This just in: Ohio State will be playing a night game this weekend against Purdue.
With a deluge of questions about how night games differ from day games being lobbed at him, head coach Jim Tressel looked back at his team’s victory over Minnesota and toward this weekend’s showdown with the No. 20/23 Boilermakers.
Just like last week’s game, this one will be played at night. For those of you keeping track, that makes this the fifth night game – counting the BCS National Championship Game – played by the Buckeyes in the past two seasons.
“You’ve just got to go and see how you fare,” Tressel said. “Purdue’s a good football team, and I’m not sure that it’s, ‘Are we a good night team or not a night team?’ No matter when you play Purdue, you’ve got to be good.”
As the Buckeyes prepare for the game this week, they will have a new face in uniform. For the first time this season, sophomore cornerback Andre Amos will be with the Buckeyes.
A 6-1, 179-pound native of Middletown, Ohio, Amos suffered a torn ACL during spring football and was expected to possibly be ready to play by the end of the season. He has been on the field “doing everything,” Tressel said, but he has now been given the green light to play this weekend.
“He gives you a little bit more depth at corner and he can help on special teams,” Tressel said. “That will help us.”
After redshirting for the 2005 season, Amos played in 12 games last season and collected nine tackles – four solo – and had one interception. He recorded a career-high three tackles against Bowling Green. Prior to his injury, Amos was listed as the primary backup to Malcolm Jenkins and was being tabbed as the team’s nickel back.
On the latest depth chart, true freshman Eugene Clifford is the backup to Jenkins and redshirt freshman Chimdi Chekwa is the nickel back.
In addition, Tressel said freshman Jermale Hines – who rejoined the team last week after going through an appeals process – is in the two-deep to contribute on special teams.
The status of true freshman tailback Brandon Saine is less certain, however. Tressel said Saine was originally not going to play this weekend, a downgrade from a week ago when he said the 6-1, 220-pound rusher was 50-50 for the Purdue game.
After initially telling reporters this week that Saine was out for this weekend, he began to change his tune.
“The medical report today came back that he actually did full speed land running after you begin your rehab in the water, and he did that last week, all of a sudden yesterday he was on land running full speed, which is pretty fast,” Tressel said. “I think you would call him questionable right now because it will be the doctors that will, trainers will make that decision. But I was prepared … to say he was out. I’m not sure that’s true.”
The Buckeyes began the season ranked No. 10/11 in the polls, but after a weekend that saw five of the nation’s top teams lose, they are now the consensus No. 4 team in the country.
As is always the case, though, Tressel said neither he nor his players are thinking much about rankings at this point in the season.
“You know, we’re a young team, but I would like to think that we’re mature enough to think on October 2nd where you’re ranked doesn’t really have much credence,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll stay focused on the task at hand as to what we need to get better at, and I think they will.”
They will likely be aware of the team’s recent history with the Boilermakers. The last time OSU headed to Ross-Ade Stadium, they suffered a 24-17 defeat in 2004. In 2002, it took a late 37-yard touchdown pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins to pull out a come-from-behind 10-6 victory that kept a perfect season alive.
Tressel said this year’s challenge will be even greater than that in past years because the Boilermakers of 2007 are even better than those teams.
“If our focus is on anything other than playing the 2007 Boilermakers, which are probably superior to the 2002 Boilermakers, we’ll be in trouble,” he said.