October 12, 2010

Tressel breaks down injuries

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been the Buckeyes biggest offensive weapon this season, most notably because of his ability to hurt defenses with both his arms and his legs.

In Ohio State's 38-10 win over Indiana, though, Pryor didn't use his legs at all.

With perhaps the biggest game of Ohio State's season coming up this weekend when the Buckeyes travel to Wisconsin, Tressel did say that Pryor will be completely ready to use his legs against the Badgers.

"He's ready," Tressel said.

Though the coaching staff had to be encouraged by seeing Pryor complete 24-of-30 pass attempts for a career-high 334 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel didn't call a designed run for Pryor the entire game.

That was presumably the case because Pryor suffered an injury to his quadriceps muscle the week before at Illinois, but Tressel didn't acknowledge that as the reasoning for not running his quarterback after the Indiana win.

"I've said to you before, we don't do a whole bunch of designed called quarterback runs," Tressel said after the game. "We think that he's naturally going to get some step-ups and so forth. We didn't really have that need. The protection was good. When it broke down, it broke down such that there was nowhere to go."

Pryor has been the team's leading rusher all season, but finished with -19 rushing yards on Saturday, figuring in the three sacks he suffered. But the quarterback will be needed to move the changes in hostile Camp Randall Stadium Saturday, just like he was needed to escape Wisconsin with a win in 2008 when Pryor was a freshman.

In the final minute of Ohio State's 20-17 win over Wisconsin two years, Pryor had an 11-yard touchdown run with just over a minute remaining in the game to lift the Buckeyes.

Tuesday, Tressel acknowledged the importance of having Pryor at 100 percent while having the ability to be the true dual-threat he has been for the majority of the season.

"We feel going into every game that we need the two-way threat because sometimes the best decision that a quarterback makes is to tuck it and take off and it just so happens when he tucks it and takes off, it could be 60," Tressel said. "So that's huge to us, having that ability."

Stoneburner listed as "probable"

Ohio State starting tight end Jake Stoneburner missed his second consecutive game Saturday while recovering from an ankle sprain.

Tressel confirmed on Tuesday that Stoneburner is "probable" when it comes to Ohio State's game at Wisconsin on Saturday night.

"He was back doing individual drills on Sunday night," Tressel said. "I'm told that he's probable, but that was said cautiously with let's see how he does banging into people a little bit today, so I think we'll have a little better idea after today."

Stoneburner had been moving around all last week and participating in a limited fashion in practice, and while he has been able to run routes, Tressel's concern rested with Stoneburner's ability to stay strong during contact.

The Buckeyes will have a full-go practice on Tuesday afternoon, giving the Buckeye coaching staff a better idea of where Stoneburner stands heading into the weekend.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Starting right tackle J.B. Shugarts left the game on Saturday after being bothered by his feet. Tressel said he probably could have returned but they wanted to get freshman Andrew Norwell some reps. Shugarts has "bad feet" and will continue to have to fight through it, but it isn't something Tressel expects to slow him down as the season progresses. Shugarts also reportedly missed practice last week with an undisclosed illness, but it didn't keep him from playing against the Hoosiers.

    "I think his foot will be bothering him all season like it did all (last season) -- he's got bad feet," Tressel said. "I mean, I don't mean movement-wise, I mean his feet bothered him all of last year and I don't know if it's the makeup of them or -- when you're down there in the trenches, your feet get tromped on all the time. I think he'll be fighting that battle all year.

    "I'm sure he could have gone back in last week," Tressel continued, "but we thought it was a good opportunity for Andrew Norwell to get 30-plus snaps and we think very highly of Andrew, but you need experience to be ready. So hopefully while it may linger, it won't change J.B.'s effectiveness."

  • Starting left tackle Mike Adams was supposed to be at interviews this morning but he has a stomach ailment described as "explosive" by the OSU spokesperson. It doesn't seem to be overly serious and it is something the coaching staff doesn't seem to fear in terms of his status for the Wisconsin game.

    Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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