1) Could Etienne Sabino possibly still play even though the staff planned on redshirting him this season? Since the season is halfway over and one would think it only makes sense to not waste the extra year of eligibility at this point. Well, the staff may not be seeing it that way. According to Adam Jardy, there is a chance he burns the redshirt and starts playing as of this weekend.
I guess the staff is very serious about winning out, and claiming another conference championship and BCS bowl bid. With the amount of injuries that seem to keep piling up, keeping a guy like Sabino off the field doesn't make sense anymore to them. I'm sure we will find out more about this in the coming days, if nothing else at least Saturday, but I can't say I would be a big fan of this decision. I understand the importance of winning a Big Ten Title, but why hurt Sabino's career for a coaching mistake at the beginning of the season? I just wonder what Sabino will be thinking if this really does go down.
2) Tressel's press conference was earlier this afternoon, and the big news again was injuries. Here was Tressel's updates on what is going on:
"Health-wise, Christian Bryant is still in the hospital. His foot's doing good. The effects of all the medications and so forth, still haven't released him yet. We hope here today or tomorrow, last I heard. But his foot's doing fine. I'm sure it will be six weeks or better before he can play football.
"Ross Homan, I think, will do a little land running today. He's been running in water a lot. I don't think there will be any way that he would be ready for this weekend. Who else am I missing? Corey Brown's going to be out for the year and the spring."
With Bryant out at least until the bowl game and Corey Brown done for the season, the Buckeyes have five defensive backs that have gone down for the season (Tyler Moeller, C.J. Barnett, Donnie Evege, Corey Brown, and Christian Bryant). The latest depth chart shows the effects as Hines has moved to the star, with Gant taking over at free safety. We also have Zach Domicone, Jamie Wood, and Dominic Clarke in the two deep. Any more injuries and things could get down right ugly for the defense.
Also of note, Tressel mentioned that Dorian Bell will miss this upcoming week as well.
"The one time that 94 ran around him, he just had a poor kick slot, just poor technique, got off the ball a little bit late. If you get off late on 94, I don't care if your feet feel good or don't feel good, you're not going to get him. As far as feet, I've said to you before, I don't know if he'll ever have good feet. We were hoping to get 25 plays before it got too inflamed and that kind of thing and we got 39, I think, before it was just -- all of a sudden he couldn't do the job. I thought he did the job pretty well. In fact, I think he graded a winning performance in the ball game.
"So, no, we wouldn't go into this game saying we're going to rest anybody. This game obviously has conference implications and everything else. And I think the game Justin might have sat out was New Mexico State, and probably if it was a conference game, you would have wound it up and so forth. But he's hurting. And like you say, he's just trying to fight through it."
I'm not sure exactly how Shugarts walked away with a winning performance, especially due to the fact that Pryor has yet to grade out a winning performance this season to my knowledge. I really wish Tressel would allow us to see this supposed grading system sometime. Maybe I'm just cynical, but my gut says the grades come from who Tressel wants to motivate or encourage. Either that or the staff has one jacked up system for grading out games!
4) There were a lot of other great nuggets from Tressel's press conference, but the other big thing that caught my eye was his comments on Pryor's growth. When asked what he does best and if they ever allow him to call some plays, Tressel got talkative:
"He's starting to call a few more of them now. He came to us at one point in him game and said, here's the way they're playing this, we've got to throw this and all of a sudden he hits a 19-yard dig route, he had it cold. And all of a sudden he came back and called the next play and I've got, man, we've got all you other guys up there, what do I need you for? But understanding is greater. Are we to point yet where we say, hey, we're just going to give him a formation and you're going to take over? Probably not there yet. Will we ever get there? We'll see. We study things in the pass game by protection because that's what it's all about and which things do you do best in protection and in fact we're right now in the midst of a pretty intense study of ourselves by protection, by quarterback in this case, although we were teasing Terrelle that if you take Big Ten stats original, Terrelle's fourth in the league in passing efficiency and Bauserman's first. So we've had fun with that all week, believe me. Right now, as we look at our various protections, which ones are we executing better, numbers sometimes lie, so the first thing you do is you get the numbers, and then you go back and look at the film and say, did we execute this because of protection, because of the actual design or in spite of the fact, you know, he dodged three people and jumped up in the air and threw a pass and that type of thing, but you know right now, I think the fact that he's been under center a little bit more and done a little more throwing from under center than he did early in his career, I think he's becoming more comfortable in that and that's something we want him to. I think he's comfortable with the five-man protections where he's got to do more Q throws and all that and I think he's also comfortable with the seven-man protections where he knows if they green dog someone, he's going to be protected or if someone has poor technique and they beat us around the corner. So I think comfort level is coming along in all those things. And I think I said on the Big Ten call, someone asked me about Terrelle and where you really have an appreciation of his growth is when you're getting ready for a team, we're getting ready for Minnesota, so you watch him last year against Minnesota and you've been watching him every day now, he's like a different guy. Now, that slant throw that he misfired and was picked, he couldn't sleep for two days, but he knew exactly what he did. Two years ago, you might have that same issue, and you don't even -- you had no idea why because we were just trying to get the ball out of our hand, that type of thing. But we'll just keep grinding away at that. And I don't even remember the question."
5) As many of you saw, Pryor made the list of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. What has really surprised me has been the negative reaction to Pryor making it over guys like Dan Persa. Now don't get me wrong, I realize that Persa has had a great year. He leads the nation in passing percentage and is putting together a great year, but it's time people quit minimizing what Pryor has done to this point. I realize everyone expected him to be Lebron in cleats and walk his way to the Heisman, and even though he hasn't done that and had moments of inconsistency, he is a top tier quarterback. Some of the pressure comes from being the number one recruit out of high school, but unfortunately people have the mentality that he is great or nothing at all. The guy has grown a ton from last year and is leading a top ten team, unlike Persa, and it's time the national media gives him a bit more respect.