Tressel talks No 1 ranking Pryor showdown in Madison

Because of Ohio State’s convincing defeat of Indiana on Saturday, coupled with Alabama’s loss at South Carolina, the Buckeyes head to Wisconsin this weekend with the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Despite the hype the top ranking creates, OSU coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday that Wisconsin is going to come prepared. “They were going to be ready if we were 15th,” Tressel said. “I don’t know that that will change their readiness. What’s most critical is our readiness and our preparation and how we handle the adversity.” Although Tressel said the ranking won’t change things in Wisconsin, senior defensive end Cameron Heyward said the ranking could present a more difficult challenge. “We always just want to be No. 2, then we just go under the radar,” Heyward said. “No one expects No. 2 to do everything, but when you’re at No. 1, everyone is looking for you to fall … We look forward to just proving them wrong.” Injury report After adding another dimension to the Buckeye offense with his strong play to open the season, tight end Jake Stoneburner has missed the last two games after spraining an ankle against Eastern Michigan. However, Tressel said there is a chance the junior could return to the lineup Saturday. “He was back doing individual drills on Sunday night,” Tressel said. “I’m told that he is probable, but that was said cautiously.” Offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts missed part of the Indiana game with lingering foot problems. Tressel said it is something Shugarts will deal with all year but said he expects Shugarts to be ready to go this weekend. Pryor continues to impress Even with his legs being a non-factor against Indiana, Terrelle Pryor continued to prove he is developing into a precision passer. Setting a personal best through the air with 334 yards and 24 completions, Pryor earned both Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week and team Player of the Week honors. And after another week to rest his quadriceps strain, Pryor is ready to run, Tressel said. “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,” Tressel said. “It just so happens when he tucks it and takes off, it could be 60 (yards). So that’s huge to us, having that ability.” Battle in the trenches Wisconsin typically possesses one of the premiere offensive lines in the country. Tressel said that this week, winning the battle in the trenches is of utmost importance. “Every game is won there,” Tressel said. “The trenches are where it will be. Run game certainly, pass protection, for sure, both sides. That’s where the game is won and lost.” Heyward echoed his coach’s sentiments and said going up against Wisconsin’s offensive line will be no easy task. “I think Miami (Fla.) was a great offensive line as well, and there’s a couple teams that have a couple good players on the offensive line, but I think this is the most complete,” Heyward said. “They run so hard and finish blocks very well. They’re some trees and they get so much push, it’s going to be critical for us to keep up the line of scrimmage on our side.” Physical game With both Dan Herron and Dane Sanzenbacher suffering concussions during their last trip to Camp Randall, the Buckeyes are well-aware of the level of physicality to expect. “It’s a physical game,” Tressel said of OSU–Wisconsin meetings. “That’s the way Wisconsin plays and that’s why they’re good … They’ve got good intention to smack you.” Going for BCS No. 1 The Buckeyes might be ranked No. 1 in the polls, but projected BCS rankings have OSU at No. 5. Heyward said the team isn’t concerned. “I think every week is a chance,” he said. “We have so many opponents left on our schedule. No matter what the ranking is, it’s not even an upset or anything, it’s just Big Ten football. We know every opponent is going to give us their best shot, and every week we have to prove to everybody that we deserve that ranking.”

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