Thursday, December 31, 2009

TRESSEL: PRYOR IS 'READY TO GO'

LOS ANGELES — Thursday morning in Los Angeles, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel addressed the media about the health of Buckeyes sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor, who stated that he had been playing a portion of this season with a partially torn knee ligament, gave many Buckeye fan a scare going into Friday's Rose Bowl showdown with the seventh-ranked Oregon Ducks.

Tressel made it known that Pryor is completely healthy and ready for battle, and that his knee injury hasn't been an issue for many weeks.

"(Pryor's) very healthy," Tressel said Thursday. "He can move around very, very well. We mentioned back in November that we were hobbled a little bit. Obviously, we as coaches don't talk about what injuries are, nor do the trainers or doctors.

"But obviously, young people can, if they choose to. And so really those first couple weeks in November, we weren't quite where we had been. But he's done a good job of rehabbing and had a good bowl practice."

Tressel stated that he didn't see any setbacks with his talented quarterback.

"Didn't see any hints of any problems there, back in Columbus or here.

"I'm sure he's ready to go."

Monday, December 21, 2009

SMALL'S FATHER CONFIRMS THAT HIS SON IS OUT OF THE ROSE BOWL

COLUMBUS — Rumors were swirling around the Ohio State football program for the past two days that seniors' Ray Small and Rob Rose had been ruled ineligible to play in the Rose Bowl for violation of team rules.

Neither Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel or OSU sports information director, Shelly Poe, have announced any news or statement of a suspension.

However, Ken Small — Ray's father — confirmed to WBNS-TV in Columbus that his son told him that he would not be playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day against seventh-ranked Oregon.

Small is the Buckeyes' No. 3 receiver on the depth chart and starting punt and kick returner.

Still no word on Rose ...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ROSE WILL PLAY IN THE ROSE BOWL

COLUMBUS — Ohio State backup defensive end, Rob Rose, has been cleared to play in the Rose Bowl against Oregon on New Year's Day.

Rose has 10 tackles and two sacks for the Buckeyes in 11 games played this season.

Earlier in the week, Buckeyes true freshman receiver, Duron Carter, was ruled ineligible for the game against the Ducks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WORTHINGTON IS A MAN ON A MISSION

Photo of Doug Worthington by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — When Doug Worthington speaks, you listen — whether you want to or not.

The 6-6, 276-pound fifth-year senior from Athol Springs (NY), makes it difficult sometimes to interview other players when he's in the vicinity because his voice is so booming that he can drown out the words spoken by his teammates.

Seriously, I bet if we could obtain an X-ray of Worthington's vocal chords, we would probably find that they were manufactured by Bose.

But as much as his inflection grabs your attention — and perhaps every seismograph in a 200-mile radius — his words and confidence reverberate much more loudly.

Worthington isn't into making excuses, he isn't into trying to give reasons why Ohio State has lost three straight BCS bowl games. No, the big man is into one thing and one thing only — finishing his career on a victorious note.

"I'm going to go out and play for my team and give my best effort and leave it all on the field, because this is the last game for me (at OSU)," Worthington said about the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl tilt against No. 7 Oregon on January 1. "And making sure I give myself and the defense the best chance of making plays.

"Everything is going to take care of itself. God is good and he has been all season for us — the Silver Bullets — and we know that."

Worthington, who finished the regular season with 40 tackles and two sacks, understands that his legacy and that of the senior class — which right now is labeled as underachieving by many — rides on how they play against the Ducks.

Actually anything less than a win would be totally unacceptable.

"It's huge," Worthington said about needing a win on New Year's day. "It's crazy to say that if we win this game that we can be the most winningest class in Ohio State history. It's something for me that I get chills just knowing that I can leave that legacy and be able to say when I'm old — hopefully they break it by then — that we were one of the best teams at Ohio State.

"It's huge for me and getting this victory is everything for me right now."

Worthington does understand, though, why the media has been so hard on his team in recent years.

"You have to make news, that's headline news. You have to bring it up, that's your job," Worthington said. "It's our job to go out there and compete, and prepare the best we can so that stuff doesn't happen again."

So is the Buckeye defensive tackle giddy about getting a final shot to shut the critics up?

