Some thoughts (and old memories) about making a coaching change

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By Unnamed OSU Nut on 12:23:44 09/14/09

Everybody’s opinion of Tressel took a dip Saturday. Big fans are not quite so big. Lesser fans are having second thoughts. Those in the middle are now critical. Those critical are moreso, and demand change. And many, not just one or two, are looking for a replacement, either now, or very soon.

I’ll stick by Tressel without reservation awhile longer. Yeah, I really hope things will change on offense, but I’m not ready to make it an ultimatum just yet. So many people seem to think we can just dial up a new coach and make things all better. Has our last coach search faded from memory so fast? Has everyone forgotten the comical, slapstick, embarrassing coach searches by Michigan and Notre Dame (twice)? It ain’t easy and it ain’t fun. That’s one large reason to fear that possibility.

And it’s not as if Tressel and his conservative and very guarded ways are terribly unsuccessful. One national championship (understandably this is slowly fading in the rear-view mirror), 2 other championship games, 3 other BCS bowls, and I don’t need to mention the record against Michigan. Then there’s all the other stuff: the way he represents the program, the stellar recruiting, his leadership, the off-field stuff he does for the community – sometimes sounding too good to be true, the way he ‘gets’ Ohio football, and other positives. He is a huge asset.

And what are comparing this to? In the BCS era, no team had repeated until LSU beat us. And no coach had repeated until Meyer did last year. It’s not as if Tressel is the back of the line, doing poorly. Other than Meyer who really is doing well, who has done better? Carroll only has one BCS championship, although he shared another with his AP title. But as good as he is,why does he keep losing crap games that ruin his season after kickass marquee victories? Isn’t that just as bad as our recent woes, only the other side of the coin? Bowden has fallen off the map. Stoops still has the one ring. As does Brown. Saban has not repeated yet while at Alabama. Beamer, Richt, Ferentz (LOL), and Rodriguez haven’t got one. Joe Pa has not won since what, 1989? It’s hard to do. And Tressel has kept us very near that goal, although 5 big failures in the last 2 ½ years are burned into our recent memories, or other possible orifices.

But these losses are not unprecedented. Go back down memory lane. For all the glory of the 1968 super sophs and the national championship, their remaining seasons were ruined by equally (or worse) disasters that ended championship runs: 1969 @ Michigan, arguably the worst loss in OSU history, and then the loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, pretty sad as well.

Then after a down year or two, Woody’s next cycle, the Griffin years, were equally fantastic and at the same time ruined by upsets. Teams in 1973 (possibly his best ever?), 1974 and 1975 were spent mostly at #1, but were ruined by the tie at Michigan, the brutal upset at MSU, and the stunning rematch loss to UCLA. Our current big game losses really suck, but are not a whole lot different than Woody’s big game losses.

And then we continued on through what would become a 34 year championship drought. Bruce’s one great season and a near championship stopped by the tough loss to USC. This was followed by a decade of 9-3 mediocrity, saved only by the frequent win over Michigan.

What can I say about Cooper? Nice guy, but didn’t cut it. Got off to a horrible start, and never beat Michigan. He had that nice run from 1993-1998, with some great teams and super players. But we know what happened. Top 5 potential championship runs were stopped by losses to Michigan in 1993, 1995, and devastatingly in 1996 as we were heavily favored. And Coop’s best team in 1998 also lost in a huge upset, if memory serves.

Tressel has done so much in a relatively short time. The positives not only outweigh the negatives, but annihilate them. I am as pissed off and disappointed as anyone, but knowing how hard it is to get to this level and stay there, how hard it is to find the right coach, how so many other teams besides OSU have suffered unthinkable, bitter defeats, that very few coaches have achieved what Tressel has (not counting YSU), and how long our drought was it seems to me that even suggesting his job should be in some jeopardy at this time or very soon, is very premature and foolhardy and potentially destructive.

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