In today’s edition, we celebrate number 16, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Texas A&M in the 1987 Cotton Bowl, 28-12.
Earle the Bruce took the Buckeyes to Dallas to face off against Jackie Sherrill’s Aggies. Being a ‘Jackie Sherrill Aggie’ just doesn’t sound right, but evidently such things existed. Ohio State led at the half 7-6 in a back and forth but not effective 30 minutes. Despite having Jim Karsatos as the offensive trigger man, the Buckeye defense won this game by producing 5 interceptions, two for pick-6’s. If you were to chart out the platoon performance, it would look like this: Read More
The idea of this article came to me this past weekend as I was trying to keep up with my timeline on Twitter. There were obviously a ton of former Buckeyes playing in preseason NFL games and the tweets that were the most intriguing to me were the ones in support of Terrelle Pryor. Bear in mind, if you will, that I am not on the fence when it comes to TP and how he should be viewed by Buckeye Nation. I am also not writing this to convince you of my position on the matter.
What we are here to do is to look back over the years and try and figure out exactly what it is that Buckeye Nation expects out of a former player who caused problems for the program due to their selfish actions. Before I introduce the primary three that have done so, let’s talk briefly about one who did after he was gone. A few of my comrades wanted me to touch on it so I will.
You can get the gist of Art Schlicter’s whole story from Wikipedia (Thank you Eric). From my perspective, his problem was always there, but Woody Hayes was able to keep him focused on football. Woody probably believed that he fixed Art, which in fact, he only slowed down the inevitable. When Woody passed, he probably did so with a broken heart. Read More
In today’s profile OSU College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at Earle Bruce, Hall of Fame Class of 2002. Bruce had the unenviable task of following Woody Hayes as Ohio State’s head football coach. Someone had to do it, I guess.
Bruce earned his coaching spurs at four high schools in Ohio; Mansfield, Salem, Sandusky and Massillon. In the late 60’s, Hayes hired Bruce back to Ohio State as a position coach for the offensive line, then later, the defensive backs. After five seasons under Woody, Bruce’s career took off beginning as head coach of University of Tamps, then moving on to Iowa State University.
When Woody was fired from Ohio State, Earle Bruce was offered and accepted the head coaching position. Bruce coached the Buckeyes from 1979–1987, and generally had good success leading the Buckeyes. In his first year, Ohio State was undefeated in the regular season, went to the Rose Bowl and lost the game, and probably the National Championship, by 1 point. Ouch.
The Buckeyes did fairly well under Earle Bruce, averaging over 9 wins per season, except for what would be his last season at OSU. It seemed that Bruce’s teams were good, just not quite good enough to contend for a national championship.Thus out he went; he was relieved of his coaching duties the week before The Game, but was permitted to stay on to finish the season. Collateral damage included OSU’s AD, Rick Bay, who resigned in protest over Bruce’s dismissal.
The 1987 team finished 6-4-1, which was highlighted by a dramatic come-back win over Michigan and the ensuing celebration.
Bruce took over the head coaching position at The University of Northern Iowa for one year, then finished his collegiate coaching career at Colorado State University. In his second season at CSU, he led the Rams to a winning record and a victory over Oregon in the Freedom Bowl, their first bowl appearance since 1948 and their first bowl victory ever.
1979 AFCA Coach of the Year
1979 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year
2000 Iowa State University Hall of Fame
2002 Collegiate Hall of Fame
Granted, any coach who had been in the business for a while such as Earle Bruce has been mentored and did mentoring for coaches who were/are successful. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these. I pulled the following list from Wiki; it’s a long one..
I’ve always liked Earle Bruce as a coach and as a person. His teams were fun to watch, generally performed well, and were a credit to the Ohio State University community. I’m glad that he still remains an integral part of the community. One final comment on Bruce’s Coaching Tree; 25 years ago, or so, Earle hired a young pup named Urban Meyer as an assistant coach. Urban has since taken over the reins at Ohio State, and has hired Zack Smith as Receivers Coach. As you know, Zack in the grandson of Earle Bruce. The Buckeye nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
This profile was a fun one for me to do. However, if you want to read a really interesting profile on Mr. Bruce, I direct your attention to this well done article. Enjoy.
Over the past month or so I have written articles about all three of the legendary former coaches to lead the Scarlet and Gray on the gridiron. I touched on a great many things from Earle Bruce’s rise from high school to college; to coach Cooper finally understanding what it means to be a Buckeye; and about coach Tressel and his wife Ellen’s lifetime of charity.
What I didn’t cover very much of was the perception of their best and worst moments. I have invited some of my good friends to tell their side of the story. I have asked our own Mali, the newly formed Buckeye Empire’s own Chris Holloway and Grant Edgell, as well as the man who let me cut my writing teeth on the Buckeyes in Maurice Womak from Our Buckeye Hub.
I have asked each of them to describe to us what their perception of these moments are and have purposely left out coach Tressel’s worst moment. I didn’t feel like this was something needing covered or rehashed and to my comrads credit? Not a single one pointed out to me that I left it off the round table list. Let’s get started with Mr. Nine and Three.
What is your perception of Earle Bruce’s best moment as a head coach?
Mali- To be honest, Coach Bruce’s continuation of Coach Hayes’ traditions and attitudes have always been what stood out to me about his tenure. There’s a reason he’s invited back yearly during “The Game” week… and in spite of his struggles in the match up, he of all people understands the importance of what it means to represent the state of Ohio.
