year and by the end of the season he was exhausted wasn’t ready for what was in store. Are you afraid about the same thing this year, did he show something during the first six games that you weren’t sure he had.

TRESSEL: I think any time one wears down there’s an emotional side to that, too. When you’re young and it’s new and expectations and you’re learning lessons every day, I think that has a wearing factor on you. So he’s beyond that. Plus he worked hard in the weight room and the conditioning and so forth.

I expected him to end up being a very good back. I think he’s on his way to being that.

You know, our goal, as we talked often in the spring and preseason, was, hey, he needs to be our next 1500-yard back. You know, that’s our goal, and that continues to be our goal. I think he’s making progress.

Now, we only had 42 plays and he had 18 carries, it’s going to be hard to get 1500 yards if you only get 18 carries a game. But we’re hoping he can get in 20s each game. I think he’s coming along.

REPORTER: You were talking last week you wanted to see a little more production out of the second string. What do you have to do?

TRESSEL: He’s got to get himself to the second spot?

REPORTER: What does he have to do to do that?

TRESSEL: Improve on all the things we measure people against. You know, you’ve got five backs out there, and you watch everything they do every day, and then you measure which one does it best. Antonio Pittman does it the best. Brandon Schnittker is probably the next most experienced and comfortable with what he’s doing. Mo Wells is the third. And right now we would probably, because Shaun Lane is so involved in special teams, when it comes to a travel situation like Penn State, you’re going to opt on the side of your fourth going being a major special teams guy, and that’s how that traveled out.

REPORTER: Marcel Frost, [inaudible] tight end [inaudible]?

TRESSEL: I thought Marcel showed he got a chance to make an impact for us. He worked his way through the early season, trying to work his way up the ladder and so forth. And he had fought the injury bug early in his career with various things. And moving over from defense and then not having that many reps and so forth.

But he’s worked his way into, you know, I think deserving some playing time. I don’t know how many snaps he got, like 14 or 15, something like that. But, you know, I look for him to help us.

REPORTER: Can you see yourself at least half the time doing that two backs power I’s?

TRESSEL: Probably not half the time, no. Not that much.

REPORTER: The way things are going in the Big Ten, the way last week was, Penn State losing, what are your thoughts in this stage of the race, it’s still very early, I know there’s a lot of football left, in a way you control your own destiny. Share with us.

TRESSEL: I can tell you exactly what my thoughts are: My thoughts are I hope our thoughts are on what’s going on right this second. I hope that’s our thought.

If you peak way down the road, I said it a million times, you’re not going to do as well today. We’ve got a lot to get better at. The only way you can get better on that is focus on that. And that will take care of itself. We always say you’re as good as your work’s deserved. At the end of the year, whatever we deserve to be, we will be. It has nothing to do with the way the ball bounced or the referees, it will be about what we did. So if that’s true then we’d better make sure we are as good as we can: I hope our thoughts are that.

REPORTER: Those core thoughts, we’re as good as our work deserves. Have those evolved over the years, the Tresselisms?

TRESSEL: No, that’s from Revelations. I didn’t originate that one.

REPORTER: You certainly adopted it.

TRESSEL: I adopted it.

REPORTER: Did you have ten bedrock principles when you started coaching.

TRESSEL: Probably not. I don’t know how many I have now. That’s one of them.

REPORTER: Is that one of your favorites?

TRESSEL: It is. Because I think it’s true. So often in life everyone thinks it has something to do with the boss doesn’t like it, they’re against me, this or that. It’s not true. Whatever you deserve, it’s what you’ll get. And, you know, and if that’s not true, you’ve got to live with that true. But I’d rather believe that.

REPORTER: What are the challenges to convincing your kids each week, when you have a quality opponent, particularly a team that you’ve had success against year after year like Indiana. Does it get hard after a while, this team’s good, too, each week.

TRESSEL: That’s a hard question, because you don’t know what they’re thinking. And the thing that I think is important is that you focus on what it is you need to be, and then, of course, you watch the film, and, of course, you say, hey, on the kickoff return, I’m not sure this guy is quite as good as this guy, so we’re going to attack this way. And so, I mean, I think the truth is the truth. You watch the film. And I think our guys of that played against Indiana, for instance, and now watch Indiana on film, are going to tell you that this is a better Indiana team than the one they last met.

And if they don’t see that, then, you know, may be in for a rude awakening.

REPORTER: Jim can you see any scenario down the road where the replay system would be expanded to take into account blatant, obvious —

TRESSEL: Holding?

REPORTER: Yes, holding.

TRESSEL: I thought that’s where you were getting to.

REPORTER: Shoves in the back, not going to go for the goal line. Do you see it ever going that direction?

TRESSEL: You know, I’ve answered that replay question a million times, and the way I’ve always answered it, is if you’re going to have a replay Tim, the one we have is probably the most manageable. Now, that’s not an endorsement for replay, and it’s not a condemnation of replay. You know, I don’t know if you can get everything right.

