"You're a bunch of 16-, 17-, 18-year old men that are going to be making some big-time decisions. I'm not talking about attending college. I'm talking about making the right decisions. I'm going to ask everyone to kind of be quiet for a minute, not just for me but for these guys. I'd appreciate that – show respect for the guys who are going to say a few words.
"I see a bunch of young guys out here and it kind of fires me up. I've been doing this almost 30 years, and I see young people every day make great decisions, and I see a lot of them make wrong decisions. I think I've witnessed probably everything, and I can see a lot of great coaches here who have witnessed it as well.
"So I'm going to tell you a little Biblical story that talks about – just bear with me for a minute. These two men are walking on the beach. They see 100,000 starfish washed up on the shore. One guy reaches down and one by one he starts throwing the starfish in the water. The other guy looks at him and says, ‘What are you doing? You can't save all these starfish.' And the one guy goes, ‘Yeah, just go ask those starfish I just saved.'
"So once again, I'm almost 50 years old. I've gone through an incredible offseason. I'm going to share some things with you, and if we can save one starfish today, one young man… eyes over here! I see the sun is behind you – fight through it. If we can save one guy to make that right decision, have a great college career, chase your dream and then go get a nice job and have a nice family, guess what? Job well done. We all did a great job if we get that one guy. You know what? Chris (Ash), maybe we'll get two. Maybe we'll get three. So I'll ask you to lock in for a minute."
"In about two months – I guess two months and change – there's going to be thousands of high school players getting ready to kick off the season. There's going to be a bunch of colleges, 130 or so in Division I and a bunch of other colleges across America, getting ready to go. Everybody right now is going to camps. Everybody is bench pressing, and everybody is doing 16 110s. What will be the difference between success and failure next year?
"At Ohio State, we won 24 straight games. Think about that… 24, two years in a row. We ahd great dreams, and we failed. We lost to a very good team in a big-time game. We failed. When the media or fans see us fail, who do they blame? The coaches, absolutely. Who else do they blame? The players. Eyes up here. Eyes up here. The people that don't know, blame. I'm here to tell you that there's good coaches everywhere. When a team loses, it's not because of coaches. At certain levels, there's good coaches everywhere. When I hear a team say, ‘We have bad players.' You don't have bad players! There's a problem on your team.
"So everybody in America right now, the thing that everybody is studying – I'm one of them – it's the Navy SEALs, special forces. I'm going to give you a couple nuggets and I'm not going to be much longer, but I've got you real good now and I can see you locked in. So we had Marcus Luttrell – raise you hand if you know who that is. That's the Lone Survivor. He came to speak to the Ohio State Buckeyes in spring practice. The guy's been through a lot. I read the book about five years ago, I'm re-reading it right now. I'm going to share with you a couple components of what he figures to be great teammates.
"He calls them the Navy SEALs – eyes up here. Right there. That guy right there. When I'm talking to you, look at me, OK? – The Navy SEALs, they speak of their team as a community. So in our community, he gave us a couple of nuggets, some nuggets we're going to work on for the rest of our summer. Already working on it with our coaching staff.
"No. 1, and just visualize this team. Lotta college coaches out here, they want guys who pay attention. They want guys who do it right. They don't worry about the four- and five-star guys who are just messing around the whole time. They want guys who do it right. They want great teammates. That's how you win. So the first nugget he said, ‘In our community, we are trained that to get to our teammate, you have to go directly through us.' Think about that. If you have that kind of team… forget your camps, forget your recruiting for a minute. If you have that kind of team – to get to my teammate, you have to go through us. In the Navy SEALs, and I'm never going to take this lightly because what we do is certainly not what the men and women in our military do, they say you have to kill us to get to our teammate. Imagine having that kind of team, where you're going to protect each other. You have a unit on your team that is so close. The offensive line at Ohio State was as good as there was because they had that kind of mentality. So the first one, again, is if you have that kind of mentality, ‘To get to my teammate, you have to go through me.'
"The second thing: on a team, special forces team, a SEALs team – when one gets punished, all get punished. They're not different people. They become one. We're talking about great teams here. They become one.
"The last one I want to spend a minute on, this blew my mind when he brought this up. Imagine being on this team, and I've been lucky enough to have a few of those… imagine, just visualize this team. Marcus Luttrell stood up and he said, ‘People don't understand.' People that don't play this game don't understand. Certainly, and once again with all due respect to the military, what we do is fun. But he made this comment. He says, ‘My wife does not understand. She doesn't know. I'm a good husband. I do the best I can. I'm a good husband, I'm a good father. I do the best I can. I pay my taxes. I'm a good guy. I do the best I can off the field. However, when I'm with my teammates and in conflict, animal instinct takes over.'
"That caught everybody's attention. Think about what I just said. Animal instincts take over. I become a wild animal for my teammates. Once again, I know some of you won state championships. I've been a part of a couple great teams, I think the best team to ever play the game in '08 (at Florida). And that was (because) animal instincts took over on the field. They protected each other. What he said is, ‘Have you ever tried to reason with a wild animal?' Think about that. Think about what I just said. You try to reason with a wild animal… you can't reason with a wild animal. They protect each other. Have you ever tried to negotiate, evaluate, take a play off? If you're a wild animal, that doesn't happen.
"So the Ohio State Buckeyes, amazing things are going on right now. I think our guys are bench pressing, they're doing all kinds of stuff. We have a tremendous offseason program. But they just finished four weeks and are about to start another eight weeks of leadership training and brotherhood and trust. You want to go win a state championship, which I know some of you have? You want to go be part of a Big Ten championship, national championship, which some guys around here have done that? You have to create a team-first concept, where you can create a wild animal and animal instinct takes over when you're in conflict with your teammates. Get a visualization. To get to my teammate, you have to go through me. If you're that kind of player, there are a lot of schools around here that want you. If you're part of that kind of team, get ready to be measured for a ring."