Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer
First-year coach Luke Fickell met with the media for his weekly Tuesday press conference to talk about Ohio State’s upcoming trip to West Lafayette Saturday to take on Purdue. Fickell also addressed the current situation at Penn State, OSU’s injuries, the passing game and even apologized to the band.
Penn State situation
Penn State and its legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, are currently engrossed in an alleged child sex-abuse scandal. Fickell was asked about the situation, but refused to speculate.
“It would be nothing more than a speculation if I said anything,” Fickell said. “Great program, great man and I’ll just leave it at that.”
OSU walked away from its 34-20 victory against Indiana nursing a few injuries. Senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron appeared to injure his ankle and senior offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts appeared to injure his knee. Fickell talked about both injuries and remained optimistic about both players suiting up for Purdue.
“Boom was sore Sunday,” Fickell said. “Able to move around. Felt better than the week before. I would believe he’ll be all right today to move around some.
“J.B. had a little bit of a knee. We’ll have to evaluate as the week goes along. I don’t think he’ll be available today to do a lot of different things. J.B. is a tough guy, he’s pretty strong and a competitor. If there’s any chance of him being out there, he’ll be out there.”
Junior running back Jordan Hall missed the Indiana game because of an ankle sprain. Fickell said Hall’s status for Purdue is still uncertain.
“Jordan we’re still kind of curious on,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to go. He’ll be a little bit hesitant. We’ll hold him out a little bit today. But we’re hoping. We obviously have to wait till later in the week to find out for sure.”
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was also shaken up at points during the Indiana game, but Fickell said Miller is fine and will play against Purdue.
Best damn apology in the land
Fickell started the press conference with a little apology to the band. During the band’s halftime performance, some members of the OSU team came out of the locker room and appeared to interfere with the band’s routine.
“I don’t know that it’s been brought up, maybe a little apology to the band,” Fickell said. “I’m not sure when we were supposed to come out there at halftime, but it was hard to keep them in the locker room. The band was still playing.
“If we kind of messed it up, I’ll take the blame for that. I’m not sure anything was said as of yet, but I apologize for that.”
Improving the passing game
Miller passed for 51 yards in the first quarter of the Indiana game, but finished with just 55. OSU’s effectiveness in the running game might have contributed to the lack of passing, but Fickell said the passing game is something the team needs to improve on to reach its goals.
“We know we have to get better at it,” Fickell said. “We know if there’s any chance for us to be where we want to be in the end we got to do a better job obviously of throwing the football.”
Big Ten Leaders division
OSU currently sits in second place of the Leaders Division of the Big Ten with a 6-3 overall record.
If the Buckeyes are able to win the remainder of their games, and division leader Penn State loses twice before the season ends, OSU will earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game as long as the pending NCAA decision doesn’t exclude them from being eligible.
Fickell said he isn’t too concerned with the standings.
“I don’t stare at them every day,” he said. “I know if we control what we can control, we have a chance. That’s where our focus is.”
Senior linebacker Tyler Moeller said he doesn’t even look at the standings.
“I don’t really pay attention to all that stuff,” Moeller said. “I pay attention to what we can control and winning this game.”
Defense needs more turnovers
Since Fickell was hired as head coach, he has put an emphasis on not turning the ball over offensively and maximizing the number of defensive take-aways. In that respect, Fickell said he’s only satisfied with the offensive side of the ball.
“My opinion would be that we probably haven’t got as many defensively and we’ve done a decent job offensively at not turning the football over,” Fickell said.
“I don’t think we’ve done a good job of it,” Moeller said. “When that ball’s on the ground, we need to do a good job of picking it up and creating that turnover.”