Not Fade Away

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 30, 2012 at 1:00p
63 Comments

It is unnerving as an opposing fan to see a Penn State head coach actually wearing a headset during a football game.

I KNEW EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING!Don't you forget about me. Don't don't don't don't.

Bill O'Brien was intently focused on everything that was happening on Saturday night to his Nittany Lions. He wasn't aimlessly pacing the sideline with his back turned to the action. After plays, he wasn't asking any assistants what had just happened.

Best of all for the Nittany Lions, he wasn't motionlessly "coaching from the box" behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses.

It was O'Brien's eighth game ever as a head coach and there he was, delegating where appropriate, coaching to his strengths and acting the steward for a significantly outgunned football team that is only going to cede strength to opponents like the Buckeyes over the next several years in purgatory.

And still, Penn State's in-game frustrations have been greater over the past dozen seasons than they were Saturday night. 

Long before Jerry Sandusky's name was ripped out of the past and thrust back into the spotlight Joe Paterno was a smoldering shell of his former coaching self, holding Penn State football hostage in a grotesque display of tenure abuse.

He groomed some terrific assistants. He also took the nepotism route with Jay Paterno and retained Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant he never intended to retain until the former QB stumbled unwillingly into job security in the locker room showers over a decade ago.

Even at its high points this century, Penn State had been playing shorthanded football with Paterno cashing in on decades of excellence and cruising into a retirement that he knew never existed. 

O'Brien simply gets to maintain the good parts – the championship foundation and the framework of the program that were expertly constructed by JoePa. Forsaking morality at the expense of image won't happen again. Penn State will emerge from its rehabilitation period primed to compete for conference titles.

On top of that, as long as O'Brien is in State College his program will be well-positioned to attract talent beyond just Pennsylvania kids who grew up dreaming of playing in Beaver Stadium and the handful of others who live a comfortable driving distance from campus.

Penn State is lucky to have him, just as Ohio State is incredibly fortunate to have Urban Meyer.

It must be unnerving as an opposing fan to see an Ohio State head coach refusing to misallocate his resources at the expense of stubborn habits.

Meyer did not concede anything on Saturday night, continually working to get his best players in best position to score points. And they did, ringing up more against a formidable Penn State defense than anyone else has since...the last time it faced Meyer in his last game at Florida.

Best of all for the Buckeyes, once Ohio State was in clock-killing mode it didn't telegraph three Maurice Wells-ish handoffs into guaranteed futility: It dialed up a forward pass to a tight end running a route against a Penn State secondary that had been selling out to stop Braxton Miller all night.

And that decision landed Jake Stoneburner in the end zone holding the football.

It was Meyer's ninth game as Ohio State's head coach and there he was going for the kill, coaching to his strengths and acting the hunter against a significantly outgunned football team that he should only beat more convincingly once his Buckeyes climb out of self-inflicted roster and NCAA purgatory.

I KNEW EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING!A less-plodding way to achieve his greatness.

And still, Ohio State's recent football frustrations have never seemed more distant than they were Saturday night.

Long before Jim Bollman was unwillingly thrust into play calling duties last season, Ohio State's offense was a smoldering shell of what a competently-run offense is supposed to look like, routinely ranking in the 60s, 70s and 90s in the FBS despite being loaded with a grotesque display of NFL talent.

Jim Tressel groomed some terrific coaches. He also took the crony route and retained subpar assistants who since their dismissal from Ohio State have either taken demotions or are no longer coaching, in the FBS or anywhere else.

Even at its high points this century, Ohio State had been playing shorthanded football with players like Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr and Troy Smith being coached down into the 98th-ranked offense during one of their seasons together. 

Its most loaded offenses couldn't breach the top 20 – or get close. Meyer's work-in-progress is currently ranked 45th among FBS offenses. That would rank as one of the very best compared to the previous era. And it's over 60 places higher than last year's catastrophe with largely the same roster.

Meyer simply gets to maintain the good parts – the championship foundation and the framework of the program that were expertly constructed by Tressel. Forsaking basic compliance obligations for the convenience of handling minor issues in-house won't happen again. Ohio State is already emerging from its rehabilitation period primed to dominate the conference for years.

On top of that, as long as Meyer is in Columbus his program will be well-positioned to attract talent beyond just Ohio kids who grew up dreaming of playing in the Horseshoe. 

Ohio State is lucky to have him, just as Penn State is incredibly fortunate to have O'Brien.

Football isn't just about integrity or championships; it's also supposed to be fun. These guys both took over programs that historically can't complain about too much, except maybe that. 

