Buckeyes listen to Tressel’s message about Navy

Published 3:08 am Friday, July 31, 2009

CHICAGO – Jim Tressel was reaching. But it was obvious his message has reached his players.

On Monday at the Big Ten football media days, Tressel talked about how tough Ohio State’s football opener against Navy (8-5 last season) on Sept. 5 would be.

He threw in everything except the kitchen plumbing equipment, talking about Navy’s unique style of play and the fact that a military academy has not played at Ohio Stadium since 1930.

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Tuesday, when some of the Buckeyes took their turn speaking at media days, that same message reappeared.

The reason for this naval focus isn’t hard to find. The Navy game is followed by OSU’s much-anticipated Sept. 12 game against Southern California at Ohio Stadium.

It is a make-or-break game for Ohio State in terms of national respect this season. And it’s a chance to avenge a 35-3 loss at USC last season.

Senior defensive lineman Doug Worthington admitted it is hard to avoid letting thoughts of a return match with USC cross his mind.

“I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be, with everybody talking, everybody saying what happened in the USC game last year. But that’s what Navy wants. Navy is a great team, it’s going to be a great, great battle.”

Asked if he had the date of the USC game memorized, Worthington said, “I have the whole month of September memorized.”

Senior defensive back Kurt Coleman says the veterans on the team have gotten this message. Now they’re in charge of passing it on to the younger players.

“That’s what a veteran has to do. You have to keep telling the younger guys that we have to get past Navy first to get to USC,” he said.