Thursday, December 30, 2010

TRESSEL TALKS SUSPENSIONS AND WHETHER PLAYERS WILL RETURN

Jim Tressel
(The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
NEW ORLEANS — Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel spoke to the media on Thursday morning for the first time since arriving in New Orleans, and of course the main agenda was on the five Buckeye football players who were suspended last week by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.

Tressel talked about a number issues about the five suspended players — Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon — including whether or not they would play in Tuesday night's Sugar Bowl against No. 8 Arkansas.

The Buckeyes coach said it will business as usual.

"The guys will play as to what they deserve to play from a football standpoint," Tressel said Thursday, inside the ballroom of the Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center. "They will be evaluated as it relates to football."

Tressel admitted that the entire episode has been a distraction, but he also stated that they've had time to deal with, accept and move on.

"Anytime you spend time on anything that's a little bit of a distraction," Tressel said. "But we are fortunate in this particular case playing in the Sugar Bowl against a well-coached team like Arkansas.  All you have to do is turn that film on and think about your good fortune to be in a BCS game and so forth.

"You can try to make up that time, but you know like anything else you invest your time in certain things and wish you had more time for others. But with a little bit later game being January 4th, it has given us an opportunity to take care of what we need to and when things come up you take care of them.

"When game time hits on January 4th we will be ready."

Tressel said that the Buckeyes as a "committee" decided to let the suspended players play in the bowl game, instead of issuing a team penalty.

"I think every decision we make is by committee, whether it be the people above you or next to you or the people you serve," Tressel said. "You don't wake up one morning and say this is what we are going to do, that's not how football coaches work."

But of all the things that have went down in the past week, the main question on Buckeye fan's minds is: have the suspended players given Tressel and the Buckeyes a pledge to return for the 2011 season?

"They would not be here if that weren't the case," Tressel said.

COACH ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE ... Over the weekend, as many Buckeye fans know, there were rumors being circulated that Coach Tressel was going to step down as head coach immediately following the Sugar Bowl.

Of course it didn't take long to discredit the rumors as OSU director of athletics Gene Smith, as well as several Buckeye recruits squashed the false stories.

On Thursday, Tressel had his turn to address the rumors, calling them less of a distraction and more of a "waste of time."

"Apparently it was somebody on a website using their freedom of speech," Tressel said. "It's not true at all but that too is kind of a waste of time. Recruits are calling asking if it's true or not. Other coaches (from other schools) keep calling saying this is true to our recruits.

"The rumor is a waste of time but this world is an ever-evolving waste of time. I don't when people have time to spend so much time reading all this stuff."

Tressel did say though that the rumors of stepping down are better than rumors of being canned.

"The rumor is not true but it's part of the deal," Tressel said. "It's better than the alternative, the day they fire you."