Both men should eventually be able to prove that all of that can be possible. Fortunately for Ohio State, Meyer looks like he might be able to prove it immediately.

63 Comments

Comments

ccollins0325's picture

Well said. Thank you.

Doc's picture

Thanks for reminding us Ramzy that football is supposed to be fun.  Or should I be thanking Urbz?  Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the end results of Jim Tressel's teams, i.e. wins, but getting there was heart muscle destroying.  Tress never let us know he enjoyed coaching either, Meyer wears his emotions on his sleeve.  Making the ride that much more funner.

"Say my name."

Earle's picture

No doubt that Tressel played it closer to the, er, vest, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that he never showed any emotion.  I'll leave it to folks more skilled on the interwebs to find the examples, but I have specific memories of fist-pumping and the like, though I'll admit that they were probably more memorable for their relative scarcity. 
That said, I love that Urban shows his passion on the sideline and pretty much everywhere else, as well.

Italics are for emphasis.

Doc's picture

I remember Tressel showing emotion in the NC game against Miami.  He was very senatorial and his teams took on that persona.  Very calm cool and collected.  I like seeing the coach get fired up and/or happy on the side line.  Coach Meyer after the Purdont game was classic.
Don't get me wrong, I dont want to see a Bo Pelini type cursing or temper tantrum, but showing some emotion is good.

"Say my name."

MediBuck's picture

I agree.
- Kirk Frerentz stoicism: Too little.
- Bo Pelini tantruns: Too much.
THIS: http://i.imgur.com/Ns8ac.gif        Perfect.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

cinserious's picture

Sometimes the emotion Tressel showed was enough to make the average fan sick, like when some backup RB  'ran-up-the-score' on a team by scoring a TD at the end of the game to make it like a two score game. I've never been as embarrased and disgusted by a Buckeye head coach for reacting like that on national TV for scoring!

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

sloopy88's picture

As an emotionally reserved fan I loved Tressel's 'emotionless' reaction shots, as they were always indicating that kind of suppressed fury or cocky calmness that I was feeling myself.  And it was all the more special to see him let loose once in a while.  I'm coming to love Urban's expressiveness but I feel just as heartattacky with him than I ever did with Tressel.

TennesseeJohn's picture

Wow, great article and great insights, Ramzy. There are a lot more connections between the two schools and coaching turnovers than I thought. 
I think we definitely ended up with the better coach, though. 

FormerBuck's picture

Good article, but I completely disagree with your slamming of Paterno the football coach over the past decade or so.  You can hate him all you want for the mess that was uncovered this past year (which I still don't blame him) but you can't argue against his success as a football coach

Doc's picture

Former, you think Paterno was actually coaching the last dozen years?  To me it seemed like the staff was on auto-pilot and just knew the "Joe Paterno Way".  Hell, Joepoo didn't even go on recruiting visits.  That program was on cruise control since the early 90's.

"Say my name."

tennbuckeye19's picture

Joe Pa was past his prime and was only a figurehead @ PSU the last decade. The guy was basically a mascot. A mascot who was able to hold the university hostage and refused to retire. I give Joe Pa little to no credit for any success the team had during that time.

Northbrook's picture

He was good for comic relief.

Northbrook's picture

Relief, get it? Anybody? Oh hell.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Great article.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

bhardy22132's picture

Meyer was exactly what we needed. And BOB is exactly the kind of coach State Penn. needed. If BOB stays with this team they will def. see success down the road but its def. all about making it through the tough times.

JLBNYC's picture

Another well-written and spot-on article; nice job!

Earle's picture

Excellent read.  Two "smoldering shells" in the same article, Ramzy?  Is there some significance to that image that I am missing?

Italics are for emphasis.

hodge's picture

Ramzy, your writing style continues to blow me away.  I love the way that you almost always mirror your opening and closing, leading us in an elliptical route to a new conclusion presented with a previously-mentioned phrase.  
This time, you did it by mirroring an entire article.  Bravo.
Also, props to the title.  Awesome Buddy Holly tune. In fact, it was the last song he ever performed.  Fun fact: this song was the first single ever released by Rush, in 1973.

TBDBITLinWIScantSON's picture

Ha! good one re. Rush. But I will always think of the Dead when I hear the phrase "Not fade away". A good tune, especially since the song does, in fact, fade away....
I prefer to think of Ramsy as a Dead fan....but I dont think I want to know what inspires him when he ttles his articles. Would have to be like the first time I saw Garrison Keillor...

