NEW ORLEANS Jim Tressel glanced up at the roof, scanned the multicolored seats and looked down at the field.
Alone in thought, he took in the whole scene.
"This is the first time I've ever been in the Superdome," the Ohio State coach said Saturday.
Tressel and the Buckeyes got their initial look at the stadium during media day interviews. On Monday night, Ohio State will be back to play LSU for the BCS national championship.
"I've watched it on television, so many huge games," Tressel said. "And whether they be college football or pro football, just look around and tie that together with where you saw it in the national scheme of things, with Katrina."
Opened in 1975 and home to the New Orleans Saints, the Superdome held a string of major events during its first three decades, including six Super Bowls, more than any other stadium.
There's more. Michael Jordan's jumper won the 1982 NCAA basketball title for North Carolina. Muhammad Ali earned the heavyweight title for the third time. Sugar Ray Leonard beat Roberto Duran in the "no mas" fight at the dome.
Beyond sports, former President George H.W. Bush delivered his "thousands points of light" speech during the 1988 Republican convention. Pope John Paul II spoke and the Rolling Stones played there.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, upward of 30,000 evacuees found shelter inside the Superdome.
Ohio State tight end Brandon Smith and safety Jamario O'Neal brought video cameras Saturday and walked around together, talking about the building's present and past.
"Being football players, you think about this is where Reggie Bush breaks a lot of ankles," Smith said. "We were talking about the Saints, but then quickly shifted to the significance of the Superdome and its place in history. You think about the thousands of people who were here during Katrina, and what they must've gone through.
"I really wanted to come and look around here today. It was important."
HAT VS. VEST: Les Miles opened his time on the podium with an extensive primer on the most prominent part of his coaching wardrobe: the cap.
Miles didn't have anything on his head for media day, but rest assured he'll be wearing his old-style baseball cap when the Tigers take on Ohio State for the BCS championship.
"Coach, where is the hat?" someone asked.
"It doesn't stay on my head all the time," Miles replied. "I put it in the locker occasionally."
Some have billed this game "Vest vs. Cap," since Ohio State coach Jim Tressel always wears a sweater vest on the sideline.
"Well, I suspect the vest keeps him warmer than the hat," Miles quipped. "But it's just kind of a game-day regimen and something that you're used to."
He then explained why he started wearing a cap."My father was an ol' baseball coach in youth sports, and I started wearing caps with him," Miles said.
HENTON'S DEFENSE: Ohio State backup quarterback Antonio Henton, who pleaded guilty in November to a minor misdemeanor count of loitering for prostitution, pleaded his case to the media for the first time.
Henton, a redshirt freshman from Fort Valley, Ga., said police wrongly arrested him and did not read him his rights.
It was the first time Henton had spoken with reporters since his arrest just south of the Ohio State campus on Sept. 24. He was charged with offering a female police officer $20 for a sex act.
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Henton said. "The police officers pulled me over to the corner. Like anybody else I stopped, and she was harassing me. Then it got flipped around, the story got flipped around. So of course they're going to take the officer's side of the story.
"It really wasn't nothing like I was looking for sex or whatever."Henton was suspended from the team for a week by coach Jim Tressel, who said he believes the player's version even though he agreed to a plea deal on Nov. 12. Henton paid court costs of $156 and is required to attend classes for people convicted of prostitution-related offenses.
FAST LITTLE MAN: Trindon Holliday always gets the same question, even from his teammates: Just how fast are you?
The LSU running back, who is just 5-foot-5 and 160 pounds, finished second in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA track championships last year.
At the NCAAs, he put up a time of 10.02 seconds, setting a school record. He also qualified to run at the world championships in Japan last summer, but gave up his spot to prepare for the football season.