This is sure to spark some responsible and level headed discussion.
Coop was sneaky-fast, with great anticipation.
Coaches son. Blue collar hard hat mentality. Always brought his lunch pail to work.
Great content, click bait title.
Send the Earth Reverberating
As a freshman in 1988, I can agree that OSU had very little talent. One of the reasons why Bruce was canned was the slippage in on field performance. C. Carter’s suspension certainly hurt (loss of route running and hands, not speed) but I could see the poor product on the field every week. Many players (black and white) looked like MAC level talent. Some of it may have been coaching but straight line speed was mediocre. To his credit, Copper made inroads on the recruiting/talent gap; however, as we all know, he couldn’t get over the big game/ttun mental block, even with increased talent (speed).
Earle had alienated the Ohio high school coaches. It really hurt his talent acquisition.
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He was a Buckeye, through-and-through, but he was never a blue blood level coach.
I definitely can attest to that. At that time it seemed we were in a dog fight for every top Ohio highschool player every year until Coop was fired.
You are so correct. Cooper told the truth and people didn't want to hear it. The team was weak and slow, it had fallen to the lowest point in all the years I watched them. He got off on the wrong foot by saying things like that...he talked funny, was from the south, instantly people didn't like him. In actuality, it was amazing the job he did recruiting considering the amount of support he received from the media and fans. Of course, losing to our biggest rival is what done him in.
I would put him right up there with Urban Meyer when it came to recruiting. Earl Bruce was by far the worst and like another poster said he was a true Buckeye but totally out of his league at OSU.
This story demonstrates what is wrong with us as a society today.. I grew up in a racially mixed neighborhood. Amongst ourselves, we joked all the time about things like that. We made fun of some of those preconceived notions. (White men cant jump). I WAS a slow white kid. There is no way in today’s world, Cooper could have survived that comment.
I was at that Pitt game with my wife. I’ve never seen tOSU so physically outmatched like they were that day. It was brutal.
One of the great things about college football is the iconic stadiums. Old Pitt Stadium was cool. It was a bowl and the front row was high enough that you could see over the benches. We were in the front row for that game and ESPN zoomed in on my wife and I when we finally had a good play. My kids always wanted to watch the tape of that game so they could see Mommy and Daddy on TV. We got so we just left that tape set to that moment .
Cardiac Hill was a pretty steep hike to get to that stadium.
I've seen the Bucks play at all the Big Ten stadiums aside from Rutgers and MD (if anyone can convince those trips/stadiums are worth it, let me know, but to date I haven't seen any reason). But I wish I'd had the opportunity to see OSU play at Pitt Stadium. The University of Pittsburgh made a huge mistake when they left Pitt Stadium for Heinz Field - and IMO an inexcusable mistake given how the move from Memorial Stadium/The Old Brick House to the HHH Metrodome adversely affected the Gopher football program and gameday environment for decades.
I've been in every B1G stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Superdome, the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil stadium, Notre Dame stadium, multiple ACC and NFL stadiums... and PITT's old bowl, by a wide margin, was in the worst condition of them all. It was a dump. I've been in it a few times, the last being when OSU beat PITT half to death in 95, and the stadium's state of disrepair was an embarrassment. I agree that sharing a stadium with an NFL team is far from optimal for a college football program, but it was either move to Heinz Field, or spend tens of millions they apparently didn't want to spend to renovate that rat hole. I don't how they recruited anybody with that facility... and that was in the 90s, before the facilities race truly commenced. Having said all of this, I would rather play in PITT's old on-campus stadium than in the Metrodome, because despite its condition, at least it was an outdoor, on-campus facility that had some history... the Metrodome was a sterile building with zero character.
When I die, sprinkle my ashes over the 70's
We're going to Rutgers this season to complete the Big Ten trips. The stadium/atmosphere/game hardly seems worth the trip, but it's necessary to complete the Big Ten swing, which is a pretty cool thing to have done.
"Anything easy ain't worth a damn"
Best part of Rutgers trip is taunting the cannon crew. For some reason, the ticket office surrounded them with Buckeye fans. Poor guys.
I didn't have a problem with Coop's comment than and I still don't. We did have too many slow white guys. He recruited fast guys of all races and modernized OSU's recruiting and offense.
And regarding Fickell's "inherited talent" are you counting the guys who had to sit out half the season in those numbers? I think you are. And he was given the reins on May 31, with half the team's skill players suspended for half the season (or all season in the case of Pryor).