WB

FormerBuck's picture

DOC,
Just curious, but did you play a sport in college?  In no way am I saying that disclaims your opinion, but the fact is alot of players (I'm guessing 80+%) make their college decision based on the coach.  Penn St has not been terrible the past 12 years, and I'm willing to bet almost all of the kids went there because of Joe Paterno.  If you wanna talk "game day" coaching or something like that, of course Paterno wasn't that involved.  But most head coaches aren't that involved in teaching skills or schemes (unless they call plays).  Head coaches are more for recruiting and coordinating the coordinators/position coaches so everyone is on the same page.  If a head coach is very much involved with teaching and/or schemes, that probably means he doesn't trust his assistant coaches at all.

Doc's picture

Former, no I didn't.  And your points are valid.  I would agree that the kids went to PSU to "play" for Paterno.  But, that doesn't mean he wasn't anything more than a figure head.  I think Ramzy was making the point about Paterno being a spectator on game days.  Much like Flounder is up at AACC.
Doesn't each coach have his own style?  Cooper has always been called a coaches coach.  Tressel was a micromanager(your point of not trusting assistants was on full display after his retirement).  Meyer seems to be in the middle.  I guess my point is that Paterno wasn't doing much "coaching" game day or other wise over the last 10-15 years.  Sitting back on his laurels and riding his legacy.  Possibly hurting the over all product on the field.
Former, who did you play for?

"Say my name."

DarthSweaterVest's picture

If a head coach doesn't wear a headset, he doesn't know most of what is going on.  I am looking at you in the past, JoePa and present, Brady the Hutt.

builderofcoalitions's picture

I see what you did there.

Because we couldn't go for three.

FormerBuck's picture

I agree about the spectator appearance, but each coach has a different style.  Some coaches like to be very involved and others don't.  Me personally, I like the coaches that are involved.  I've been a huge fan of Meyer since he was at BG.  I think players assume that fire and passion and know that if they screw up, they hafta answer to the head coach, not just a coordinator. I think that more than anything is why Meyer is taking a larger role with the defense.  If what I was told about last year is true, the players have very little respect for Fickell, therefore may not be "all in" with him.  Now with Meyer holding them accountable, they know what's at stake.   

Doc's picture

I wonder why they had little respect for Fickell?  Unless he was one of the coaches Tressel was protecting, but that makes no sense since Tress didn't step foot in the defensive rooms.  You would have thought they would have fought hard for Luke stepping in when the WHAC was burning.
Not being all in with Urban is not an option, I don't think.

"Say my name."

DarthSweaterVest's picture

If it is indeed true that they had no respect for Fickell, maybe because once he took over it was obvoius he was way over his head and was not ready for the big-time spotlight?

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I love having a coach that actually takes the kill shot over and over until it is officially over and the opponent is lying dead on the ground!  I will always love Tressel but MAN did he drive me crazy when he took the foot off the pedal waaaaaaayyyyy too early.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

OSUBias's picture

Ramzy, did you write that with an actual pen and paper and carrier pigeon it to someone outside the storm zone to post to the interwebs? Last I heard was of you drinking bourbon in the power outage, missing one weeping willow that blew away. Hope you are well.
That goes to all in the danger zone. Stay safe.

Shitter's full

Boxley's picture

All I can say is we are 9 - 0 and easily will make 10 - 0.  (Anti-jinx formulae liberally applied here.) Mea culpa, mea culpa. Illinois should be a good game for the young-uns to see some game time.
Wisconsin concerns me only because it is in their house and they just lost their first  home game in years, so they will be cranked up. But we definitely have the superior talent.
PSU crowd noise was a factor early, but disappeared as soon as we hit the first TD. Wisky will be nearly as loud, but now braxton and the O-line have experienced PSU's game noise so Wisky shoulf not be a problem.
I start to drool just in anticipation of the Meatchicken game. Cannot wait to see the hitting, on their QB/'s, and the look on their fan faces.
Seriously did anyone else get a big smile on their face when the PSU fans were panned on the camera during the second half, yummy........

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

BuckeyeSouth's picture

Of the 3 remaining games Wisky also concerns me the most but that's tempered a bit due to the loss of Stave for the balance of the season.  Also, the thought of UFM finally getting a chance to put Bielema in his place over the whole recruiting fiasco has me anxious to get through the next 2 weeks.

Embrace it.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Tressel's cronyism was frustrating.  Loyalty to friends is an outstanding quality that we all want - but when it crosses into the business/professional arena some guys have a difficult time separating loyalty to friends and the need to take care of business.  Urban doesn't strike me as the type man that will have a problem with this.