Chris Holloway – This is easy. Earle knew that this time at Ohio State was over. He had one last chance for glory, and he inspired his team to win. In Ann Arbor no less. When you think about it, and then consider that from that game, until Jim Tressel did it in his first year, the Buckeyes failed to beat the Wolverines in the Big House, that says something.
WVaBuckeye – it’s a long moment in Buckeye lore. I remember him replacing Coach Hayes and the time and energy he put into putting all of the fans and players at ease by reminding them who taught him how to coach. He was, is, and always will be the ultimate Woody disciple. He has carried the torch for Coach Hayes for all this time and it continues to have an effect on current coaches.
His worst moment? Read More
He’s definitely had one of the least liked exits as a head coach in Ohio State history and has continued to this day to love THE Ohio State University in spite of the way he was treated.
From being a player for the Buckeyes in the early 1950′s to local prognosticator on Columbus radio recently, he has never been shy about his love affair with the Scarlet and Gray.
He has an amazing coaching tree that has literally come full circle in bringing Urban Meyer back to the beginning of his coaching roots.
One things for sure, there may not be anybody that’s ever been as much of a Buckeye that Coach Earle Bruce is.
Coach Bruce suffered one of the worst fates for a football player but it clearly set forth a path to something greater. He played full back at tOSU in 1949 on the Wes Fesler coached freshmen team but suffered a knee injury before his sophomore season and never saw the field. Woody Hayes clearly saw something special in Coach Bruce and offered him a position on the staff until he graduated in 1953.
That experience in itself set forth a coaching career that began at Mansfield HS as an assistant. He then was hired as the head coach at Salem HS in 1956 and began one of the best head coaching careers in Ohio High School history. After going 28 – 9 at Salem and then 34-3-3 at Sandusky HS, Coach Bruce moved on to Massillon where he set a standard to never be matched in Tiger football lore. During his two seasons at Massillon HS in 1964 and 1965 the Tigers were undefeated and back to back state champions. He is the only undefeated head coach in Tigers history. Check out the original bio put together by the Massillon Tigers Cyber Review. Read More
Ok, not to be “that guy”, but like many Buckeye fans I find myself with a huge amount of trepidation regarding Saturday’s game.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a believer in The Wolf’s mantra about counting chickens, or perhaps it’s because I want to be more satisfied with my cheering/viewing experience. Either way, I’m not seeing this game as the blowout that many fans from both sides are.
Since my therapist and the voices in my head tell me that it’s good to “talk these types of things through”, let me give you a couple of reasons that we should remember that The Game means throwing out the record books.
Ok, that was depressing… and eye opening. Two more reasons to never EVER take The Game lightly, these with better endings.
With all the rumors swirling around TTUN, with the sense of desperation around the team and the coaching staff, there’s no better time to remember the wisdom of St. Woody-
“The time you give a man something he doesn’t earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”
This year, as always, victory in The Game must be earned.
On the nineteenth day of pre-season, the Buckeyes gave to me…
An eighteen year NFL veteran and 1999 Pro Bowler.
And, just so you don’t think I’m somehow fixated on kickers (it could be worse…), my memories of him come from a better, more productive time.
As a kid, the first Buckeye quarterback that remember really paying attention to was Tupa. I just thought it was cool that when he was back to punt, you could never really rule out the fake.
Although his leg is more than likely what allowed him to be a part of the Buckeye Grove, I recall an important day in 1987- the last game of Sir Earle of Bruce. Luckily, the amazing archives at OHD saved the moment for us and for our “friends” up north:
Tom, thanks for the great legacy, for your important part in honoring Coach Bruce, and for getting us through this nineteenth day.
I grew up with the name Chris Spielman dominating the news. When I was in junior high, he was a running back and a linebacker at Massillon High School, a mere seven miles from my house. He humiliated both offenses and defenses across the state week after week. Guys in this town still have nightmares from when they were 16 year-old kids and would get punished having to try and tackle him on Friday night. They don’t talk about getting tackled by him because the concussion took that memory away.
Dude was even on a Wheaties box before he turned 18.
Then he chose Ohio State. Actually, his father told him to choose Ohio State or “never come home again”. Spielman was apparently considering that school up north.
In 1986 he was all over the field against Michigan, recording 29 tackles in a single game. No, that’s not a misprint. 29 tackles in one game.
So by the time I got to see him up close for the first time, he was a legend.
In 1987, I went up to Michigan Stadium to see the Buckeyes/Wolverines game. Four days earlier, Ohio State had fired head coach Earle Bruce and it was considered a travesty in every part of Ohio except the university president’s office. The players were pissed, and they were fully supporting Bruce.
During pre-game warmups that cold morning, we were right along the end zone wall, screaming for our Bucks. The players (who, in solidarity, had all put on white headbands with the name “Earle” emblazoned upon it in black Sharpie) were fired up and loving the atmosphere of the day. Hundreds of high-fives and hugs being exchanged between players and fans. It was electric.
Except for Spielman.
I have never seen a scarier sight in my life than when #36 came near our corner of the end zone. The look in his eyes was of pure anger and pure hunger. Nobody reached out to wish Spielman luck. They were too afraid of him. He looked as if he would literally plunge a rusty 6-inch shank in your jugular vein if you got in his way.
We were terrified of him and we were on the same freaking team.
And then we watched Michigan’s offense try to use only half of the field, constantly running to the side of the field that didn’t have a guy named Spielman on it. They clearly remembered the attack they had witnessed in 1986 (seriously, 29 tackles!) and tried their best to avoid a repeat.
That day, Spielman and the rest of the Buckeyes gave Bruce his final win at Ohio State, beating Bo Schembechler 23-20. Thanks, Chris!
36 days until kickoff!