Which Buckeye Legends Could Help the 2014 Squad?

By Jeff Beck on July 5, 2014 at 10:00a

The 2014 Buckeyes are going to be good. They might even be great. With a number of starters returning on both sides of the ball, the squad will have veteran leadership at key positions, particularly at QB, WR and along the defensive line.

But, that’s not to say the Scarlet and Gray couldn’t use a little help. Luckily, I’ve devised a way to travel back in time (Doc Brown had something with the Flux Capacitor) to pluck a few Buckeye greats out of the Scarlet and Gray Pantheon. With that said, I’ve got to be selective. The DeLorean has just two available seats (the backseat is small…and we’re talking football sized humans here) so I’ve got to choose the two legends whose skill-sets will most help the 2014 team. It was tough, but I’ve made my selections. Here’s who I’m going after. Once I’ve got them in custody, I’ll circle back to present day Columbus and deliver them to the doorstep of the WHAC. No need to thank me Urban, just get them fitted for those new age jerseys the kids are wearing.

Riding Shotgun: Orlando Pace

Ed Warinner’s offensive line must replace four senior starters. That’s a tall-order even for a coach of Warinner’s pedigree. There’s no denying the young-pups are green and would benefit from a leader in their ear on the field. Who better than pancake legend: Orlando Pace?

A coach on the sideline, especially one like Warinner is a valuable commodity, but when you’re in the thick of it during the fourth quarter at East Lansing, you’ll need a player directing things from a boots on the ground level. That player is Pace. I have no doubt his experience and technical skill at the position would elevate the play of the talented young’uns around him.

Pace started in every game for the Buckeyes from 1994-1996 (so he knows a little something about seeing the field early with inexperience). In 1994 he earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. In 1995 he became the first sophomore to win the Lombardi award, then he made college football history again in 1996, becoming the first two-time winner of the trophy.

Pace’s junior season (his last in Columbus) was by far his most impressive. That year he won the aforementioned Lombardi award, the Outland Trophy, the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, the Football News Offensive Player of the Year and finished fourth in the race for the Heisman Trophy (the highest by a lineman since 1973). Pace did it all on the back of the pancake block (pun intended). A move he made famous during his time as a Buckeye.

The Whole Backseat: Jack Tatum

You saw the defensive backfield last season. So there’s no sense in a complete re-hash. They were bad. Probably bad enough to cost Ohio State a shot at the national championship. Many times they looked timid with little-to-no ability to stick a clean tackle. Legendary lumber-layer and all around hungry man, Jack Tatum, simply would not stand for this style of play. That’s why I’m bringing him with me, back to the future.

When you earn the nickname “The Assassin” in a sport where everyone is trying to knock

Tatum's Comin for ya
The Assassin.

someone’s head off, you’re probably doing a lot right. Tatum’s hits would ring in opponents’ ears for weeks as Jack was the personification of Meyer’s 4-6 seconds of relentless effort. His motor ran at full-bore on every play and when he came for you, you were going to end up on the ground (probably with a headache). That’s why Jim Tressel instituted a Jack Tatum Hit of the Week, awarded to the best slobber knocker every Saturday. Tatum is a Buckeye legend and could school the young back-field in the art of intimidation, grit and bad-ass swagger.

Tatum came to the Buckeyes as a running back, but assistant coach, Lou Holtz, convinced Woody Hayes to move Tatum to defensive back during in the middle of his freshman season. From there Tatum’s career blossomed.

As a sophomore in 1968, his breakout game came against Purdue after he was assigned to Boilermaker Heisman Trophy hopeful, Leroy Keyes. The underclassman helped shut Keyes down, as he gained just 19 yards all day. The effort earned the Scarlet and Gray a 13-0 upset of top-ranked Purdue and ultimately jettisoned the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and outright national championship.

Tatum won All-Big-Ten honors that year and added All-American to his portfolio in 1969 and 1970. In his last season in Columbus, Tatum was awarded the national Defensive Player of the Year award and finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting. During Tatum’s tenure the Buckeyes went 27-2, winning two Big Ten and National titles. Not a bad way to spend your college years.

Doran Grant, Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Armani Reeves, Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell, Ron Tanner and Cameron Burrows could all learn a thing or two from Tatum. Inserting him into the 2014 locker-room would instantly infuse a level of hard-nosed play and confidence not seen from the 2013 secondary. Get comfortable in the back seat Jack...uh I mean Mr. Tatum. There’s a little turbulence in the worm hole back to Columbus.

(Highlights below. All in a Raiders uniform, but it does a great job of capturing the essence of Tatum)

Pace and Tatum are my picks for former players that could help the 2014 Buckeyes immediately. Who would you select from the temple of Buckeye legends?


