Ohio State's Tressel addresses criticism

September, 15, 2009
9/15/09
4:24
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Whether or not you agree with Jim Tressel's decisions in the USC game or the direction he's taking the Ohio State offense, you have to admire the way he handles criticism.

It never seems to get too hot under that sweater vest.

Tressel on Tuesday continued to face questions about Ohio State's 18-15 loss to USC and some of the choices and plays that shaped the game. For possibly the first time in his incredibly successful Ohio State tenure, Tressel is taking some actual heat. And while he acknowledges some second-guessing occurs, he never gets rattled.

"It was a day of what-ifs," he said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "The thing we always start with is looking at ourselves as coaches. Are we asking our guys to do the things that they're most proficient at? We start with our design. Is there something we should be doing better? Then we work really hard on trying to develop consistency. ...

"I haven’t had a game yet where I haven’t had a significant number of decisions or thoughts that we didn’t really critique and see if we could do better."

More of Tressel's thoughts from his weekly news conference:

On quarterback Terrelle Pryor's play: "He wanted to be a big reason that we won that game. That's the way he is, that's the way he'll always be, and I'd mentioned to him on Sunday, I said, 'Not that it has any relevance, but keep in mind that at this stage Troy Smith was a kickoff returner and at this stage, Vince Young was getting spot duty going in when things were pretty good with a couple little things to do. At this stage you were lined up against a very good defense with a very young offense and it was tough sledding out there, but we have to grow from it.'"

On getting angry e-mails after losses: "The thing when I read some of them is I feel terrible for them because there's no way they're happy. They've got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy, and I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they're already miserable."

On whether he second-guesses plays: "There's a lot of them. There was 150 some plays in that game and if you ask anyone on the offensive side, anytime it was third down and we didn't go or it was third-and-1 and it didn't go, you'd say, 'Well, man, what if we'd have done this?' And someone brought up over at the Quarterback Club [that] we probably should have run a quarterback sneak down in there and, shoot, that's very valid. It was the same guy that said that last year against Penn State we shouldn't have run a quarterback sneak, but, yeah, you know, you always question things."

On whether he'll make major changes on offense: "I'm not sure exactly what a wholesale change would entail. I mean, are we going to go to the Navy triple option? Probably not. Don't know anything about it. If you look at our teams from 2001 on, they haven't been exactly the same because you don't have the same people. But I don't know that we would make a wholesale, 'You know what, this isn't a good idea, this wouldn't work even if we did execute it, because that's the only reason you do it.'"

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