High school coaches from all over the state of Ohio converged in Columbus on Friday afternoon to try and gather whatever knowledge they could to help improve their respective team. They had plenty of opportunities.
Headlined by current head coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State rolled out the shall we say, scarlet carpet to welcome back former coaches Jim Tressel, John Cooper and Earle Bruce to speak to hundreds of high school coaches from the state of Ohio. The two coaches that spoke the longest were Meyer and Tressel, both of which talked in length not about the X's and O's, but about what it takes to be successful in not just football, but in life.
Meyer of course, was the headliner and spoke in great detail about the 10-80-10 rule which he has used since coming to Columbus. Meyer outlines the three categories as players or employees in a work place.
The top 10 are what he described as elite people, the 80 percent as average and the bottom 10 as "disinterested" and "cancerous" to a program or business. Meyer said of the bottom 10, that you need to get rid of them and focus on building the 80 percent to be elite.
"We have to increase the size of the elite," Meyer said. I told my staff to focus all our energy on the 80 percent. If we focus on that 80, what might happen? The elite might start to grow."
Tressel discussed a list of five qualities that he believes help people and will help coaches develop their young football players. His list, which he said he wrote down while at a board meeting while serving as the vice president at Akron, consisted of the following, with No. 1 being the most important;
5. Work Ethic
Tressel went on to tell a story about each topic, but a few stood out in regards to Ohio State. The former Buckeye football coach said that he believes the 2006 team lost its curiosity, in that they stopped wanting to get better. He went on to say that Meyer's Florida team, "kicked the snot bubbles out of us."
When he spoke of grit, he discussed the 2002 title team as one of the toughest teams he ever coached.
"The thing that was so good about them, was their grit. They refused to lose," Tressel said. "We were not the best team in the country, but we played 14 times and 14 times they refused to lose."
When it came to selflessness, Tressel said that of the best teams he ever coached it was that trait that he said meant success more than anything else.
"You have got to make sure it is not about you," he said. "It is not about what you are going to get from it, it is about what someone else is going to derive from it. I think back to that '02 team. They were unbelievable in their willingness, they didn't care about anything other than they hadn't done in their careers what they came to Ohio State to do. They were going to be willing to whatever the team needed."
Tressel also briefly addressed the death of former Ohio State defense end Will Smith.
"We lost one of the great ones in Will Smith. It makes everyone's heart and gut and everything else hurt," he said.
Other speakers that addressed the coaches in attendance included former OSU assistant and current Broncos assistant coach Fred Pagac Sr., first year OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and briefly Earle Bruce who was driven around for most of the day in a golf cart.
One of the final moments of the event included a picture of Meyer, Tressel, Cooper, Bruce and Luke Fickell the most recent OSU head coaches.
"How appropriate is it that Ohio football coaches are here," Meyer said of the event. "This is a unique place. It is not like this many places."