Never ceases to amaze me.

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By Tom Green on 13:21:50 10/11/02

I have no problem with people questioning plays or coaching decisions or philosophies.

What amazes me is how many people think coaching is as simple as deciding to run a different play, at a given point. As if the coaches who have studied and developed their skills over decades have never considered fooling the defense by throwing long on 4th and inches. It never occurs to the O-Zone forum braintrust that the coaches are spending 100 hours-a-week at the office, to figure out how to best develop the talent we have and what will work best against the upcoming opponent.

If all of the Reds would always swing for the fences, they'd hit more homeruns. If we'd let Darby shoot the three every time down the court, we'd score more and win.

Coaching football .... scratch that .... WINNING at football is so much more than calling for more passes to the tight end or some other single suggestion, yet so many indict our staff, based on some isolated aspect of the game. And many don't even notice when a problem goes away! Witness the recent continued mewling about passing to backs and TEs. Never mind that TEs and RBs have caught a third of all of our completed passes, this season (32%). It's the same with our designated "goats". Criticism is one thing, but when I read where a poster says he can't see a bit of improvement in Donnie Nickey over his career, I say the that's so pitiful he ought to be banished ....... no, not Donnie.

Other critics, with slightly more football savvy, simply go silent about the improvements (it would be too much to ask for credit where credit's due.) They simply move on to the next thing that they don't see happening. Screen passes. Screen passes. Screen passes. Oh wait, they've run a few screen passes. Slants. Slants. Slants. Isn't that a slant they just ran? Bubble screens. Bubble screens. Bubble screens. It goes on and on. I've got a secret for ya. There are enough available plays that you can ALWAYS find a few that we didn't run. There aren't enough snaps in the game to run one of everything.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that there are a few fans on this board (please do NOT name names, as this should NOT be turned into personal bashing) who would be ambivalent if we were to make it to the NC game. (If we were to actually WIN the NC, I believe all Buckeyes would rejoice, though some would still have reservations.) Our success is bittersweet for some. If we win, without implementing a more wide-open offense, it gnaws at the souls of some of our number. Watch who disappears after a win. For them, the ignominy of being wrong is much more important than a win.

Despite the constant exaggeration leveled, that I (and others) believe the coaches can do no wrong, that's far from the truth, and is most often simply an attack meant to discredit the poster, absent the ability to rebut the logic of the arguments presented. I believe the coaches are imperfect humans, but experientially and knowledgeably far superior our collection of burger flippers, street sweepers and parking lot attendants. I wouldn't trust your second-guessing my brain surgeon, airline pilot or nuclear engineer, and I'll similarly defer to the coaches who have studied the game for decades. Does this mean I'll never question? Of course not (though I'll bet that, within a week if not within this thread, I'll be accused of exactly that.) It simply means that I'll put my considerable arrogance in check, and while continuing to wonder if mine wasn't the better call, suppress my outcry of "STUPID CALL!! YER GONNA LOSE GAMES FOR US, LIKE THAT!!"

I've been fortunate enough to have witnessed the most outrageous of behaviors. It reminds me to keep mine in check. I'll never forget the loudmouth who denigrated Cooper with virtually every breath, during the 95 Notre Dame game. Afer Eddie plunged into the line for a miniscule gain, he stood up among the seated fans, opened wide his arms and bellowed, "COOPER, YOU IDIOT!! THROW THE BALL!!" On the next play, the ball was again handed to Eddie and he broke off a long gain. After the crowd settled back into their seats, I stood up among the seated fans, opened wide my arms and bellowed, "COOPER, YOU IDIOT!! THROW THE BALL!!" Our whole section, with the exception of that one guy, and my embarrassed wife, roared with scornful laughter.

Again, during THE GAME-2000, I sat in front of a couple of football geniuses. After LITERALLY every Ohio State offensive play that didn't work especially well, they second-guessed the coaching. If a run didn't work, one of them would say something like, "The defense is playing tight. I would've thrown long." After every incomplete pass it would be, "Why aren't we jamming the ball down michigan's throat?" Every clear execution error was a bad personnel decision by the coaches. Every successful weasel play was the result of being in the wrong set, poor recruiting and/or having the wrong people in the game. When I turned to see where this hindsighted omniscience was coming from, I saw a couple of scrawny, barely-20 geek-types, obviously expressing the wisdom of many weeks of intensive on-the-field training on Nintendo "YouAreTheCoach 2000".

I've sat with people who criticized every play, then sat silently when the sports bar erupted, after a spectacular score. I've seen these guys angrily stalk off before the game ended, when victory became apparent.

I've heard a womans scream, "COOPER, YOU IDIOT!!!" when Dan Stultz missed a chip-shot field goal. When I asked her what Cooper should've done differently, her replay was, "I don't know. I just hate Cooper."

I realize too, that some personality types know of no other way to deal with life than to complain about it. That's a pity, but they need to show some restraint about visiting it upon others. It doesn't make one look like a better fan (for demanding more). It makes them look petty and mean-spirited and it often makes them look like they're masking a shallow understanding of the game. IOW, it serves them poorly.

Bottom line: There are many ways to win. While I don't agree with some of the choices made, I'm willing to concede the official decision-making to the coaches and continue to cheer and enjoy the game. Those of you who can't enjoy the game, shouldn't watch. It doesn't benefit you, it doesn't benefit the team, and it certainly doesn't benefit us, to hear you constantly b####.

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