I totally agree Tressel did less with more. To go 7-5 his first year was pretty bad. Which is why leading up to 2002 season I was the least interested in OSU football as I had ever been up to that time. I figured he was going to go 8-6 and then limp out the door in a couple years and head back to 1-AA.
Four of those five losses were by a field goal or less. IIRC, Tressel roasted kickers to motivate one of them to seize the job. Didnt work as they combined for around 50%. If Nugent kicked like he did in 2002, we win those games and finish with one or two losses.
Not only were we slow during the immediate post Bruce era, according to Cooper, we were also weak. I recall an interview where he mentioned that only 3 or 4 guys on the entire roster could bench press 300 pounds at the time.
He wasn't a great gameday x's and o's ball coach, but as far as rebuilding a program, strength and conditioning and bringing back recruiting and prestige, he did a pretty good job overall for the Ohio State in my opinion.
That's an excellent point as well. Strength and conditioning had progressed very rapidly through the '80s and OSU was still using techniques from the '60s and '70s under Bruce. I remember being in high school and hearing about the amazing weight room that Nebraska had and schools all over were scrambling to build their own and hire strength coaches. S&C coaches weren't names anyone knew back then, and they probably didn't even have that as their primary job until Coop came along.
Along came Dave Kennedy.
I was ( and am ) a slow white guy, and I benched 280 in high school and wasn't even a division 3 recruit. It is shocking to me to hear that only 3 or 4 guys could only bench over 300 in 1988. Perhaps I should have tried to walk on. I'm sure a 5'11 230 lb Defensive Tackle would have flown in that era's Big 10....not really.
OK - I found the article - it was actually a 400 lb BP that only 3 or 4 could do, which makes more sense.
Well, Cooper wasn't wrong.
Politically incorrect does not equal factually incorrect.
I recently read it is better to be morally right than factually correct.
It was news to me.
Tailgate Fare Historical Archive
Henry Clay said he'd rather be right than be president.
I don't know if he was right, but he sure as heck was never president.
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
That 1988 team actually had 4-6-1 talent. But fans didn't believe in rebuilding at Ohio State in 1988 any more than they would today.
One of the more overmatched starters on the '88 team, who yes happened to be white, was longtime 11W favorite Bo Pelini, who at the time was known by his actual first name of Mark.
The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.
Great write-up, Remy. Even courageous, considering the thesis.
John Cooper's "slow white guys" comment, tho brutal, did reflect the changing demographics of college football in the late 20th century. Just look at your 1988 Buckeyes versus today.
Wonder what CFB- or even American Football in general- will look like in another 30 years?
Go Bucks. Into the Future.
I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes
Of course Coop was right, however blunt the assessment. If you looked at the Notre Dame rosters before Holtz arrived, they had the same issue.
Not surprised about The Vest. Not a fan of little big guy and wasn't when he was at YSU. Sure he beat TTUN but so did everyone else in his era. He beat Miami pretty much with Coopers kids. He lost his next two tries against LSU and Florida and beat soundly. Couldn't beat USC two more sound beat downs. His motto was keep Ohio money in state which meant play YSU twice and other Ohio MAC schools. The real motto was beating those weak Ohio schools and run through the B10 which like I mentioned before wasn't strong in his time here then get ripped in a NC game. His biggest flaw was he couldn't replace coach's as they moved on to other jobs. Bringing in brothers from d4 schools in Minnesota and grad coach's. OSU is not a place you start your career at. Instead of teaching school he should of used that time coaching and learning about the team up next. Cooper was chased out because he couldn't beat TTUN The Vest was adored because he could and that's a problem here beating them has more weight then a B10 title or a NC. Cooper by far was a better coach and recruiter but for some reason wasn't liked by the brass and couldn't win that last game. One more thing I disliked about The Vest was he never liked to beat anyone and put them away. Many times he gave teams hope and made it harder than it should of been. Best example was his last game when he had Arkansas in his hip pocket but got a interception near games end to win as the Hogs where driving down the field for a win. I was elated when he was removed.
John Cooper couldn't win a title with John Cooper's players and Tressel did.
Also, without Clarret and Gamble, OSU doesn't win that title. I get the sentiment, but you can't dismiss winning a national title that easily. Especially since it was against one of the two or three greatest teams of that era.
Proudly dispensing unbridled arrogance since 1983.
