Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is in the third stage of coming up with a plan for Saturday’s game against Wisconsin.
With the Buckeyes preparing for a night game at Camp Randall Stadium against the Badgers (8 p.m. ABC), Tressel is still cultivating what his team will do when it takes the field. As he explained during his final meeting with reporters prior to the game, that process takes three days.
“You need Tuesday’s experiments, Wednesday’s work and Thursday’s decisions,” he said. “After today’s practice, we will be (ready).”
The Buckeyes had been practicing Monday through Thursday with a light day on Friday through the first five weeks of the season, but this marked the first week they did not go on Monday.
As such, Tressel said he will not know until following Thursday’s practice exactly what game plan he will use to attack the Badgers.
Tressel said he has no qualms about going into the hostile environment with freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor under center owing to the command Pryor has demonstrated in the pocket and the security blanket in senior backup Todd Boeckman. Although the team has set offensive goals for each week, the goal for Pryor is the same as it is for every quarterback under Tressel.
“The only goal we’ve ever talked to any of the quarterbacks about – Steve Bellisari, Craig (Krenzel), Troy (Smith), Todd, Terrelle – is that we can’t remember ever losing a game that the Ohio State quarterback had 50 yards rushing or more and no interceptions,” Tressel said. “That’s the goal.”
The offense will benefit by the continued recovery of junior tailback Chris “Beanie” Wells, who saw his first game action last week after missing three games with a foot/toe injury. Tressel said he has continued to progress in practice this week, adding that he had seen fewer reps than one week ago because the team has one fewer day to practice.
Pryor’s presence in the game will not make the OSU coaching staff feel limited when looking at its complete offensive package, Tressel said.
“I’m not interested in having the biggest package in the world,” he said. “I’m looking to have the most efficient one.”
The Buckeyes might have one less option on the offensive line. Freshman right tackle J.B. Shugarts, who has performed well in limited action this season, injured his shoulder and might not be able to play. The return of senior Steve Rehring, who is expected to see time at both tackle and his natural guard spot, should help alleviate any problems faced if Shugarts is unable to go.
How the offensive line rotation will play out still remains to be seen, Tressel said.
“We’ll probably start at one point and the flow of the game will determine how it ends up,” Tressel said of Rehring. “Far be it for me to say he’ll play 24 snaps or 64 snaps or those kinds of things, but he’s ready to go at both guard and tackle.”
Senior tight end Rory Nicol and junior linebacker Austin Spitler are both out, with Tressel adding on his weekly radio show that Spitler is two weeks from being able to return.