As a man married-in to Steelers fandom it pains me to say this: I've just been convinced the Browns should make a play for one of my favorite coaches in football history. Ted Glover makes a solid case for why the Brownies should hire The Vest to fix their woeful operation. Among the highlights:
Jim Tressel is the father, advocate, and architect of 'Tresselball', a strategy that roughly equates to an anaconda smothering their prey – it looks kind of harmless, seems rather boring, but when it's over, you have a full belly and you've literally crushed your opponent. The key components of 'Tresselball' are:
1. Conservative (in one sense) offense: Ohio State's offense under Jim Tressel generally wasn't too flashy, never was in the top 20 or 30 offenses in the country, but they were effective – a punishing running game (Mo C, NOT Lydell Ross, Antonio Pittman, Beanie, Boom Herron), a passing offense that was geared towards moving the chains but had a deceptively explosive component, and a quarterback that was asked to generally not lose the game rather than go out and win it (except Troy Smith in 2005 and '06, and maybe Terrelle Pryor for part of 2010). But they had a roster of playmakers that had a serious big play capability, usually from more than one position.2. A stifling defense: The trademark of Jim Tressel's teams were a stifling defense. The 'Silver Bullets', as they became known as under JT, were a fast, well disciplined, solid tackling unit that was as fundamentally sound as any in college football. The linebackers were generally the strong suit of the unit and the most well known players, but there was talent from defensive tackle to safety, and it went two deep at almost every position. Their characteristics were aggression, toughness, not giving up long drives, and forcing the offense to make turnovers.
3. Say it with me kids: The punt is the most important play in football: This is a two parter here – special teams and field position. Jim Tressel believes in a strong special teams unit, and Ohio State always had stellar special teams play while he was coach. Whether it was kicking, punting, field goals, or coverage, they rarely gave up a big play, field goal kickers were accurate, and punters did a good job of flipping field position...which is the second part of this. Tressel was never afraid to punt the ball, put the offense on a long field, and make them try to drive the field against his stout defense. He was right a lot more often than he was wrong, and invariably, the Buckeyes would win the field position battle thanks to good special teams, the defense would stop the offense, and then the offense would take advantage of the field position flip, take a lead, and make the opponent play from behind.Yeah, sometimes boring. Rarely exciting. But it's been a winning formula in the game of football for 100 years, and it's hard to argue the results Tressel had on the field.
Glover goes on to explain how the Tao of Tressel fits into the current Brownies situation, and again makes a convincing argument that there could be a bit of hand and glove fit. The obvious weakness to the entire argument, of course, is that it's probably largely academic: I don't think anyone here believes in their heart of hearts that Jim Tressel wants to be a professional football coach. He just seems geared toward the college game, specifically the teaching and cultivation of young men into solid citizens and good all-around people. No one really cares about that sort of thing at the next level.
Here's the argument I would add that doesn't get much play: Jim Tressel may be the perfect man to pick up the mantle of Paul Brown. Think about it... National Title-winning coach of the Buckeyes who left under unusual circumstances, helps found the Browns and wins a heckuva lot of football games. Hell Tressel may be the tonic the Browns need to erase the Modell curse and get the program back into some semblence of relevance.
Oh Lord, please don't let the Browns woo Jim Tressel... It'll make Sundays too painful in my house. I couldn't root against him, and my wife sure as shootin' won't let me root for them!