Not arguing for or against your sentiments but it is fascinating to me to see the different perspectives on the same situation and who places emphasis on what aspects. For the crowd that wanted to see primarily Ohio kids playing at Ohio State and the beating of ttun every year there is no doubt that Tressel is the gold standard for that. As to winning national championships it has to be Woody but it was also a very different era and very subjective in determining those championships. We remember Tressel for both winning that natty but also for underperforming against Florida (and not sure how to look at the LSU loss as both teams backed into that championship). Just like Tressel, Meyer won his Ohio State natty in his second year but also had the beat down against Clemson and really inexcusable losses against Iowa and Purdue.
For all of that I would argue that there is only one program that could say they have had it better than Ohio State in the last 20 years - Alabama. Clemson has had it the last 5 years but before that they were not cracking the top 15 most years. LSU also had two titles in that time frame as did Florida but Florida became a mess after Meyer left and LSU has never made the playoffs except in the two years they won it (Bama had a lot to do with that). I will take that run every day.
I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!
Just like Tressel, Meyer won his Ohio State natty in his second year
The NC was in Meyer's third year at OSU.
Nice cherry picking of Tressel’s career.
So much wrong with this post, but this comment here is the cherry on top
Cooper by far was a better coach
I'm going to guess you are probably alone in this assessment.
Show us on the doll where the Tressel hurt you.
Dang... that's funny!
I survived Cooper, and I hate Tai Streets.
"Cooper was a better coach than Tressel"? LMAO!! You're nuttier than squirrel shit.
You are a bitter, less than enlightened individual. Long live the Senator!
His motto was keep Ohio money in state which meant play YSU twice and other Ohio MAC schools.
Just for accuracy and clarification. That decision came from the administration with extreme pressure coming from the Statehouse. They wanted "all that money" to stay in state. Particularly with all the MILLIONS of dollars going to Ohio State for bond work for facilities. The state, even though the athletic department self funded the projects, had to sign off on the underwriting of the bonds and the statehouse demanded the Ohio MAC schools get some of that money instead of it going to schools like Houston and Rice.
Brian Hartline started his coaching career at OSU.
Whoa! In the middle of a bunch of stuff but I'll be back.
^promise, not threat
Lifetime vs. UM: L 9-1, C 8-0, T 5-0
Ohio State University President Jim Tressel
OK, I'm back. Not really much to say except:
Cooper was right, too many slow guys equals death (I leave race out of my analysis but I'm not bothered that Coop chose not to -- news flash: white players usually aren't as fast as black players)
Been a long day & I'm tired. Thanks to Matt for this great post. On to the comments to pass out a bunch of DVs (just kidding).
I give Fickell a pass as there was a lot more going on besides the talent he had to work with. I also think with Tressel he needed a year to really re-shape the program.
Why? It's not like we had guys on the team suing each other or anything.
I don’t totally give him a pass, but he did inherit Jim Bollman and an offense that was completely run by Tressel. Add in Bauserman and a true freshman in Miller, you had an offense that couldn’t find it’s way out of a wet paper bag for most of the season.
Fick was nothing more than a place holder and he knew it. Which makes him even more of a Buckeye legend in my mind. The admin told him they had a great big shit sandwich, hold the bread, and he finished the entire plate out of love for OSU.
Logged in just for the upvote, 45! Agreed! +1
Hope we see him back one day...
What's forgotten is not only were the 1988 Buckeyes slow, they were weak. I distinctly remember during the Pitt telecast the color guy saying only two players could bench 400 lbs. At Arizona State, they had 18 players who could bench it.
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Post above is correct: it was 300 lbs. Regardless, slow and weak is no way to win football games, especially when compared to Arizona State.
Yet Coop's the one who coached & talked like the guy who didn't wear a helmet
It worked in the movie “The Longest Yard.”
I have to return some videotapes
Hard to believe that Tressel only had seven victories with a roster that had 28 future NFL draft picks.
Of course, half of those guys were drafted after the 2003 season. Meaning they were either sophomores or freshman in 2001. Maybe good coaching of talent really does make a player better.
I think the big thing being overlooked is the QB situation inherited. Urban Meyer and Earle Bruce got sophomores Braxton Miller and Art Schlichter respectively. Tressel, Fickell, and Cooper got Steve Bellesari, Joe Bauserman, and Greg Frey respectively.
Very good point, but lumping Frey into that group just kinda hurts deep down. Not that you're necessarily wrong, but my visceral reaction to Bauserman and Bellisari is WAY worse.
If The Vest had put Steve Mc Drunkindriver into the Outback Bowl before the late third quarter he would have driven OSU all the way to victory.
If Bellasari doesn’t get a DUI, there is a distinct possibility we go to the Rose Bowl.