"Yeah, definitely," Worthington said. "This is another opportunity, my last opportunity and I want to make the best of it. This is something that I'm so ready for, I think the whole team is.

"But, a game is a game is a game," he continued. "We're not going to look at the Texas game last year, we're not going to look at LSU or the Florida game, we're going to look at this season and the things we did this season, and know that it's relevant now. January 1st is going to be here in a second, and we have to make sure that when it comes down to it that we're prepared, we're conditioned and we're ready to go.

"I think we are."

I'll take his word for it ... his extremely booming, earth-shaking word for it!

CARTER OUT FOR THE ROSE BOWL

COLUMBUS — Ohio State true freshman, Duron Carter, has been ruled ineligible (academics) for the Buckeyes Rose Bowl game against Oregon on New Year's Day, according to OSU sports information director, Shelly Poe.

Carter finished the season with 13 receptions, 176 yards and a touchdown.

There has been no official update on senior defensive end, Rob Rose, as of Thursday morning.

The Buckeyes continue to practice for the Rose Bowl in Columbus through Dec. 21.

Monday, December 14, 2009

OSU PRESIDENT STILL OPPOSED TO A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

COLUMBUS — With Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, Texas Christian and Boise State all finishing the 2009 regular season undefeated, the cries for a college football playoff system have become deafening — biblical even.

Ohio State President Dr. E. Gordon Gee, who has been an outspoken opposition of a college football playoff for quite some time now — even going as far as to say once that "they will wrench a playoff system from my cold, dead hands" — sat down with the media on Monday afternoon at the Fawcett Center in Columbus, to discuss the possibility of a tournament format in the near future.

With all of the controversy surrounding who should be playing in the national championship game this season, has Dr. Gee changed his stance on a playoff? That would be an astounding "NO!"

"It has solidified, actually," Gee said. "My hands have gotten colder."

Gee stated that not only will there not be a college football playoff any time soon, they may revert back to the original bowl system.

"I think it's apparent — we just came back from the Big Ten meetings — that there is no support from among the college presidents in this country for a BCS playoff system," Gee said. "And furthermore, if anything, the sentiment is to move back to the bowl system. I would say that (a playoff) is losing support from the college presidents."

President Barack Obama stated in an interview following his election last year that he would throw his weight around to get a playoff system in place for college football, stating that it is un-American to not give every school an opportunity to win a national title. Congress has even gotten involved since Obama made those statements in November 2008.

However, Dr. Gee doesn't agree with the president and thinks that congress has too much on their plate to be worrying about college football.

"First of all, congress is dealing with this and they have more important issues to deal with than (a college football playoff), I can assure you," Gee said. "Of course, I'm concerned (with possible legislation). I think this is a lot like Rome burning and fiddling and variety of other things. There are serious problems in this country and one of them is not a playoff system."

Gee even went onto say that those who are not involved in the game shouldn't be able to dictate how it's played.

"Couch potatoes in this country, of which I am one, should not be calling the shots for those who play on the field and those who coach," Gee said.

The only problem with Gee's assessment is that the people who are "calling the shots" are not those who play and coach on the field. It is in fact, the "couch potatoes" — or university presidents — who are "calling the shots."

I do agree with Dr. Gee that the sofa spuds are the problem.

In my conversations and dealings with those who play the game of college football, I have yet to run across one athlete who has been opposed to settling the championship on the field. And, I could count on one hand the coaches who would like everything to stay status quo.

"The college football fan doesn't have the responsibility of the institution that I do," Gee said. "I have the responsibility of every student-athlete and the coaches. (The fans) have no responsibility other than turning on the television.

"It's entertainment to them. To me, it is a different thing."

Interesting? So, according to Dr. Gee, it is only entertainment to the fans and not to the university?

Well then, why is it that the university charges such high prices on tickets, if it's not, in fact, "entertainment?"

BUCKS ARE LOOKING HEALTHY — Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel stated Monday that there are no major injuries to announce for the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes will leave for Pasadena on Christmas night.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SPIELMAN BECOMES 22ND BUCKEYE TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Photo of Chris Spielman by the Associated Press

NEW YORK — The greatest linebacker — and perhaps the greatest player — in the history of Ohio State football, Chris Spielman, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in New York City.