Comments Show All Comments

Dirty330Buckeye's picture
-1 HS
exnwohiobuckfan's picture

First, I don't think there is anyway you could shoe horn Orlando Pace into a DeLorean, and second, Jack Tatum is the ultimate personification, and probably the origin, of the phrase "coming with bad intentions"

+1 HS
aerobuck's picture

Orlando Pace and Shawn Springs.

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Jeff you are dead on.  They would bring physical back to the game.  SMASHING and PANCAKING!

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

+1 HS
CC's picture

O-Pace - The really easy answer.

Spielman - Another easy answer.

+1 HS
Abe Froman's picture

My #1 cover guy is still Malcom Jenkins. Don't forget he started as a freshman and was more than good.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

+4 HS
904buckeye's picture

I want El Guapo back!


+3 HS
Horvath22's picture

Can't argue with those choices, Jeff.

+3 HS
warosu's picture

Same here,couldn't have picked two better players,upvote my good sir

+2 HS
buckeyepastor's picture

Mike Doss, AJ Hawk, Santonio Holmes.   My three big wishes for this year - a safety that has a phenomenal instinct for the ball and making big plays, a linebacker to step up along with Perry and Grant and strike fear in the opposing team, a receiver who just refuses to be covered and has a bad-ass attitude.   Hopeful that McMillan will be that man at LB and Jalin Marshall or James Clark will step up and become a force as a receiver.   I actually feel pretty good about the safety position - just miss watching Doss play.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture


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

chirobuck's picture

We upset top ranked Purdue huh.......my how times have changed


^ best post ever ^

allinosu's picture

Purdue had a back named Leroy Keyes who was a two way player. He said he laughed all through the game the year before when they clobbered us and it was so satisfying to shut him down and beat them. We beat the number 1 and 2 teams that year shutting down the top two players in the Heisman vote. Orlando for sure.

jmoore3309's picture

Pace is a no-brainier.  One of the most dominating players I had the opportunity to watch play.  He is the one player that could instantly elevate his position group to the next level.  For my second, I have to go with my favorite Buckeye, Mike Doss.  Staying for his senior year aside, he was the consummate leader of one of the best OSU defenses ever.  Whether the result of intense film study or instinct, he always seemed to know what the offense was going to do prior to the snap.  

Go Bucks!

theopulas's picture

Pace is the best college linemen of all time...3 all Big Ten,2 Lombardi, and a Outland in 3 years....Tatum presents stabilized any defense he was on....college or pro....simple put, at a time he was the most feared player in sport....


+1 HS
Drgld's picture

Pace and Doss. 

TatumRuled's picture

Tatum's book, "They Call Me Assassin", is still one of the best sports book I ever read. Bonus: He wrote some key insights about Woody - his recruiting techniques, his coaching style and even his faults. Amazon it!

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

+2 HS
southernstatesbuckeye's picture

First of all, Mr. Beck, I must come clean and tell you that my alter ego actually IS from the future. He is known as The Time Traveler and he assures me of a visit soon. But I received aTmail (time-mail) from him last night advising me of your soon-to-be-posted article, and he was amused. He said that in retrospect, you would soon come to the conclusion that this crop of Bucks will have been needing (that's future perfect tense for the grammatically illiterate) no help from former greats...they are destined for greatness all by themselves, and in yet to be had conversations, they will be wished upon far-in-the-future Buckeye squads. So fear not...this year will be a delight to Buckeye fans everywhere!

I like cookies.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

If you had posted this on a forum yesterday it would have been more convincing.  ;-)

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
KINGBUCKEYE419's picture

I'll say Orlando and Chris Gamble

Abe Froman's picture

Taking Gamble for his two-way ability is brilliant.  Teddy Ginn should also be under consideration due to his ability to stretch the field and absolutely destroy special teams.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

Kevbo714's picture


Tom Crean listens to Nickelback...

-2 HS
BuckminsterFullback's picture

Still too soon, for me; gonna need another 5 years before I can look back and laugh at the Bauserman ordeal.

+1 HS
Crumb's picture

5 years and some championships.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

buckeyebfd's picture

and some alcohol

+1 HS
BuckeyeStrong2's picture

in a van, down by the river.


BroJim's picture

That should do it!

I season my simple food with hunger

collards's picture

Jim Parker, Jim Stillwagon, Ike Kelly, Randy Gradishar, Chris speilman, Eddie george, Paul Warfield and Matt Snell

Les Horvath too


+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Best list

Go Bucks!

BeijingBucks's picture

ted gin jr... he of the first step and already at full speed lore returning kicks and punts

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+1 HS
collards's picture

For one play, the greatest buckeye of all time was my former dentist Doug Adams. He leaped high on the goal line and stopped a leaping O.J. Simpson in the Rose Bowl and the good guys won the NC. Doug pushed him back.