Since Earle, I think we’ve had the right coach at the right time. Cooper came in and did a makeover on talent level and strength and conditioning. Tressel came in and got discipline back in the program and started our current run on Michigan. Urban came in and got us competitive nationally when you could see that Tressel had lost that edge. Each one used what they were given, and improved our program in the areas of need.
Great point - interesting perspective - but then you could argue, in retrospect, that Cooper had done his job - completed his role - by about 1997.
With that in mind . . . Here is a crazy alternate history scenario that never would have happened . . . What if Ohio State had replaced Cooper after the ‘97 season with the rising star Mack Brown (who was hired by Texas after the ‘97 season)? You could argue that Ohio State would have won the ‘98 national championship with Brown at the helm, but would have been worse off over the long run (I.e., no Tressel).
Cooper definitely stayed 3-4 years too long.
I cant believe Mack Brown is at UNC again.
At least two. The '99 and 2000 teams represented a pretty big dropoff from a very strong stretch.
I must have conveniently blocked out the ‘88 game against Pitt from my memory, whereas I distinctly remember the debacle at home against Indiana the year before (which contributed to Earle getting fired).
I got curious about how ‘88 Pitt fared the remainder of their season, figuring they must have been pretty good. Well, they only went 6-5 with no bowl game. To be fair, though, Pitt was then independent and played a tough schedule that included Notre Dame, who won the national championship that season, and WVU, which lost to ND in the “national championship” bowl game.
Actually, In the final A.P. rankings of the ‘88 season, four out of the top five teams were independent: #1. Notre Dame, #2 Miami, #3 FSU, and #5 WVU. Only #4 Michigan was in a conference and they had no chance at winning the national championship, with two losses and a tie (to be fair, ‘88 Michigan played a brutal schedule, themselves).
Can you imagine if a coach made that exact comment today? Ho...ly...shit. I can only imagine the shitstorm if he said this in 2019 and not 1988. He'd have been the shortest tenured coach in OSU history. Two games, tarred, feathered, fired, blackballed from coaching probably forever.
Class of 2010.
and 3 years later, he still had a team that sucked .... with his recruiting.....it took him almost 6 years to start making a difference and his coaching still sucked. Coop the accidental CF HOF because he got lucky and got a coaching gig at tOSU which mainly recruits itself but it does not coach itself.
He could have just said "we have too many slow guys" and left color out of it.
Coop is and was one one the best talent evaluators imo I've ever seen and I mean that. Had Coop been fired earlier like he should've been for not being able to win big games and went to the NFL as a GM he'd have multiple superbowl rings and be in the HOF. It's funny how things work out though. As far as what Coop said at that time more than likely it was true and needed to be said.
I am not as sure about the racial component, but it is sort of true. In the 90's I do not know that it was an issue as such. It was an issue with Tress in particular. Not that those teams were not talented but conditioning and consistent game speed was lacking. Meyer saw to that really fast.
That said, OSU had the defensive speed to make Miami look average, so it is not like they were slow, but they did not keep up for a bit on that front.
interesting observation... going to take a moment for me to figure it out.
Living the life! Go Buckeyes! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
CPO and CDR, USN (ret)
1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!
Get back to us when you find the white guy ...
I have a strange feeling he is holding the starting gun and another the stopwatch...
For several decades the disproportionate success of individuals of African descent in a wide range of athletic activities has been the subject of intense speculation and debate. Today, despite being a mere 12 per cent of the American population, African-Americans constitute a clear majority of that countrys greatest athletes. Also, the disproportionate success in the area of sports, by the largely Afrocentric populations in the islands of the Caribbean, beg the questions, why and how. There are outstanding Caribbean and American athletes of African descent who are testimony to the tremendous physical ability displayed by the descendants of West African-related forebears.
Success of individuals of West African descent in athletic activities involving speed and power is based on (a) biomechanical and biochemical differences between themselves and Caucasian and Asian athletes (1), and (b) biochemical differences between themselves and all other Africans (2).
The African biomechanical advantages of lower subcutaneous fat, longer arms and legs and narrower hips, that influence power-to-weight ratio and stride length, are well known and generally uncontroversial outcomes of human evolution in tropical climates (1, 2).
These adjustments or compensatory mechanisms, include a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres, greater activity in the phosphagenic, glycolytic, and lactate dehydrogenase metabolic pathways and greater rate of ventilation, all of which have been scientifically tested and evaluated. These alterations affect the individuals process in storing and utilizing energy for skeletal muscle contraction, and enhances their ability to build lean muscle mass.
