Ohio State notebook: Buckeyes play hard for coach

Todd Porter

One of the reasons Ohio State seemingly overachieves, at least in the mind of ESPN analyst Lee Corso, is the Buckeyes play hard for their head coach.

Corso said he is impressed with the way Jim Tressel gets his team to play, and the team responds with its best effort.

That isn’t always easy. Ask Rich Rodriguez.

“He brings class to the table,” left tackle Alex Boone said. “He’s a genius. He’s smart. He knows a lot about football. He gets us fired up in a different kind of way. He’s not off-the-wall bonkers. You don’t know if he’s happy or sad, but he gets us going.”

Wide receiver Brian Hartline, a GlenOak High School graduate, said Tressel has returned dignity to the OSU program.

“He’s impacted who I am,” Hartline said. “When people ask you who you are, and you sit and talk with them and say, ‘I’m an Ohio State football player,’ there is balance in that and pride because of Coach Tressel.

“A decade, maybe half-decade ago, maybe you couldn’t say that. When you describe yourself now as an Ohio State football player, you’re a well-rounded person.”

In the backside

LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey had to nurse a bruise along the last part of the season on his, uh, butt. The bruise cramped up at times.

Dorsey said it was no fun taking the verbal abuse from his teammates.

“Everybody kept asking me why I was walking like that,” Dorsey said, laughing. “My butt hurts!”

Dorsey won three of four major awards he was nominated for this season and is being projected as the first pick in the draft.

“He might be one of the most decorated defensive players in history,” OSU right tackle Kirk Barton said. “I’ve never seen a guy who swept every award like he did this year. It’s obviously going to be a great challenge for us.”

Don’t go there

Florida’s front four gave Ohio State fits in the national title game. With Dorsey occupying a double team most plays, it makes it easier for the rest of LSU’s defensive line to have their way in one-on-one battles. But Buckeye Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman wouldn’t compare LSU to Florida, probably because the Gators last year are faster than the Tigers this year.

“I wouldn’t even go there,” Bollman said. “We all know about Dorsey being very, very tough inside and I think he’s probably the best person that we’ve played against all season as an inside player. ... Comparable to Florida? I don’t know. We’ll see. ... I’ll say this, they’re much bigger.”

Trick up their sleeve

Beanie Wells wasn’t biting.

If Ohio State has something up its sleeve for LSU that involved quarterback Antonio Henton, Wells isn’t saying ... or doesn’t know.

“I honestly don’t know,” Wells said when asked if there was a package in the game plan for Henton. “I’m sure the coaches have something for him if he plays.”

Henton was promoted to the second-team QB after a seven-game suspension was lifted following the Michigan game. Rob Schoenhoft, who backed up Todd Boeckman most of the year, has been working at tight end on Ohio State’s scout team.

During the 15 minutes of practice that was open to the media -- a fairly worthless excursion -- Henton was wearing the same black jersey as Boeckman, for what that’s worth.

The Ragin’ Cajun

Brian Hartline watched in utter amazement that political pundit James Carville would have as much to say about Ohio State as he did during an ESPN interview.

There was the former Democratic political hitman, though, rendering his opinion on the Buckeyes in a DVD OSU players were given.

“That guy was a crazy man,” Hartline said. “He does come across as strong when he’s putting his opinions across. But you talk about being one-sided and narrow-minded, that’s about as narrow-minded as you could get.”

The Repository