It doesn't get any better


+1 HS
BuckeyeStrong2's picture

Reminds me of one Shazier, Ryan returning Montee Ball's TD air mail to sender.



JohnnyKozmo's picture

Pace is a no brainer-there isn't a team in history he wouldn't have helped.  Same with Tatum.

I'd love to see the Big Kat figure out a way to remain a Freshman for eternity.  Man would it be nice to see him run through a couple SEC teams in the Playoffs, mirrored visor and all!!!

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+2 HS
Knarcisi's picture

Spielman and Winfield. I'll take all the help I can on the defensive side of the ball, particularly the back 7. These 2 were simply the best. 

+1 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Jim Parker. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+1 HS
Buckabroad's picture

Jack Tatum = Best.DB.Ever.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

+1 HS
crusher's picture

Pace in a heartbeat. Anyone who has seen him actually play would agree. He didn't just dominate every person that he went against he flat out embarrassed them. I feel privileged to have had the chance to see it live. I've never seen another lineman like him. EZE would have 1500yds if they just ran every play to the left side.

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men

Crumb's picture

How about Chris Gamble and A.J. Hawk (or any of the legendary Buckeye Backers who could stuff the middle). Gamble was freak of nature when it came to endurance. And other than on one play on rainy night in Madison I don't remember him getting burned. If that memory is still too recent bring back Antoine Winfield.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

JohnnyKozmo's picture

That was a big play in Madison too

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

dabuckeyemike's picture

he Got burned A Few Times BY Braylon InA Game Against Ttun

Bellevue Buckeye. the Most Important Play Of The Game Is Punt.

Crumb's picture

That was only cause the defensive front 7 were ineffective that day and that is a whole other story.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Can't argue with any of those two picks, well done Jeff.  The two I would select since I'm a little more offensively minded would be Eddie George and Cris Carter.  Talk about instant offense with those two, man oh man.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

kc_buck's picture

For reasons that go far beyond winning, if I had a time machine I would bring back Tyson Gentry.

+2 HS
Crumb's picture

Any word on how Gentry is doin these days?

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

babbski's picture

No way that Delorean gets to 88 mph with Pace in there. Well, unless Tatum hit it from behind.

+2 HS
seafus26's picture

I'd send that DeLorean back in time with no driver and instruction of how to get it back to us in 2014. That way I could add one player to Pace and Tatum. Who better to drive than the man that led the drive in the '96 Rose Bowl, than Joe Germaine? He could teach reading defenses pre snap, quicken our QBs progression through the routes, teach throwing where the receiver will be before he even cuts, mechanics and absolute accuracy. Joe was accurate in a time that more of the passing was down field and less chances to pad completion percentages with short pre determined passes, shuttles and the allotment of different screens run today.  He's not the legend that Pace and Tatum are, but he could work with our QBs on the areas that were his strengths. Our current QBs strengths need no help from Joe in the areas of their athleticism, speed and elusiveness. I feel with Joe's help defenses couldn't load up for a Braxton power lead or inside zone to a back. They'd have to honor the pass too on 3rd or 4th and short.

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

michbornbuckeye's picture

Big Kat and winfield

I have two favorite college teams
1. The Ohio State
2. And anyone that's playing Michigan

buckeyebfd's picture

Pace, without a doubt.  I still remember a run by Pepe Pierson that went for a long touchdown to the right,  near the goal line Orlando was throwing a block on a cornerback.  It looked like the poor db was about to be enveloped.

Second, Tatum is an excellent choice but I want to go with someone I saw,  best corner cover I've seen in Shawn Springs

gbdawg's picture

You have it right, Tatum was a beast

luckynutz's picture

First of all...two great picks. But Im going to add a name I havent seen yet. David Boston. These receivers could use a lesson in how to get it done. He was as physcially impressive a receiver as Ive ever seen at Ohio State. Big. Fast. Soft hands. And could show the young boys how to handle yourselves when a pack of wolvies surround you. He was the total package.

And on D...it woukd be a quick trip. Id bring back Simon. So he could get that final go at Michigan he was robbed of by injury. I know the D line needs no helpm but its more for him than the team. He deserves that shot.

+1 HS
zacisone's picture

I go back to when I was about 10-11. The days of "Hop" and Bob White. Mr Pace and Mr Tatum are 2 of the top 10 Buckeyes I ever, ever saw.

Go Bucks!


Nutinpa's picture

I agree with the choices....but just for the sake of conversation, I will offer 2 other and much needed selections for the 2014 team on either side of the ball:

1.  Nick Mangold;  the O line needs his skills and moreover, his experience.

2.  James Lil Animal;  While I don't put him in the same category as Spielman and Hawk, this team could really, really use him.