The Buckeyes all-time leader in tackles spoke on an assortment of topics during Tuesday's banquet, including the attitude of today's college football players, what it was like being a star at Ohio State, and how his late wife, Stefanie — who passed away from cancer late last month — was never impressed by individual accomplishments.

"The best way to describe it for me is my wife always looked down on individual awards," Spielman said. "Whether we were dating in college or whether it was All-American or the Lombardi Trophy, she just kind of says 'yeah, yeah, whatever ...'

"But this was different. When I shared this with her (back in the spring), there was such a genuine smile on her face and pure joy that she got out of this, because she understood where my passion and what my passion for college football is. It's amazing."

Spielman had a passion for football like none other. Whether he was playing for the Buckeyes, Massillon High School, the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills or the Cleveland Browns, Spielman gave it his all on every single snap he ever played.

But, as passionate as he is about the game of football, Spielman's love for Ohio State resides deep in his soul.

"I had the privilege of playing at the Ohio State University," Spielman said. "And that responsibility meant that you not only played for your university, your teammates and your coaches, but you played for your state.

"Everybody in Ohio is an Ohio State fan. To me that was something that I embraced and went after."

Spielman also stated that he is pleased that college football players today still play with the same passion as they did back in his day.

"I see the same emotion and the same passion (today) that when we played." Spielman said. "I see that in kids today. They play hard. They play for the love of the game."

Of course, being a college football analyst for ESPN, he did have to offer up a little criticism for today's athletes.

"I see more bad tackling today," Spielman laughed. "I'm sorry, did I say that out loud?"

Spielman is the 22nd player from Ohio State to be inducted into the college hall of fame.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LET'S GO BOWLING!

Ohio State will face Oregon on January 1 in Pasadena for the 2010 Rose Bowl Game. (Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

The 2009-10 college football bowl schedule was released Sunday evening. Listed below are all 34 match-ups, as well as predictions for each contest.

New Mexico Bowl:
(Dec. 19) Wyoming vs. Fresno State
Predicted winner: Fresno State

St. Petersburg Bowl: (Dec. 19) Rutgers vs. Central Florida
Predicted winner: Rutgers

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: (Dec. 20) Middle Tennessee State vs. Southern Miss
Predicted winner: Southern Miss

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: (Dec. 22) Oregon State vs. Brigham Young
Predicted winner: Oregon State

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: (Dec. 23) Utah vs. California
Predicted winner: Utah

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: (Dec. 24) Nevada vs. Southern Methodist
Predicted winner: Nevada

Emerald Bowl: (Dec. 26) Boston College vs. Southern California
Predicted winner: Southern California

Meineke Car Care Bowl: (Dec. 26) North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh

Little Caesars Bowl: (Dec. 26) Ohio vs. Marshall
Predicted winner: Marshall

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: (Dec. 27) Kentucky vs. Clemson
Predicted winner: Clemson

Independence Bowl: (Dec. 28) Texas A&M vs. Georgia
Predicted winner: Georgia

Champs Sports Bowl: (Dec. 29) Miami (FL) vs. Wisconsin
Predicted winner: Wisconsin

EagleBank Bowl: (Dec. 29) Army or UCLA vs. Temple
Predicted winner: TBA

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: (Dec. 30) Nebraska vs. Arizona
Predicted winner: Nebraska

Roady's Humanitarian Bowl: (Dec. 30) Idaho vs. Bowling Green
Predicted winner: Idaho

Texas Bowl: (Dec. 31) Missouri vs. Navy
Predicted winner: Navy

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: (Dec. 31) Air Force vs. Houston
Predicted winner: Air Force

Brut Sun Bowl: (Dec. 31) Stanford vs. Oklahoma
Predicted winner: Oklahoma

Insight Bowl: (Dec. 31) Minnesota vs. Iowa State
Predicted winner: Minnesota

Chick-fil-A Bowl: (Dec. 31) Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee
Predicted winner: Tennessee

Outback Bowl: (Jan. 1) Northwestern vs. Auburn
Predicted winner: Auburn

Capital One Bowl: (Jan. 1) Penn State vs. LSU
Predicted winner: Penn State

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: (Jan. 1) West Virginia vs. Florida State
Predicted winner: West Virginia

