First posted at Inside The Shoe by Brady
These must be strange times for former Ohio St. head coach Jim Tressel. Strange times indeed. For the past decade, the first game week of the season was filled with countless interviews, press conferences, depth chart squabbles and meetings with his coaching staff. Today, Jim Tressel is watching from the sideline not able to immerse himself in the game and players that he loves. Luke Fickell will lead the scarlet and gray out of the tunnel this Saturday and a new era of Buckeye football will begin in earnest. Even though our new coach deserves our utmost attention this fall, many will let their mind wander to the embattled figure that was forced out the door over the summer.
I won’t beat a dead horse. Tressel lied to the NCAA. There is no doubt about it. The university was forced to be proactive, in the hopes that further sanctions wouldn’t be levied against OSU. I understand the move to force Tressel to resign. It was a last ditch effort to soften the upcoming blow looming on the horizon. Assuming that the NCAA doesn’t give the “show clause” penalty to a future employer looking to give the coach another shot, there is no doubt in my mind he will be patrolling the sidelines once again. In fact there should be a long line of potential suitors looking to upgrade their football program. Many have hypothesized that JT might be interested in an assistant coaching position in the NFL or a desk job in the front office. I just can’t picture him anywhere else other than on a college sideline though.
JT has never really shown any interest in moving up to the next level. There have been rumors in the past of the Cleveland Browns and others sniffing around to determine if there was any interest but I never got the feeling that he would seriously consider a move to the pay-for-play league. If a trip to the NFL is out of the picture than that obviously leaves a return to the college ranks. There are so many reasons other schools would covet our former coach.
Ten years ago, JT turned a struggling Buckeye squad into a perennial power with a national title, two other trips to the big game and numerous BCS bowl game appearances. Tresselball, as it would come to be known, incorporated field position and a dominant defense into the game plan to essentially suffocate opponents into submission. It wasn't always the sexiest way to win games but you can’t argue with the results. Along with the success on the field, Tressel was also a monster in the recruiting game.
He built a fence around one of the most talent rich states in the nation for high school football and made it hard for in-state stars to turn down the powerhouse in their backyard. He also made great strides into the south to coax talent away from the SEC and bring them up north. All of these positive traits should be more than enough to outweigh the one black stain on his resume. I am looking forward to this season more in some ways than I have others in the past decade.
With Tressel you knew that 10 wins was almost a guarantee and a trip to a January bowl was well within reach each year. This season, the Buckeyes get to play the underdog with a young and exciting coach behind the controls. There is something intriguing about the unknown. I am excited to see the younger guys get a chance to show what they can do and take their first step to becoming the next super stars on the banks of the Olentangy.
That being said, it is going to be a little sad not seeing our sweater-vested coach with the silver hair patrolling the sideline this Saturday. It will be an odd feeling for sure but I have no doubt that Tressel’s coaching journey hasn't reached its' end. I will wait with great anticipation as to where he may end up in the future. I may even have another team to pull for when that happens… well unless it’s against the Buckeyes. I don’t love him that much!