Bucksfan's picture

Tressel's teams were very frustrating.  But, it was really an interesting exercise in how you can win just as many games as USC from year to year, but come nowhere near the kind of stats they'd put up.  I mean, how would you have felt if you had a team stacked with the kind of players they had only to drop a random game to Stanford or Oregon State for no damn reason?
The cronyism was absurd.  Ohio State used to be a place where you'd go if you wanted to hire a head coach or a coordinator.  The list of powerful, quality coaches that got their start at Ohio State is unparalleled.  Because of the Tressel decade, that pipeline has almost completely dried up (obviously you have an exception in Hazel).  We usually take a lot of pride when we see a coach like Saban, or Meyer, or Holtz, or Carroll and go, "You know where he was trained?  Ohio State."  Once some of these guys retire, there will probably be a lull.
We're probably going to get spoiled by the Meyer-Miller combo, and there will come a season in the next few years where it looks like the kids aren't buying in.  Hopefully we don't lose our damn minds.

bodast67's picture

@BUCKSFAN
Hate him or love him, but don't forget Dantonio

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Earle's picture

I don't know, I think Dantonio has turned out to be a decent HC, and its too soon to write off Fickell, who literally took one for the team last year.  Mel Tucker has had some success in the NFL.  I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. 
We'll all agree that the Walrus was a waste of space, but I don't think the Tressel tree is completely devoid of fruit.

Italics are for emphasis.

Bucksfan's picture

True guys, Dantonio was part of the Tressel coaching tree.  But, he was a grad asst. at Ohio State under Earle.  So...yes and no.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Fickell has a lifetime exemption in my mind!!!  There are few individuals that respresent the university any better than he does!  He is a fantastic energy in the locker room, he is a complete ambassador, of high character, and is a demon on the recruiting trail.  As you stated, Fickell took a big big bullet for the university and I would hate to see him go anywhere else but OSU!  He gained great knowledge under Tressel and you know full well he is a sponge right now learning from another great great coach! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Northbrook's picture

I was and am a big fan of Tress the man but I hated TresselBall.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Amazing to think of the similarities pointed out in this article between the Ohio State program and the Penn State program.  However, I still think these programs are still greatly different.  You're definitely right about Paterno holding that program hostage for so long.  However, there's the big difference - Paterno trusted his assistants, whereas Tressel had his assistants, but a lot of times covered up for them - particularly on the offensive side - looking at you, Bollman.  I think Urban wants to trust his assistants, but at the same time is ready to step in to help if the assistant's particular area isn't performing up to par - hence the involvement now with the defense. 

Class of 2010.

RBuck's picture

I have abslutely no pity for Penn State University, their athletic department and their insufferable fanbase. However, I do kind of feel sorry for Bill O'Brien.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

BrewstersMillions's picture

He certainly took a big bite out of a crap sandwich taking this job but its pretty much win win for him. He just has to stay for 4 years and not even win that much and PSU fans will have him on a pedestal almost as tall as the one they still prop Joe upon.
 

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Ethos's picture

Agreed, Bill stepped into a firestorm.  He had a lot of balls to do that in my opinion whether or not the program is prestigious.  He had no idea what was going to happen (kudos on the automatic contract extension) but he went in anyways.  That kind of loyalty and guts are what that team is going to need over the next 4-5 years.  I don't think it will take that long for them to turn around, but the next 2 years they will pretty much be non-existent.  If he turns them around sooner then that, well, Meyer will get snubbed coach of the year each time Bob pulls them up.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

45OH4IO's picture

How are the "Moment With Jim Tressel" pieces going? Are they about quilting and making flavored teas or are they actually decent? I haven't seen any posted since the first one, so I'm assuming they are mostly vanilla, like his favorite ice cream flavor.

SaintTressel's picture

Does anyone have a comparision of assistant coaches salaries from Tressel's last year vs. Urban's first year?
I suspect they might provide a solid alibi for the cronyism charges brought against JPT. 
 
Edit: Forgot to add, great read!

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

You mean to tell me Siciliano brews a meaner cup of coffee than does teaching QB's how to throw a spiral?  Naaaaaahhhhhhh...

