Early in Jim Tressel's weekly press luncheon, the Ohio State head coach gave a prognosis he likely never expected would be necessary regarding the Buckeyes’ mascot.
“I saw Brutus over at the Block ‘O’ event last night and asked him if he was going to be ready for Saturday,” Tressel said. “He’s probable.”
His status was in jeopardy after a much-publicized altercation with the Ohio University mascot prior to Ohio State’s 43-7 defeat of the Bobcats last Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
“That was a different one,” Tressel said. “I was standing for the national anthem and I heard some of our guys talking, ‘Hey, did you see that mascot?’ And I’m thinking, ‘You’re thinking about the mascot?’ I didn’t know it was ‘live mascot week,’ and I really didn’t beyond that first little gibberish hear much about it. And then I was alerted to the fact that it’s kind of why the fellow tried out, I guess, to get a shot at Brutus.”
As for the health of his players, Tressel declared starting linebacker Andrew Sweat ready to return to action this week after missing one game, but three reserve defensive players who went down during the game against the Bobcats are likely out this week.
Because of undisclosed injuries, cornerback Travis Howard and linebacker Dorian Bell are both unlikely to play this week when the Buckeyes play host to Eastern Michigan at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, while cornerback Donnie Evege is expected to miss significant time because of a dislocated elbow.
Losing those players puts added stress on the special teams units that have been under fire so far this season.
On the offensive side of the ball there was good health news as reserve center Corey Linsley should be available this week as well, although Tressel said he could have played last week if necessary.
'We just thought it was at that danger moment where he was feeling really good and he had practiced, but we just thought it would be smart,” Tressel said.
True freshman running back Carlos Hyde has been battling an ankle problem but is expected to be able to practice Tuesday afternoon and may be able to play this week.
“Tonight we’ll see just where he might be able to help us out,”
That could be key in special teams, where Tressel said they had thought Hyde could help the coverage teams.
“I was hoping he was going to make a difference for us, as I watched in the spring,” Tressel said. “He was a good cover guy, a good blocker on some things and I hope he can get back to that.”
The university announced Tuesday tickets remain available for the game against the winless Eagles, who are coming off an 0-12 season.
While fans may have yet to snap up all available tickets for the game, Tressel said he does not see a difficulty in convincing his players to give it their full attention.
“It’s not really a hard sell because we don't assess the schedule from the standpoint of, oh, I wish it was this or I wish it were that,” Tressel said. “You know me, I wish there were 11 games, but there are 12, and for good reason, to fill an inventory of 12 games and to fill an inventory of 36 sports. It’s just the reality we’re in.
“We didn’t know when we were scheduling this game that it was going to be these numbers, but, you know, in some ways it's a good challenge. If you're going to be affected by that in game four, then how might you be affected by something else much further down the line? So in some ways, the mental exercise of seeing if you can really convince yourself that you really believe that what we do is what’s most important and us getting better is what's most important and the opponent doesn't really matter.”
Fans interested in purchasing tickets can do so online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or in person at the athletics ticket office in the Schottenstein Center, or any Ticketmaster location.