Way back in January, way before the defecation contacted the oscillator, we offered a guest post as part of prize package for winning our bowl contest. Tyler Kelly won the shirt of honor, and has been biding his time before he took us up on our offer. This is the first of a two part post by him, talking about his (brief) experience as a member of the Ohio State football team.
First of all, I’d like to thank Mali and company for letting me have the opportunity to write a guest column. In the second part of this, I’ll give an overview of the coaching candidates that come to mind for the future of Ohio State football. But, I’d be remiss if I did not take a couple sentences to show support for Coach Tressel.
Having been around Coach Tressel for a little while, even though it was only a few months in the spring and summer of 2001 on the team, and going back periodically to watch Spring practices — he definitely left an impression on me. And, if even a “no-name”/unknown/insignificant/obscure walk-on is sticking up for Coach Tressel, and was impacted positively by Coach Tressel and his staff, even if that person was there for a short period of time, perhaps there’s another side to this story.
My journey to the Scarlet and Gray is a bit of a long story - but after high school, I went to a prep school for a little while and after that I was ready to commit to the University of Kentucky, but decided at the last-minute to go to a junior college in Pennsylvania. Anyways, after a year and a half there, I transferred to Ohio State- my whole family (parents, sisters, aunts) went to Ohio State, so it’s in my blood. After walking on in the Spring of 2001, my academic adviser at the time informed my that I had to take a summer Chemistry class to be eligible for the season. It wasn’t because my grades were bad, it was because I didn’t have enough credits for a junior year (eligibility-wise) student-athlete. I think the Big 10 rule at that time was you had to have 112 credits as a Junior, or somewhere around that number, and I had a few short. So, I went home and took the 8-week course and passed it. But, I also thought that I could somehow be a Freshman eligibility-wise, even though I was technically a Junior as a student. I thought this because the junior college I went to before did not have a football team, but, since my “NCAA clock” had already started, those years were counting against me, and I didn’t know that.
So, after returning back to OSU in the late summer of 2001, having missed the beginning of camp due to the 8-week Chemistry course that didn’t start until mid-late June, I was already behind. I met with members of the coaching staff and thought I could appeal to the NCAA for more eligibility, but they explained the whole “NCAA clock” thing to me, and said I could maybe redshirt for the upcoming 2001 season and return the following spring. I opted not to do that. ” I just felt “too little, too late” at time, and I did not want to transfer again. But later I would regret the decision not to redshirt — because, at the very least, it would have been neat to be a part of a BCS National Championship team.
At any rate, I had the honor and privilege to be around Coach Tressel in his first year at tOSU. Although it was just for a brief time, as a walk-on wide receiver for the Ohio State football team for part of 2001, it did not take long for me to appreciate that Jim Tressel is not only a great coach, but clearly an even better man. This realization was confirmed when going back to Columbus to watch the team practice years later, and seeing that the “Winner’s Manual” Coach Tressel distributed to his team, was still a major part of the program.
Coach Tressel is consistent and steadfast in his care for each and every player, from the star players to the unheralded walk-ons. If you know Coach Tressel, you know that he is a coach that promotes a family atmosphere for the team. That is why you see former and current players come to his defense, because we know that he was protecting his players by being loyal. Maybe he’s loyal to a fault, almost … but, ask any player or any recruit if they’d prefer an especially loyal coach as opposed to somebody who is a snake oil salesman and I guarantee they’d take the former.
That’s why it makes those who have known Coach Tressel very angry when they hear “journalists” in the media like Pat Forde, George Dorhmann, David Epstein and others basically call the man a phony without really knowing the man. These type of “journalists” are even more prejudice than ESPN commentator Mark May, (it’s likely the root of his Ohio State hatred is a September Saturday in 1996. OSU: 72, Pitt: 0. He’ll never get over that). But, these other “journalists” are more disturbing, because, in an attempt to support their shameful agenda, they endeavor to dishearten a loyal Buckeye Nation, while trying to convince the casual college football fans with their flawed premise that Coach Tressel is a disingenuous and devious man.
This premise they attempt to lay out could not be more bogus. It’s one thing to report the news, but to go above and beyond by reaching for anything negative to report, whether factual or baseless is disconcerting. As an example, I would point to the recent Sports Illustrated article that seem to slander Coach Tressel’s character, and infers even more players received free or discounted tattoos; comments that have drawn the ire of some of the players mentioned in the article, whose families are considering legal action against Sports Illustrated. Although Coach Tressel’s intentions may have been pure, it is fair to say he made a mistake; but to create this distortion of a good man is just flat out erroneous and deceitful. They dug under every rock for even the smallest bit of negative news about Coach Tressel and Ohio State, all the while, failing to mention the positive things Coach Tressel has helped to accomplish, like the outstanding showing by Ohio State in the most recent NCAA APR ratings. These “journalists” should be ashamed of themselves.
Unequivocally, Jim Tressel is as solid a human being as it gets, who ran one of the cleanest programs in college football … on and off the field. Many in the media are spinning him to be the villain, but he is a decent man and he did not deserve to go out like this. I know Coach Tressel made some mistakes, but I feel as if some, not all, in the media are piling on and really hurting his character, which I knew to be very good.
Given this opportunity to write an article, I had to say something in defense of Coach Tressel, because I think he’s a humble guy that isn’t the type of person to combat the naysayers publicly, but I feel that the more people hear former players — from all walks of life, stand up for Coach Tressel … the better.
Next: If not JT, then who?