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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio State Buckeyes football’

Terrelle Pryor Announces He’s Leaving Ohio State. Luke Fickell Breathes a Sigh of Relief.

Terrelle Pryor passes while Justin Boren blocks

Image via Wikipedia

Ohio State starting QB Terrelle Pryor announced yesterday that he would not be returning this fall. I don’t think that many of us are surprised by this. Pryor is the centerpiece of the current NCAA investigation into several violations committed by both past and present players. Violations that former coach Jim Tressel tried to cover up last fall, which lead to his resignation on Memorial Day.

Ohio State has now officially lost the two faces of it’s football program; so where does this leave them? Actually, they’re not in that bad of shape. Pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation, the program can now move on, and move on they will.

The program Tressel left behind is a damned good one. They were always, and are still, in a position to reload rather than rebuild. Coach Luke Fickell was a well respected assistant, both by coaches and players. I have every confidence in the world that he’ll keep Ohio State Football at a high level. As for the QB position, they are set for another four years. Freshman Braxton Miller is regarded as the best high school QB in the country. I’m betting he starts in game one, and stays there until it’s time for him to go pro. The kid is special, and he’s a winner.

As for Pryor, I think his future is a little cloudy. He will turn pro, but he is not ready. He still needed that last year of college to develop. Furthermore, with the NFL lockout still unsettled, it may be a year before he can get his foot in the door. He may not even be highly sought after by NFL teams.

Although Pryor is a big game player with three wins over Michigan, and two BCS wins under his belt, Pryor’s talent has often taken a back seat to his behavior. He is a character risk to many NFL general managers. His skill set at the next level is also in question; many talent evaluators in the NFL feel that he is more suited to play wide receiver because he’s tall, and runs like a deer. He’s already being compared to wide outs such as Calvin Johnson or Plaxico Burress. Personally, I don’t think his ego will let him play anything other than quarterback. Unless he grows up in a hurry, he’s not going to get that chance.

I loved watching Pryor play as a Buckeye, but I’m glad he’s moving on. As much as I love the players, I love the program more. Pryor has become a distraction, as well as a cancer to the team. It’s time to move on to the new faces of the team: Coach Fickell and Braxton Miller.

Oh, and one more thing: Out of the top 25 football programs in the country, THE Ohio State was ranked #1 in Academic Progress Rate. Call them what you will, but the fact of the matter is that the Buckeyes kick ass in the class room as well as on the field.

Suck on that Michigan ;)

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Requiem For a Heavyweight: Jim Tressel Resigns.

Ohio State Buckeyes college football head coac...

Image via Wikipedia

Wow, just wow.

After 10 years of being the face of Ohio State football, coach Jim Tressel resigned Monday amidst a mountain of controversy. Co-Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell was named interim head coach for the 2011 season.

I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised. When Coach Tressel chose to cover up the fact that 5 of his players including Terrelle Pryor were exchanging memorabilia for tattoos and pocket money, he all but sealed his fate at Ohio State. It was just a matter of time before he would either be fired or forced to resign. However, knowing what was coming still didn’t soften the blow, nor did it ease the pain.

As Buckeye fans, Tressel spoiled me and my partner, as well as the rest of the rabid, loyal fans in Buckeye Nation. Under Tressel, we came to expect 3 three things. A win over Michigan, A Big Ten title, and a run at the National Championship. For a decade, Coach Tressel would deliver on all three.

Tressel’s cover up is indicative of what’s wrong with college football; it’s about winning and generating revenue. In many aspects, it’s not much different than the NFL. Ohio State is no different than any other major college program; it’s always about winning at all costs. I could easily see any of the other 120 major college coaches doing what Tressel did. I refuse to condemn the man for getting caught.

So where does Ohio State go from here? They are facing probation, as well as the possibility of having to forfeit their 2010 season including the Sugar Bowl, pending the results of the NCAA investigation. They are also facing the possibility of losing QB Terrelle Pryor for the entire season once the NCAA investigation into his activities are concluded. Interim coach Luke Fickell has no small task in front of him; whether or not he is up for the job of salvaging an already tarnished season is up to him. If he is up to the challenge, he can write his own ticket.

Here’s the thing: In Ohio State’s case, the program makes the coach, not the other way around. Tressel was not a household name when he was hired, nor were the names of Cooper,Bruce, or Hayes, the coaches who preceded him. Coach Fickell is a high energy, intelligent coach who steadily worked his way up the OSU rank and file. As a former 4 year starter for the Buckeyes, he gets it. He know what’s expected of him: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, compete for a national title. He will not get a pass for this season, in spite of the external challenges he is facing. Even if the Buckeyes land on probation, Fickell is expected to win if he is to remove the interim tag.

I want to finish with this: Thank you Coach Tressel for all you’ve done for Buckeye Nation. You will always have a place in my heart as the greatest OSU coach ever. You brought a lot of joy into our house, and you will always be remembered fondly. I hope you land another coaching gig soon; they will be lucky to have you.

And to Coach Fickell I offer congratulations and some advice. I can live with a rebuilding year this season considering what you’re facing, but you sure as hell better beat Michigan!

O-H-I-O!

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