Injury news dominated Jim Tressel's weekly press luncheon Tuesday. The head coach said quarterback Terrelle Pryor should be fine for his team’s upcoming game with Indiana, but Tressel confirmed safety Tyler Moeller is out for the season.
Pryor missed part of the third quarter of No. 2 Ohio State's 24-13 defeat of Illinois last week after suffering a strained left quadricep. Tressel said his junior quarterback will not be 100 percent this week but will be able to play when the 3-1 Hoosiers pay a visit for a noon kickoff Saturday at Ohio Stadium. He wasn't sure if Pryor's repetitions would be limited much in practice.
“Sunday we did a little bit of drills and weight lifting, so we didn’t really test it, per se, and yesterday was our day off, and he was in doing his film study and his rehab,” Tressel said. “I would expect every day he’ll get closer to 100 percent. I don’t know who is 100 percent after five games if they have as much wear and tear as a guy who has his hands on the ball, but I think he’ll be fine.”
Moeller, who was filling the Star position in Ohio State's nickel defense, tore a pectoral muscle on his left side that will require surgery to repair, marking the second time in as many years a health problem will keep him out of the lineup. He missed all of last season after suffering a head injury during the summer, a problem that as it turned out had an effect on his current situation as well.
“It's really disappointing because he had the similar injury sometime before his head injury," Tressel said. "Then unfortunately during the time he was rehabbing with his head injury, he could not work out or do anything that would raise his heartbeat and all that, so in essence, he probably spent seven or eight months doing nothing, which did not allow him to rehab, and so he got back and he was giving us 30 plays a game and that type of thing and just caught a guy the wrong way and that not-all-the-way-rehabbed injury just couldn't handle that, and you just feel terrible about it.”
The coach said Moeller, who redshirted in 2006, plans to apply for a sixth year of eligibility because of his medical hardships.
The first candidate to replace Moeller is true freshman Christian Bryant, who had seven tackles against the Illini. Junior Nate Oliver, who has been out most of the season with a hamstring problem, is a candidate as well. A third option would involve Jermale Hines, a regular starting safety, to star with a player coming off the bench to replace him at safety. Hines was the team’s No. 1 star the previous two seasons.
Tight end Jake Stoneburner (high ankle sprain) is questionable for the game with the Hoosiers but is expected to practice this week then be reevaluated.
“That’s normally an 8- to 21-day deal,” Tressel said. “That’s my experience. This weekend would be right around that 14-, 15-day mark. He’s done everything on land linear, but now when he hits someone and has to drive off and all that, that’s what we’ll find out today and tomorrow, so we will know the answer to that probably Thursday.”
The coaches were happy with the play of his replacement, sophomore Reid Fragel, last week.
“I think he graded in the 80 percent range, which wasn't quite a winning performance, but you certainly aren't sitting there saying, ‘Oh, man, what are we going to do if Reid has to play?’ Because he’s pretty good.”