And there's no reason for everyone else to be upset by these genetic differences, they've been "earned" over 6000 years of microevolution.
Here is the unvarnished truth-Coop-was correct, but didn't present his views in the most PC woke phrasing. I was too young to follow recruiting, such as it was under Earle Bruce in the mid 80s-Robert Smith is first hyped freshman I really remember, but the general consensus from those older than me was Bruce would sign about 10 or 11 6'2 230 LB-FB types in every class and use them for everything from TE to RB to DL to LB instead of recruiting either lighter but faster, or bigger but more athletic options.
Also, for the author's hottake, JT's first team in fact may have had more NFL talent, but it was mostly A-underclassmen, and B-on the defensive side of the ball. Craig Krenzel was an NFL talent-played a couple years in the league-but he wasn't exactly lighting stuff up during the 01' season. Mo Clarett was a 3rd round pick, but never played a regular season down in the NFL-it was blatantly obvious to anyone who watched the 02' season that his impact on the team greatly exceeded that of one single player
And that's not to say that Cooper was wrong about lack of talent around that time (I was a baby in 1988 but they obviously went 4-6-1 for a reason), but man oh man did he ever word that poorly, and really bring race into a situation that it didn't need to be brought into.
Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder approves this message....
Paul Hornung too.
were they wrong?
Me thinks... nope.
Tress inherited more talent, but I also remember there were many reports of team-cultural problems plaguing the program at the end of Cooper's tenure...does anybody remember these details?
Here's what Andy Geiger had to say about it: "sort of a capstone on what we have seen as a deteriorating climate within the football program.""Concern about discipline, competitiveness, academic pursuits, a whole series of things. I thought yesterday, unfortunately (Outback bowl loss) was an exhibit of all those things rolled into one," he said.
Well, Reggie Germany's Animal house-like GPA of 0.0 was kind of the poster-child for the problems. Apparently, Reggie didn't attend one class all quarter. There were other issues too, but that was the one used by the administration as an example.
Sounds like something out of Blue Mountain State.
Which class was it? Just a riff not an attack.
Sorry, let me clarify...he cut every class for the entire quarter. His GPA matched his attendance records.
It is what it is, no reason to be offended by mother nature.
Careful there. Extrapolating this to other areas could get you in trouble.
In todays society commenting on the color of your most recent movement could get you in trouble. I refuse to play that game, mine was a healthy light brown with just the right constancy, not too loose nor too hard.
My problem with your statement is that you are saying that one race is born more athletically gifted than another when I believe one's upbringing has to be a major factor. Otherwise, why would that athletic superiority vanish when one gets water involved (frozen or liquid). If you were to take that at face value, you could look at SAT scores by race and make some pretty horrible statements.
Physical abilities based upon frame, muscle mass, etc. do not always transfer from sport to sport, just ask Charles Barkley's golf game. I don't consider it to be horrible if others are more athletic than me or better at math or better at beer bong.
Coop faced the first speed revolution in college football (speed at the skill positions), and changed up recruiting as a result.
Tressel faced the second speed revolution (speed on the line) and he started to change - and Urban was already there.
Per the OP, I would note that part of our "speed on the line" revolution included the Bosas and Hubbard who are, well, white.
"I don't think you necessarily have to get a trophy to be a winner." - Nick Saban 1/2/15.
they way i read it, you needed to have a little extra something something to be here while black back then. Not that all black players are fast or whites are slow but John said he didnt have any slow blacks that he knew of.
That said, plenty of white dominated rosters have beaten us in the past and i would bet my bottom dollar we would crush jackson state or grambling. That year We had a crappy team for a lot of reasons.
Inherited talent is one thing, but if you don't have a QB that can at least manage the game, you are in trouble. i was at the Rose Bowl for the post 9/11 UCLA game where Bellisari went 6-23 and Nuge missed some field goals to boot. I forget how many times their stud tailback fumbled but we still couldn't get the W. I'm sure that wasn't the only game that year where QB play cost us a W...
Ronny P Buckeye
A clumsy way of phrasing the fact that that team was slow and not very athletic, but I don't recall any players taking offense.
To say Coop inherited less NFL talent on that team than other OSU coaches hardly does justice to the team Coop took over. Indiana had more NFL talent than Ohio State that year. Some of the starters would have struggled to start for some MAC teams. There is a reason it took 5 years for OSU to become a top team again. I am happy to see Coop being appreciated for what he was--an elite evaluator and developer of talent.
To be fair, Tress had no QB his first year and Fick had Bollman
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This was our problem last year: slow white linebackers.