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

45OH4IO's picture

I'm glad that Ramzy didn't use a "Weekend At Bernie's" reference when he was describing JoePa's last few years (or decades?) of futility on the sidelines.

bedheadjc's picture

"and retained Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant he never intended to retain until the former QB stumbled unwillingly into job security in the locker room showers over a decade ago."
Ramszy-- Is this pure conjecture on your part or did I miss where a "silence for job" transaction was detailed? I can see how this could have been exactly what happened...but did it? Did I miss this allegation in the Freeh report or something similar?
Excellent as usual, sir.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

McQueary testified that when he went to Paterno's house in the evening to tell him about what he witnessed in the locker room that Paterno said that he had no job for him. Joe thought that he had come over to petition to be kept on permanently following the end of his graduate assistant work. He had gone over there after talking with his father to tell him about what he witnessed between Sandusky and victim #2 (?) Next thing you know McQueary  is permanently kept on the staff even though Paterno had better, more qualified candidates lined up.

scrappled's picture

That's filling in the blanks to a moderate extent.  Unless McQueary explicitly testifies to that sort of deal, I'm not sure we'll ever really know.  It certainly doesn't look good, for sure.

brylee's picture

^^^^nice write up^^^^

Brutus's picture

I know the point of this article was not to draw a line in the sand and have us pick between JT and Meyer.  Nevertheless, it got me thinking about this exact thing.  For all his flaws and frustrating tendencies, I think I still wish we had JT. Get back to me after we win a few national championships and maybe I'll be singing a different tune.

Goose's picture

I had no problem with JT as coach or his style of play.  I would even go so far to say that I thought JT's style of leadership was effective for the program from an individual standpoint.  However, given a choice between JT and his staff vs. UFM and his staff, the choice is clearly Meyer. 
The biggest complaint that I had with JT was his insistence on holding on to clearly incompetent assistant coaches and watching talent never be used to its fullest potential.  It disgusts me to remember how long Bollman was here when he was almost negligently incompetent.

Poison nuts's picture

Wonderful! And you're spot on - both schools are incredibly fortunate to have their respective coaches, however only one of the schools former coaches left any sort of fortune behind.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

What the Fickell's picture

I just hope Urban can dominate Michigan the way Tress did.
 

Brady Hoke wears scarlet undies.

scrappled's picture

As my former BSD co-admin Kevin pointed out on a BHGP podcast back when the PSU sanctions came down, we've been wondering for a decade what Penn State football could be like if we had a hustling coach with a modern view of the game.  Now we have that, but we're basically going to be competing with Purdue-level talent for a few years.  It'll be enough to have a puncher's chance in most conference games, but pretty damn difficult to compete with the athletes at Ohio State and Michigan for the near future. 
We like BOB.  Ohio State played their asses off on Saturday night, and we needed to be better.  I really thought Braxton would be hungover from his injury, but yeah, not so much.  Way too much doom and gloom from the PSU fanbase over one loss to an undefeated team.

gwalther's picture

I think throwing out the 2004 offense w Ginn, Holmes, and Smith, when they were still young and learning the system and how to play college football, is kind of BS.

Class of 2008

onetwentyeight's picture

THIS unit is young and learning an entirely new system as well, and look at the points that are being put up on the scoreboard? I don't think you could honestly say we have more offensive raw talent this year than in 2004. And yet, even if you go back and look at the box scores from the 2006 season (aka the Greatest Tressel Offense Ever) we didn't even score 40+ more than 2x I believe. 

gwalther's picture

"THIS unit is young and learning an entirely new system as well, and look at the points that are being put up on the scoreboard?"
Wow man, that transition from 2011 to 2012, with largely the same group of players on offense, is a lot like the jump we saw from the 2004 to 2005 Buckeyes teams, also with largely the same players on offense.
On the 2012 team we have a quarterback who started the second half of last season. A QB who is pretty darn good as well. That, and most of the offensive players are the same. Pretty  similar to the 2005 Buckeye team, that played at a far higher offensive level than the 2004 team, and was based around the same offensive weapons, and a QB who emerged to be the starter the second half of the previous year (Troy Smith in 2004).
In 2004, Justin Zwick started the season, then he and Troy split time. This helped lead to absymal offensive numbers, similar to what we saw in 2011. Like in 2011, we were replacing a multi-year starter who had a ton of success at QB (Krenzel instead of Pryor), and we didn't quite figure it all out until the following year. And like this year's team, most of the offensive talent was the same.
The 2004 team should be compared versus the 2011 team. 2005 versus 2012 (and Troy didn't get to start until game 3 that season, hurting the 2005 offensive statistics).

Class of 2008

onetwentyeight's picture

Not gonna downvote just b/c I disagree, but again, I respectfully dissent. 

