Little Room For Error For Ohio State Now
After a heart breaking and near season ending loss to the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, Head Coach Jim Tressel remained upbeat and felt the team can still win the Big Ten even with a loss to one of the worst teams in the conference. Brandon Saine also felt the team could move past the loss and get something out of the year.
By Steve Patterson
Head Coach Jim Tressel admits the team has an uphill battle going forward after losing two early games in the 2009 season. “You have to take your hat off to Purdue. They won the turnover margin, they did a nice a job on special teams and they did what they needed to do.” He said after the loss. “For us, the true test of a team is how they handle difficult situations, and we're in that right now.”
Purdue’s kicker Carson Wiggs made 4 out of 5 field goal attempts on Saturday with a long of 55 yards. Coach Tressel knew they couldn’t give the Boilermakers good field position with such a weapon at kicker. “Any time you give them field position, especially with their kicker, you give them scoring opportunities and you can't expect to win.” he explained.
Many fans had hoped to see Joe Bauserman in the game after starting Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor turned the ball over four times but Coach Tressel never considered the change. “I didn't think he was rattled, and I didn't consider sitting him.” Coach Tressel said about taking Pryor out. “We just weren't executing, and at the beginning of the game, we weren't protecting the quarterback.”
Coach Tressel was impressed with starting Purdue quarterback Joey Elliott. “I like the way he got rid of the ball, and he had great protection. That's how he was able to find open receivers.” Ohio State has had mixed results against the spread but wasn’t able to get to Elliott to disrupt his play during the game.
Even with the loss Coach Tressel feels the team can win the Big Ten. “We're still in it, but there's very little margin for error. We need to worry about getting better every day, and not worry about the next five games as a whole.”
Terrelle Pryor had his worst day as a Buckeye on Saturday and credits the Purdue defense. “We didn't have as much intensity in the first half. We tried not to get too frustrated, just keep fighting and trying. Purdue's defense did a great job, and I have to give them credit.”
He also felt the offensive line didn’t handle the defense the way they could have. “[Purdue] brought pressure from a whole different level. It was nothing like I saw on film. They just kept jumping the line. That pressure was totally unexpected, and I couldn't quite get a handle on them.”
Brandon Saine also struggled on Saturday getting only 32 yards on 7 carriers. He commented on the Purdue defense after the game. “Purdue played great defense. My hat goes off to them. They had a game plan, and they executed it to perfection.”
But Saine liked the up-tempo play calling in the fourth quarter when it was required. “It was something we had to do. It was all-or-nothing. We had to score, or we lose the game.” And he feels the team can move on after the loss. “We have to realize there's still a lot more games to play. We're only halfway through the season. We have to get back to practice and focus on our next game.”
Ohio State falls in the polls to #18 in the AP Poll while entering the just released BCS poll at #19. They will face Minnesota at home at Noon on Saturday.