How To Set Off Jim Tressel

Coleman prepares to make a hit.

Ever wonder what it takes to make Jim Tressel lose his temper -- or if anything does? What does Daniel Dye have in common with Notre Dame's Rudy? Which members of the second-string offensive line have looked impressive thus far? Answers to these questions and more can be found in our Friday afternoon notebook.

Apparently having his team's quarterbacks get hit pushes one of Jim Tressel's buttons.

During a week when several Ohio State football players were asked to talk about their head coach, words like "mentor" and "well-rounded" were frequently used to discuss Tressel's mannerisms.

Most players said they can not recall a moment when Tressel has lost his cool and really yelled at a player, but senior captain Kirk Barton instantly recalled one play during spring practice that showed a different side of Tressel.

Although Todd Boeckman was not officially named the starter until the end of fall camp, Tressel was less than pleased when Boeckman, clad in a black jersey signifying that he was off-limits to contact, was drilled by sophomore safety Kurt Coleman.

"Kurt Coleman hit Todd in the preseason and I thought Tress was going to eat him," Barton said. "Todd had a black jersey on, which means don't come within five feet of him, don't even think about touching him. Kurt hit him, and whew, I forget what he said to Kurt but Kurt didn't talk for a couple of days after that. He wasn't happy at all."

That play aside, linebackers coach Luke Fickell said situations, not specific plays, are what can set Tressel off.

"Lack of respect or something," Fickell said. "It's not a play, it's not doing something. There's not a whole lot that upsets him. Not that he's not upset, but he would never lose his cool like myself.

"I don't hold my emotions quite as well. I think you are who you are and you've got to be who you are. I think the most important thing for a coach dealing with young men is you have to be consistent."

According to sophomore wide receiver Brian Hartline, there are few cracks – if any – in Tressel's armor.

"I can't find flaws in the darn guy and I try to," he said. "To me, he's a normal guy. He's Coach Tressel and he cracks on us and I usually try to crack back. He's taught me so many things just about being a man. I see him more than I see my parents. He's a good role model."

Rudy! Rudy! They might not all sit around and watch the movie centered on a former Notre Dame football walk-on, but senior offensive lineman Daniel Dye bears a few resemblances to Rudy Ruettiger.

In the film, Ruettiger gets a job working at Notre Dame Stadium to help pay his way through college.

"I've seen Rudy and there's some similarities between Rudy and I," Dye said. "Rudy's first name is Daniel, and Rudy used to work over at the stadium at Notre Dame. My first job here at Ohio State was I had a stadium job, painting the lockers, sort of similar to what he did."

Wanting The Illibuck: It might be the only rivalry trophy the Buckeyes play for, but there are still invariably a few raised eyebrows when the Illibuck trophy is brought up. A wooden replica of a turtle, OSU has taken home the trophy 56 times.

Tressel said the team was visited by representatives of the trophy at the beginning of the week.

"It's an unusual situation, but that used to be our last game," Tressel said. "It's an exciting thing. Our guys have grown to know what it is."

Sophomore Austin Spitler, who backs up James Laurinaitis at middle linebacker, said the players do care about winning the trophy – even if it is just one depicting a turtle.

"I've been here three years now and every year the Illibuck group comes in," he said. "Obviously we want the trophy in our hands. We want that trophy. I guess yes, we do care about it."

The Young Second Team: Last season, the team's second-string offensive line drew attention throughout the season as it saw playing time in nearly every game. Offensive line coach Jim Bollman has discussed the depth the team had along the line and the benefits of getting younger players such as Jimmy Cordle and Ben Person significant playing time.

This year, the second-string line came in against Youngstown State and helped the Buckeyes drive down the field for a touchdown in week one but has seen limited playing time since then.

While they have not seen a lot of actual game action, Dye said he has seen progress out of a few younger members of the second-team line.

"I think Bryant Browning has a shot," he said. "He's a little raw right now, but give him a couple of years and give him some time in the weight room and he's going to be a great player, as is Connor Smith and Andrew Moses. All three of those guys are electric and they're going to be good players here."

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