Last year's team had to adopt an entirely new offensive system with all-new offensive coaches for this season. We are essentially in "Year 1" of this group of guys learning this offense, much like any of tressel's freshman classes would've been. The difference between comparing 2004 to 2011 and 2005 to 2012 is that there was continuity in the staff, playbook, and coaching infrastructure from one year to the next for the 04-05 units versus the 11-12 one. That MATTERS. That's the reason many ppl around here didn't think we'd be 9-0 right now. Adjustment times and the consequences of switching to a new system/coach are real and it's a testament to Urban and these guys that we're 9-0 in spite of that. 
 
Also, last year is really a "wash" year as far as I'm concerned for the offensive guys. Don't tell me the BOLLRUS & CO. did any sort of real "coaching". C'mon. Maybe NEGATIVE coaching. 

gwalther's picture

I upvoted this to even it out, but still disagree.
Finding a new starter at QB, regardless of there being some continuity in the coaching staff, always has it's problems. That, as you say, MATTERS.
 
It took time for Tressel's staff to figure out who should be the starter, and I don't think you can knock them for that. The offense I saw in the last 5-6 games the 2004 season was pretty darn solid. That happened to coincide with Smith's emergence. And the next two years, when Smith was starting, the offense was pretty damn fun to watch. It would've been even higher ranked in 05 if Smith wasn't absent for the first 1.5 games (splitting time in Texas), and getting re-acquainted with being the man for a couple games after that.
 
The end of the 2005 season, with our lowest scoring output over the final 7 games of the season being 25 points in a win at Michigan, and the 2006 team, were offensive juggernauts.
Not sure why Tressel gets knocked for calling games conservatively when he didn't fully trust his QB. He still got us wins against Michigan, Big Ten Titles, and 5 BCS Wins in 8 BCS games.
2007 Boeckman - I would've called games conservatively.
2008 Frosh Pryor - I would've called games conservatively.
2009 Soph Pryor w Purdue Harbor - I wouldve called games conservatively. (Won Rose Bowl with a great game plan.)
2010 Junior Pryor - Started to open it up more as trust in Pryor increased. (Won Sugar Bowl).
 
I think crappy offensive stats in 3 of the 4 above years is completely justified.
Other coaches may have called games more aggresively...then probably ended the season with 2 additional losses the direct result of turnovers.
 
The sustained success from 2005-2010 is incredible. We had to suffer through some conservative play calling, rather than a true rebuilding year. I'll take that tradeoff.
 
I wish more Buckeye fans would realize that's what the trade-off was, and be cool with it.

Class of 2008

onetwentyeight's picture

Obrien's going to bail before their probation period is up. Now, before I get attacked, I'm sure he's a good man with decent character and loyalty, etc. But don't forget he's an NFL Lifer. If he does a bang-up enough job at PSU then it won't just be cushier college gigs that begin to come calling, many desperate NFL teams will as well b/c of his past background and (assuming he does have) success at PSU despite the obstacles. After this class of kids is gone, what's really holding him there for another few years playing for really, nothing, working his ass off with an inherent disadvantage (and being beaten to a pulp by UFMeyer year in and year out, on and off the field)? Every person has their price and if the right NFL team comes calling he will leave - we all would. He's not a member of the JoePa cult, not a lifer from State College. He's going to make the superior business decision for his career down the line, and it won't be staying at PSU. They look decent now but this is the high point, when they still have enough infrastructure and talent left over to scrape together a decent season. It's all downhill from here now, and BOB, if he's not a chump, will bail once things get way too tough. It's not his mess to deal with. 

scrappled's picture

It's possible that he bails, but he now has a nine-year contract at PSU due to a clause in his contract that gave him additional years in case of sanctions.  So that's nine years at whatever multi-million dollar salary he's making.  It's the most job security he'll ever have.

45has2's picture

Good insight. Another coach that really paralleled JoPoo was Bobby Bo @ Free Shoes University. His claim to fame was high flying, high risk/reward never take your foot off the gas football. During his last decade in Tally he took off the headset and wandered the sideline looking for chicken wings. His teams started to play not to lose instead of playing to win. And his post game pressers were distilled down to "Dadgum it, we got to do better at blockin' and tacklin'." In the end, the garnet and gold zombie won out and gobbled up all of JP's vacated victories.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

osubuckeye4life's picture

Great article Ramzy!
Interesting parrells betwen OSU and PSU presented. 
I just don't see BoB staying. He'll probably get a HC job in the NFL in a few years.
If he does stay and keeps the ship afloat then he deserves all the credit in the world.