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
One thing is for sure when you take over as the head coach at THE Ohio State University, you better know what it means to be an Ohio person. A lot of people believe Coach John Cooper got the top post at Ohio State back in 1988 simply because he beat TTUN in the Rose Bowl the year before while at Arizona State. Truth is he really probably got the job because of his history as a head coach and as a person.
John Cooper grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee in the 1940’s and 50’s. He went into the U.S. Army right out of high school for two years before playing college ball at Iowa State. People then knew he was going to have a special talent for coaching with his abilities on the field that eventually led to him being team MVP and captain his senior year. He stayed on as an assistant coach with the Cyclones before taking a similar position with Oregon State. He made stops at UCLA, Kansas, and Kentucky before landing his first head coaching position at Tulsa in 1977.
His first season with the Golden Hurricane was 3-8 but they became pretty good after that winning five straight Missouri Valley Conference titles. Tulsa was in and out of the MVC for a year and when they returned Coach Cooper had them loaded. He began to put together a system for how he would recruit players and used it to bolster his resume. In the Top 25 ranked season of 1982, Cooper and the Golden Hurricanes went 10-1 and their only loss on the season was to Arkansas. This same year that SMU had the Pony Express, Coach Cooper had himself two 1,000 rushers in Michael Gunter and Ken Lacy and was called the Palomino Express. Despite its ranking and great season Tulsa wasn’t invited to a bowl game. Coach Cooper had the makings of a top-notch coach and was hired to take over at Arizona State in 1985. Read More
In our continuing look at the Ohio State coaching search, we go far afield and look at a guy who isn’t getting a lot of love for the spot.
Many, many names have been mentioned in the context of the Ohio State head coaching search. Some have made some sense (Fickell, Hazell, Dantonio, Pelini) and some not so much (Meyer, Saban, etc.) We will get to them all shortly.
One guy that may not have entered your radar yet is Lovie Smith, current Head Coach of the Chicago Bears. I’ll wait while you stop laughing.
Any minute now…
Smith started his collegiate football experience playing Linebacker and Safety for the University of Tulsa in the late 70’s. You might recall that the head coach of the Golden Hurricanes at that time was one John Cooper. Yes, that John Cooper.
Rather than playing in the pros, Lovie went straight into coaching and took over the Defensive Coordinator position of his former High School – Big Sandy. After a few years at the High School level, Lovie secured a job with his former coach at Tulsa, staying there once Cooper left to take the top spot at Arizona State.
As promised, here is a look at various ten year periods of Ohio State football.
I threw this one in mostly for fun and cheated by including 2002. Even with that, this ten year period is behind in all categories… but not by much.
The record against Michigan and in bowl games, as well as a lack of Big Ten championships, is what really brings this decade down a notch. Read More
Just think about it….one week from today we will be basking in the goodness that is The. Ohio. State. University. Football. Team.
Day #7 is brought to you by the letter “G”.
Ginn, Ted Jr.
That’s a lot of guys wearing number 7 that played for Ohio State whose names started with the letter “G”.
And we didn’t even include 1980′s-era player Denman Gordon…..
Two players with those matching characteristics would be a mere coincidence.
Three players is strange.
Four players makes it interesting.
Five players makes it scary.
Six players proves the theory…….God is a Buckeye and he wears #7.
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!!!
In 1989, I gathered with my best friend and his extended family to watch Ohio State play in the Hall Of Fame Bowl against Auburn. Bob and I had been friends for about four years, and we were inseparable when it came to Ohio state games.
The Buckeyes had a rough season, getting spanked three times by USC, Illinois, and since John Cooper was the head coach, Michigan. In between they had managed to put together a six-game win streak and their 8-3 record was enough to get them into a coveted New Year’s Day bowl game (at the time, bowl games didn’t stretch into the second week of January).
Facing a better Auburn squad, we had high hopes but low expectations (which were accurate, as we lost 31-14), but midway into the second quarter we saw the hardest hit anyone will ever witness in college football.
On third and short, Auburn dropped back to pass. Decent coverage forced the QB to go to his third option, which was RB Stacy Danley. Danley had drifted off to the right side for a dump-off pass, and the pass was lobbed his way.
He was standing on the train tracks and he never saw Engine #21 coming at him at breakneck speed.
There isn’t a man, woman or child alive who doesn’t let out a yell the first time they see this clip of Zach Dumas smacking Danley to the ground. Admit it, you just said “oooohhhhhhhh” when you watched it, didn’t you?
Zach Dumas, that one hit has forever earned you a place in history. Today, you’re our hero for Day #21.
21 days until kickoff, Buckeye fans!
Back in the late 1960s, Michigan picked up a new head coach, some guy by the name of Schembechler. His coaching style irritated a lot of the people at Michigan. He worked his kids like dogs. Players left the team in droves.
But Bo had a method to his madness. He was going to whip these players into men. In the locker room, he erected a sign that proudly read “Those who stay will be champions”.
And then he went out and made those men into champions. Bo Schembechler was the greatest coach Michigan football has ever known, and probably ever will know. Those players who left the team became nothing more than a motto for his newer players, and he used their weakness to make the rest of the team stronger.
It was brilliance and it drove Woody Hayes insane.
Fast-forward to today.
Michigan just lost two more players to transfer, LB Marell Evans and DL Vince Helmuth have both announced their intent to transfer and will no longer be with the team.
How many players have now transferred out of Michigan since Rich Rodriquez took over as head coach? 10? 20? Seriously, does anybody know? And does Justin Feagin count, since he was only kicked off the team for selling cocaine to UM students?
The second season of RichRod hasn’t even begun yet, and Michigan fans are touting their fourth “star quarterback” of his era (five if you count Ryan Mallett). Every position has been hit by transfer and dismissal, and very few positive things have been said by the outgoing players.
The point is that these kids are not being worked to death by a great coach like Bo. These kids are simply not being given what they thought they were getting when they signed on at Michigan.
Rich Rodriquez is no Bo Schembechler, and the evidence of that keeps piling up.
Yes, Michigan has a weak schedule this year. Yes, they will likely win more than the 3 that they won last year. Yes, they will get better.
But if anybody thinks that the mass exodus that we are seeing now resembles the 1969 Michigan team, you’re sadly sadly mistaken. Clinging to the “but RichRod had a history of awesome second seasons” is not going to cut it.
His players know it, and you know it. The rest of the college football world knows it too.
But for some reason, the Michigan fans refuse to see the writing on the wall. By the time Jim Tressel has won 8 in a row against Michigan, they might be angry enough to see it too. Let’s hope they cling to Rodriquez as long as we clung to John Cooper.