I am lucky to be part of the unique
"JJ & Jerry High School Sports Show", a radio program that airs each
week covering the wide world of Ohio high school sports.
My Bucknuts Radio sidekick, Jerry Rudzinski, hosts this show along with
the inimitable JJ Huddle the man who runs the world's most popular high school
sports website. The Huddle gets
more than a million hits each day and covers every conceivable sport in Ohio.
impressively, all of the Ohio coaches participate in the Huddle.
These coaches are divided into two distinct groups:
1) Those who participate openly and 2) Those who participate
surreptitiously. Because of the
deep and broad participation on the JJ Huddle website, the information runs fast
and freely and it is hard not to get addicted.
was luckier than usual…I got to substitute for Jerry Rudzinski as the host of
the JJ & Jerry High School Sports Show.
I also got to choose the interview guest and brought along one of my
favorite interview subjects ever: Coach
Jim Place from our local Chaminade-Julienne High School here in Dayton, Ohio.
is the Athletic Director and football coach and one of the great gentlemen in
scholastic sports. His girls
basketball team was rated #1 in the country this year before the star (Megan
Duffy) when down with a season-ending injury.
But his real focus and passion is high school football.
Coach Place has issued the challenge that his Eagles will "play anyone
at anytime and any place". To
back up that claim, last year, he traveled to Massillon to take on the Tigers in
their home lair and this year issued a challenge to De La Salle, arguably the
toughest team in the country with an unbelievable hundred game winning streak
out in California.
producing winning teams (and winning people), Coach Place is the head of the
star-making machinery at Chaminade and has rolled out a number of very special
players that have been recruited by Ohio State (or should have been
recruited…) One of those who got
away was Paul Harker who has been starting for Michigan State's offensive line
these last couple of years.
…And he who
holds the microphone gets to ask the questions!
Here are a few of the tidbits from yesterday's show that should be of
interest to Ohio State fans everywhere…
Coach Tressel…Jim Place has known Coach Tressel for more than 20 years and emphasized what a large part Jim Tressel has played in the Ohio High School scene. He remarked on Tressel's sincerity and genuine affection for people; remembering Coach Place's wife by name and asking about her every time they meet. There is no question that Tressel's presence looms large over all Ohio high school coaches and is a vastly different presence than that of Coach Cooper.
Pernell Williams and Anthony Turner…if you receive Ohio's Future Stars, you might know these names. They will be juniors this year at Chaminade and both are ranked in the top seven in the state. Not only does Coach Place emphasize the potential greatness of both players (Williams is a TB/DB and Turner is a QB), but he regaled us with stories that they've already been offered – in their sophomore year – by Michigan State. Why? The Michigan State coaches told Place that Jim Tressel has Ohio "locked down" and their only chance is to offer as early as possible and hope the kids appreciate it later. Very telling remarks and very key recruits to watch for the next two years!
Justin Zwick…Coach Place said he really looked forward to matching wits with Massillon and to show Justin Zwick a few things he might not have seen before. Despite his youthful team, Chaminade gave them a run. Coach Place had a unique analysis of Zwick: "Much bigger and stronger than we expected". He talked about his great arm but talked more about how physical Zwick was; that Chaminade blitzed him from all angles trying to push him around and change his game. Place said that Zwick was so tough that the "intimidation tactics" were worthless. He also mentioned that all three of Chaminade's linebackers were smaller than Zwick…
Shawn Crable…As enthusiastic as
Coach Place was about Justin Zwick, he positively frothed about Shawn Crable.
He said that Crable was a very special athlete with greatness written all
over him but that his "nasty attitude" might be his biggest asset.
Coach Place related the story that prior to the kickoff at Massillon, the
Chaminade players got a little "carried away" in warm ups and walked around
on the insignia in the middle of the field.
Crable went to the Massillon bench and got a big bucket of water and
pointedly came out and washed the emblem prior to the start of the game. Coach Place (and the Chaminade bench) was overwhelmed.
Jim said this is a kid you do not want to let get away…
If you are lucky enough to live in the Dayton area, you can hear the entire show this Friday at 6 PM on ESPN WING 1410 Radio. Otherwise, you can catch the show streaming (or archived) after the airing by going to the JJ Huddle website. JJ Huddle and Coach Jim Place all in one evening – it was a great experience for one humble Mr. Bucknuts!