(BCS) Rose Bowl Game: (Jan. 1) Oregon vs. Ohio State
Predicted winner: Ohio State

(BCS) Allstate Sugar Bowl: (Jan. 1) Florida vs. Cincinnati
Predicted winner: Florida

AT&T Cotton Bowl: (Jan. 2) Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi
Predicted winner: Mississippi

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: (Jan. 2) East Carolina vs. Arkansas
Predicted winner: Arkansas

International Bowl: (Jan. 2) South Florida vs. Northern Illinois
Predicted winner: South Florida

Papajohns.com Bowl: (Jan. 2) Connecticut vs. South Carolina
Predicted winner: Connecticut

Valero Alamo Bowl: (Jan. 2) Texas Tech vs. Michigan State
Predicted winner: Texas Tech

(BCS) Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: (Jan. 4) Texas Christian vs. Boise State
Predicted winner: Boise State

(BCS) FedEx Orange Bowl: (Jan. 5) Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
Predicted winner: Iowa

GMAC Bowl: (Jan. 6) Central Michigan vs. Troy
Predicted winner: Central Michigan

(BCS) Citi National Championship Game: (Jan. 7) Texas vs. Alabama
Predicted winner: Alabama

Sunday, December 6, 2009

COLEMAN NAMED OSU MVP

Photo of Jim Tressel and Kurt Coleman by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman, who recorded 64 tackles, five interceptions and a sack during the Buckeyes Big Ten championship season, was named the team's Most Valuable Player during Sunday's Football Appreciation Banquet in Columbus.


Coleman also took home two other prestigious awards, including the Bill Willis Award (most outstanding defensive player) and the W.W. Hayes Award (outstanding player in the Michigan game).


Winning the Archie Griffin Award for most outstanding offensive player was sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor, who led the Buckeyes to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Rose Bowl, tallied 2,533 yards of total offense this season and a combined 23 touchdowns.


OTHER AWARD WINNERS: Andrew Moses (John Galbreath, academics); Zach Boren (first-year offensive player); John Simon (first-year defensive player); Ray Small (Ike Kelley, special teams standout); Ross Homan (Randy Gradishar, linebacker); Dane Sanzenbacher (Paul Warfield, receiver); Brandon Saine and Dan "Boom" Herron (Rex Kern, outstanding offensive back); Anderson Russell (Arnie, defensive back); Dan Potokar (Bo Rein, most inspirational); Jake Ballard and Jimm Cordle (Jim Parker, offensive lineman); Thaddeus Gibson (SAE, Homecoming game standout); Cameron Heyward (Agonis Rick Meyer Award); Thaddues Gibson (Jim Marshall Warrior); Cameron Heyward (Jack Stephenson, defensive lineman).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BEAVERS OR DUCKS?

Photo of LaMichael James by the Associated Press

Thursday night in Eugene (Ore.), the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers will do battle for the opportunity to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl Game.

The kickoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. on ESPN.

The No. 7 Ducks are led by the incredible backfield duo of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and tailback, LaMichael James. The Ducks offense has been spectacular this season averaging 38 points per game, including 44.5 a contest against teams in the Top 6.

James, in particular, has been a driving force this season in the Ducks quest for Pasadena. The freshman back, who took over the starting job for former starter LeGarrette Blount — who was suspended following the Ducks first game of the season — has ran all over the competition, totaling 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns, including six consecutive outings of 100 yards or more.

On the other side of the field, the Beavers have a backfield workhorse of their own.

Jacquizz Rodgers is the man with the green target on his back. The sophomore tailback has rushed for 1,313 yards and 19 touchdowns this season for the Beavers. He also leads the team in receiving with 67 grabs, 436 yards and another touchdown.

No matter which team prevails, neither have ever beaten the Buckeyes.

Ohio State is 7-0 all-time against Oregon and 2-0 versus Oregon State.

WORKING OUT — The Buckeyes will hold some light practices Friday and Saturday, before going on break next week for final exams.

BIG TEN CHAMPS — The Ohio State football team will be recognized for their fifth straight Big Ten title on Saturday, during halftime of the OSU men's basketball game against Eastern Michigan at Value City Arena.