Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
Ohio State football coach Luke Fickell discussed his future at the university and Saturday’s game against Penn State at a Tuesday press conference. Fickell was also joined by athletic director Gene Smith who encouraged Buckeye Nation to exhibit good sportsmanship toward visiting Nittany Lion fans this weekend.
A message from Gene Smith to Buckeye Nation
Smith began the Tuesday press conference by encouraging Buckeyes fans to be respectful of Penn State fans that come to Ohio Stadium for Saturday’s Leaders Division matchup against the Nittany Lions in the wake of revelations that former PSU defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, allegedly sexually abused children.
“With the incidents occurring over at Penn State University this past week, we thought it was important that we try and share with our fans this reality that we face by hosting Penn State this weekend,” Smith said. “We’re asking all of our Buckeye fans… to continue to show the sportsmanship and class that they represent as we welcome our visitors.
“The fans that will come here and the young men that participate in this contest this weekend are coming here as our visitors. We ask that all of our fans continue to demonstrate great respect.”
Senior wide receiver DeVier Posey could make his first appearance of the 2011 season following the conclusion of his second five-game suspension of the year.
Posey, along with Daniel “Boom” Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas, was suspended for the first five games of the season for selling OSU football memorabilia and receiving improper benefits in the form of tattoos. Posey was then suspended an additional five games for being overpaid by Robert DeGironimo for work he did not do at a summer job.
Posey is listed on the Buckeyes’ depth chart dated Nov. 14 as a starter, but Fickell said that he’ll need to see the receiver perform in practice this week before determining whether Posey will start.
“(Posey will) have an opportunity,” Fickell said. “We’ll see how practice goes, and we’ll see as we get closer to get game time.”
Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat and defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins left Saturday’s game against Purdue with injuries. Fickell said he didn’t know if either player would be able to return to the Buckeyes’ lineup Saturday.
“Don’t know if (Sweat) is going to be available for who knows how long. The biggest concern is that we make sure he gets OK regardless of the football aspect of things,” Fickell said.”(With Hankins), don’t know. He didn’t make it back into the football game (Saturday). Right now it doesn’t look probably real good. We’ll see as the week moves along.”
Senior offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts was sidelined with injury against the Boilermakers and did not dress for the game. Fickell said that Shugarts is close to being ready to return, and added the lineman’s status for the PSU game isn’t definite yet.
“(Shugarts) is probably… getting treatment right now, but we don’t know exactly on him just yet. We’ll have to find out,” Fickell said. “(Wednesday) will be a big part to see if he can do it. He’s probably close, but I would say he’s very questionable whether he’ll be able to make it for Saturday.”
No Tressel? No Paterno? No problem
Saturday’s game between OSU and PSU will be the first without either of the former coaches Jim Tressel or Joe Paterno on the sidelines in 10 years, and Fickell he was more concerned with the task of beating the Nittany Lions.
“Those are two people that won’t be here, and there are probably 70 on (PSU’s) side and 106 players on our side,” he said. “So, we probably focus on the things we have and not the things we’ve lost. I’m going to be focused on the 105 that we’ll dress.”
Saturday’s game at the ‘Shoe kicks off at 3:30 p.m.