The-Ozone Note and Quotebook
By John Porentas
Tweaking the Plan: The Buckeyes have been saying that there is more resolve in their approach to the bowl game this year than there was last. According to OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel, attitude will not be the only thing that's different this year.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Tressel said on Sunday that OSU's pre-bowl routine would also be changed, including adjustment of the departure date. Last year the Buckeyes left early for Arizona. This year the plan is to arrive at the latest possible date. One of the things that makes it possible for the Buckeyes to adopt that policy is the fact that the game will be played indoors.
"The only thing that will be different structurally is that being an indoor game we probably because we have an indoor scenario (practice facility) here, we probably won't be out at the site as long," Tressel said on Sunday.
The Buckeyes are in finals this week and will break for Christmas on December 19, then return on December 26 to resume bowl practices. OSU is required to be at the bowl site by 5:00 PM on January 2.
Voting the Polls: A few eyebrows raised when the polls were released on Sunday and showed that LSU had risen from seventh in the coaches poll to second to qualify for the BCS championship game. OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel votes in that poll and said that he voted LSU second. Tressel explained his vote.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"The first thing I thought about is I looked at what occurred at the end of the day was lets take the five major conferences and make sure we have their champion, first and foremost," said Tressel.
"If you think about the Big Ten and the SEC and the Big 12 and the PAC-10 and the ACC, that's the way I voted, was those five champions. And then I think I had Georgia next and Mizzou and Kansas and Florida and West Virginia all in that group right there. I think that being champion of your conference is a good measuring stick," Tressel said.
"They're very physical, very athletic, they've got weapons everywhere, they've spent a long time with the bulls eye, they've been up there a long time with people taking their best shots at them.
"Amidst all of that I thought they did an excellent job handling the SEC championship weekend after a disappointing end of the regular season which to me was impressive."
Personnel Update: Two players who have been sitting out due to injury have some chance at being healthy enough to play in the bowl game. They are linebacker Ross Homan and defensive end Lawrence Wilson. Tressel updated reporters on both of those players.
"Ross probably won't unless we would get a bunch of injuries these next 40 days," said Tressel.
"Lawrence I think it's still a matter of if he thinks he can be 100 per cent.
"I think gaining six days like we just did is a good thing for Lawrence and could make it more possible for him, but I don't know yet," Tressel said.
Running back Beanie Wells has had a season-long ankle problem. Tressel said that the ankle is giving Wells no problems as bowl practices have commenced.
"He's playing, he's practicing, he was running over people the other day," Tressel said.
Redemption Factor: There is some sense amongst the public that this year's matchup with LSU is a redemption opportunity for the Buckeyes, that after last year's humiliating loss to SEC champion Florida the Buckeyes can atone with a win over this year's SEC champion LSU. The Buckeyes themselves are not buying into that theory at all.
"No, I don't think so. We don't assign ourselves worth to a win or a loss or series of wins or series of losses. That's not how we view ourselves," said Jim Tressel.
Quarterback Todd Boeckman said that playing LSU is not the issue. Simply playing in the championship game is.
"It doesn't matter," said Boeckman.
"We're going to the national championship game. We could play whoever, it doesn't matter who it would be.
"It doesn't matter as long as we get the opportunity to go there and prove to everybody that we can and will be one of the best teams in the country," Boeckman said.
The Buckeyes said last spring and in fall camp that they were drawing on the loss to Florida as motivation this season. but that game will not enter into their thinking going into the bowl game this season. Vernon Gholston explained.
"When you think about it as a whole, last season we ended on a sour note with the Florida game," said Gholston.
"Going through the off-season and preparing for this upcoming season we had to look back at the mistakes we had and the things that we did wrong. We used that to motivate us to come into this season and what we needed to do better this season.
Once we started this season we've got to pretty much put that behind us, focus on the teams that we play week in and week out.
"As the season went along we began to develop a new identity and the the things that we could do, and that's where we are now," Gholston said.
James Laurinaitis agreed, but also added that there are still lessons to be remembered from last year's game.
"I think we've moved on from that game last year. I think last year is over with and we found out a lot this year that you need to be aware of the past and the history and everything like that, but you can't dwell on it," said Laurinaitis.
"I think that last year we did get complacent," Laurinaitis said.
"We thought that we were invincible and we have a lot of guys on this team that know what it takes to really get it done, but we're not looking at last year at all."
Senior offensive tackle Kirk Barton agreed with Laurinaitis. While redemption is not a factor, the Buckeyes need to remember the Florida game and draw from it.
"Our sense of urgency is higher because after last season we need to be ready to go. That's a big thing that a lot of guys are thinking about and our staff is thinking about. We'll be ready to go on January 7," said Barton.
"You regain the fear of failure after you failed the way you did against Florida, because when you lose that it's kind of scary, when you feel like you're never going to lose which I think we kind of felt like toward the end of last year after we beat Michigan," said Barton.
"When you fear failure you play better, with more of an edge.
"I think we're playing pretty well right now and we're excited to get back down there."
Awesome Thought : Linebacker James Laurinaitis is up for a number of national awards this season. Laurinaitis has said all along that those awards are not as meaningful to him as team goals, but does admit to being awed by the implications of perhaps winning one or more national award this year.
"Just to be remembered," said Laurinaitis.
"You walk down this hallway right here and you see Katzenmoyer on the wall and A. J. Hawk, people of that nature, and to be able to be in the same category as them and maybe try to get your face in there would be something very special.
"It's hard to grasp that your face will always be on the wall here forever and people 100 years from now will still see your picture.
"That's kind of hard to grasp.
"It's pretty cool," Laurinaitis said.