And so if we’re going to get to the point where we’re going to stop the game every time something by one of the human beings involved isn’t right, then we’ve taken away from the game. So I hope we don’t get — I guess my answer to the question is: I hope we don’t get to the point where we’re going to replay every down. You know, because at the end of the game the coach that doesn’t win they’re mad at, the official maybe that made a poor call, they’re mad at. Still, okay, fine, tomorrow’s a new day.

And, you know, the world didn’t end because, you know, the official made a poor call. We’ve all had poor calls against us, we’ve all had good ones, we said, whew, we’re lucky. Okay, the next game is the next game. And your record was what your record was that year. So be it, let’s go.

REPORTER: You mentioned Hardy, very briefly. Watching game film, what is it that he does well

TRESSEL: He’s a playmaker. And the ball doesn’t have to be thrown right on the spot. I mean, he can go up and he’s got great range, and great body control. When you’re that height and have the kind of body control he has, you know, and speed, you know, he’s — our guys — again, Ken asked the question, how can you get your guys focused, just put on the film, you’ll get focused on playing against them.

REPORTER: When you have defensive backs who are losing the height battle to a guy like that, how do you go about defending them?

TRESSEL: You’ve got to be in great position. That’s just like when you’re rebounding, you know, if you’re rebounding, you’d better box out or the taller guy’s going to get the rebound. You would be amazed how many rebounds you can get if you’re boxed out. It’s all about body position.

REPORTER: How about the QB? Blake Powers.

TRESSEL: He was a guy that didn’t play. Lo Vecchio played against us. I don’t know if he came into our ball game a little bit. I haven’t watched that side of the ball from a year ago. But he looks to us as being very effective, understanding, what they’re trying to teach.

The One advantage sometimes to a staff change is when you come in and you teach a system, you teach it from square one, you know, as opposed to being recruited into a system and, oh, yeah, Lo Vecchio, we always do that in that coverage.

You start from square one, and it looks to me like he’s been a great learner.

REPORTER: David Patterson, it looks like he’s healthy finally. His development, his maturity level. You were talking Saturday how he’s finally starting to let the offense come at him.

TRESSEL: He’s becoming more of a veteran. If you talk about the good defensive fronts you’ve seen in our league, and you’ve covered — you think about ours in ’03 and ’02 and Iowa last year and hours right now and, you know, Penn State’s right now. What’s the common denominator? Experience. So David has had, you know, some playing time as a true freshman, significant as a sophomore, and now here he is as a true junior. He’s a veteran. He’s a veteran with a lot of ability who spends countless hours in watching film. Great combination. And he gets better all the time.

What we love about him is he can play inside and out, according to what kind of team we’re playing against, and whether we’re a little nicked up, whatever.

An important issue, too, the health you know, when you’re healthy, you can get better, when you get banged up, you’re just trying to survive.

Knock on wood, you hope he stays healthy.

REPORTER: Steve mentioned, I know you had high expectations and expected a lot this year. [Inaudible]?

Is A.J. Hawk having a better year, what do you see?

TRESSEL: I think you learn, when you’re around A.J. not to imagine. He’s amazing. All he does is work. He loves it, loves practice, loves the weight room, loves to hit people. You know, he loves being with his teammates. You know, you guys heard all the comments at the end of last year, everyone was asking him, are you going out early in the draft? He was, you kidding me? Leave this? He loves it. Someone who loves their job and works at their job and happens to have a lot of talent in their job. You ought not be surprised at what they can accomplish. As I mentioned about Nick, you know, we’ve been around a few All-Americans, and they’ve got to be, you know, A.J. and Nick have got to be considered in that vein because of their performance.

REPORTER: Is there anything.

TRESSEL: One last question from Marla, because we’ve got to rock and roll, and we have traditions here.

REPORTER: Last week a couple people, including [inaudible] suggested from kickoffs, did you consider it, or what did you [inaudible]?

TRESSEL: We haven’t talked about it. You know, usually, you know, the way we come to decisions like that is based upon performance, and his performance has been pretty fair. And needs, you know, of the team. And then sometimes interaction with the kids and the coaches. Someone might say, you know, I think so-and-so can help us more. For instance, you don’t see A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter running down kickoffs like we used to, because they do a lot of other plays, you know, now, they’re always listed as a spare on our kickoff depth chart, and I always tease them, if it’s the last kickoff in the world, I’m sending you in there.

But you ease things away from people. But we’ve really never within the confines of our staff or with the kids, you know, had that discussion.

REPORTER: Considering your lack of depth in the secondary, might this be a time to —

TRESSEL: Now, did you get a final two questions or a final one? Would that break tradition, if we answered that.

REPORTER: That was only one.

TRESSEL: Oh, that was only one. Yeah, no.

REPORTER: Within final answer, that’s what we’re looking for.

TRESSEL: You never know. See you after practice.