We have just 8 days to go, and for Day #8, I’d like to introduce a friend of mine.
Bobby Olive was a walk-on at The Ohio State University in 1988, and he quickly got a major role as a wide receiver under new head coach John Cooper. And it wasn’t too long before Ohio State fans quickly adopted him as their new hero.
In Week 3 of his freshman season, LSU came to Columbus with a 14-game on-the-road winning streak. The game was a battle through most of the first 3.5 quarters, but a lucky deflection gave LSU a 56-yard TD and a 33-20 lead with just under 4:30 to play in the game. Tiger fans began to celebrate their victory.
But the LSU fans didn’t see the freight train coming. Ohio State marched down the field and scored with 2 minutes left to make it 33-27. It was then the defense’s turn to rise up, and they did their job. They shut down two runs (followed by quick timeouts) and on 3rd and long, LSU threw incomplete. On 4th down, the Tigers chose to retreat and take the safety, making it 33-29.
On the ensuing free kick, Olive took the ball at his own 32 and began racing up the middle. At midfield, he made an amazing cut to his left and dodged three defenders before flying out of bounds at LSU’s 39. Ohio Stadium was on fire with excitement!
Just a few plays later….well, why not watch it for yourself? Courtesy of Our Honor Defend…..
The Buckeyes scored 16 points in under a minute and a half and they beat LSU 36-33.
But Olive wasn’t done with his heroics…..
Two years later, Ohio State was in Iowa City taking on the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa had visions of a Big Ten Championship and a National Championship (and they had the talent for both).
However, Iowa simply couldn’t put the Buckeyes away that day, and they barely led 26-21 with just over a minute to play. QB Greg Frey (who was 10 of 31 before the final drive) took the Bucks down the field and brought them to the doorstep. Then Olive did his thing one more time.
Again, courtesy of Our Honor Defend….
Olive went on the NFL and played for the Cleveland Browns before retiring after 5 seasons.
But we remember him fondly as a Buckeye, and today we honor him. Thanks, Bobby!
8 days left!!!
This morning, our old friends at Eleven Warriors published a brilliant piece on John Cooper and his recent induction in the College Football Hall Of Fame.
Of course, you can’t write a Cooper-based piece with using the numbers 2, 10, and 1. 11W did that. Sprinkled around the article is a list of Coop’s accomplishments, and The BBC will not argue with the fact that these feats qualify our former coach for the HOF.
But our disagreements about Cooper end there. I haven’t yet forgiven Coach for many of his failures and perhaps I still hold too much of a grudge….but my frustration with him hasn’t faded.
My freshman year at The Ohio State University was 1987. Earle Bruce had a team with minimal talent and he caught a few horrible breaks that year (seriously, a TD on 4th-and-23 to Iowa….in The Shoe). But four days after the administration fired Bruce, his team went up to Michigan Stadium and beat Bo Schembechler. With Greg freaking Frey taking snaps, no less.
My sophomore year was Cooper’s first year, and the season hadn’t even begun before Cooper’s heart was being questioned. I recall an article in The Lantern in which Cooper was openly mocking students who had casually reminded him that he shouldn’t be wearing a blue blazer around campus. Rather than run to complain to the student newspaper, he should have pulled aside any one of his assistant coaches or players and asked them why it was so important to ditch the blue (and/or maize) colored apparel.
When the season began, the first three games would tell you all you needed to know.
The Buckeyes were schizophrenic under Cooper and when they finally captured some sort of consistency, it wasn’t the type of consistency we wanted to see.
John Cooper, during the off-season, was a brilliant recruiter and nobody could ever (and possibly will ever again) put together a team like he could. Every amazing player you saw in the 1990s was brought to Columbus through the charm and brilliance of John Cooper. Eddie George. David Boston. Orlando Pace. Shawn Springs. Joey Galloway. Etc, etc, etc.
But where we may have been the most talented team on the field every single Saturday, that talent was often wasted with poor coaching decisions time and time again. Let’s not forget…..
I could actually go on and on for a long time. I’m sure you could too. Cooper’s issues are a novel waiting to be written.
Eleven Warriors closes their article with “if you can’t at least bring yourself to recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did at Ohio State, then you’re either clueless, or hold irrationally long grudges. Neither is healthy.”
11W is right….Cooper deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. But let me be the first to stand up and say that while I recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did, I am not at all prepared to forgive him for the shame and humiliation brought upon us by him.
To this day, I still can’t figure out why we haven’t hired him to be a recruiter for Ohio State, and then put a restraining order on him every Saturday afternoon in the fall to prevent him from showing up at Ohio Stadium.