OSU Coordinators Not Lamenting Fate

Jim Heacock and Jim Bollman will conclude long careers as Ohio State assistants as the Buckeyes take on Florida in the Gator Bowl on Monday. Both are appreciative of the chances they have received to mentor as many players as they have in more than a decade in Columbus.

Ohio State's appearance in the Gator Bowl will not only be the last time the Buckeye seniors suit up in scarlet and gray. It will also serve as the OSU swan song for coordinators Jim Bollman and Jim Heacock.

Good luck trying to get either of them to make a big deal about it, though. Neither had any complaints about their fate as new head coach Urban Meyer has indicated he will go another direction as he puts together his first Ohio State staff.

"This might surprise you a little bit, but I'm actually appreciative," said Heacock, who joined the Ohio State staff in 1996 working for then-head coach John Cooper. "I look back and 16 years at Ohio State I think is a pretty good record. I feel good about the 16 years. When I look back on it I think about the big games, the Rose Bowls, the wins, the championships, the wins at Michigan. Playing for Coach Cooper was an unbelievable experience, Coach Tressel was an unbelievable experience. All the coaching staffs, all the players -- Will Smith, I talk to him a lot.

"I look back on 16 years, how could I be anything but appreciative and happy? I'm far from depressed, trust me. I'm pretty fortunate."

Heacock was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2005 and promptly led the Buckeyes to six consecutive top-6 finishes in the country in points allowed. As defensive line coach, he mentored 10 first-team All-Big Ten players and four first-team All-Americans.

One of those all-conference honorees, John Simon, said the Buckeyes will have Heacock on their mind when they line up against the Gators on Monday afternoon in Jacksonville.

"Coach Heacock has done a great job with us," Simon said. "He's one of the big reasons I came here. He knows what he's talking about and a great guy. It's been a great privilege to play for him, and we all feel like that on the defensive side of the ball. We're hoping to send him out with a win."

Michael Brewster expressed a similar sentiment from the members of the offensive line. Brewster, a senior from Orlando, Fla., who was a five-star recruit in 2008, credited Bollman with bringing him to Ohio State and helping him earn first-team All-America honors last season.

"When I was in high school I talked to him weekly and he's really like family," Brewster said. "Love the guy. He's pretty much taught me everything I know as far as technique and reading defenses and everything. He's a great coach, and I know he'll find a great home. I think he wants to continue to coach."

Bollman did not indicate what he might do next, but he sounded much like Heacock when asked to reflect on his favorite memories from an 11-year stint as offensive coordinator and line coach.

"That's something I don't think about every day, but I'm thankful to have been here for the length we have been," said Bollman, who coached four first-team All-Americans and 11 first-team All-Big Ten players. "People dream about being in BCS bowl games and we've been in eight of them. This one, by the way, is very nice, but I think those will all be in my mind. You can't forget winning the national championship like that and having the chance to be in two other games like that, too. That's all pretty special stuff. When you're in the racket I'm in, those are the kinds of things you hope for the chances to do. Again, thankful."

He was appreciative of Brewster's comments.

"It's nice to hear those guys have that kind of sentiment," Bollman said. "There's a few of those guys we've been through a few wars with and it is nice to have one more chance to do it with them."

"There's life beyond Monday. When you've been in this profession for 35 years, these situations come up every once in a while. You deal with them, work through them as best you can and life goes on."

He laughed when asked if he had any special treats in store from a schematic point of view in his last time in charge of the Ohio State offense.

"We're going to be in empty every play and throw it on every down," he said with a chuckle. "We're just trying to win the game. That's all."

Heacock plans to stick with the usuals on the defensive side of the ball as well.

"We're going to try like crazy, play as a team and that's the thing I try to stress every game since I've been here – ‘We're Ohio State, we're the Silver Bullets and we're going to go out there and play as 11 guys doing their job and executing their responsibilities,' " Heacock said. "If they do that, I'm going to feel awfully good."

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