Under the Headset

One of our posters formerly known as Brutus4444 a local high school football coach has been posting his Monday Evening Coaching posts on the boards for a long time, so we figured why not make this a feature. This new feature from our resident coach is callled Under the Headset. Here is the first installment.

This being the first edition of Under the Headset, I thought it would be fitting to discuss the Ohio State coaching staff. There are three issues with this staff that jump out at me and those will be addressed. They are class, respect and an unfair criticism in my view. The first two issues are in my opinion integral to the success that Ohio State football has enjoyed under Coach Jim Tressel.

This coaching staff sets itself apart from other staff's in the area of class. It is not that other coaching staff's do not have class. This staff just takes it to another level. When I go to a coaching clinic, there is not one coach there that displays more class than Jim Tressel. He represents the university, the state, and more importantly the game of football with such class. You can tell it is something that he works on and that he enforces with his staff and players. It is too bad that more coaches, especially at the high school level do not emphasize class like he does.

I recently attended an Ohio State practice and I saw the respect and admiration that Coach Tressel garners from the entire program. At the end of practice, Coach Tressel addresses the team, which is a custom in football for the head coach. All the players will take a knee and listen, while the assistant coaches gather around the outside of the players. Many times coaches will talk amongst themselves and equipment people along with trainers will make their break for the locker room. This does not happen at the Ohio State practices I have been at. This spring, I was standing at the far end zone away from the team. What amazed me was everyone was so still and quiet that I could hear Coach Tressel clearly from that distance. He was not yelling. He was just talking. Assistant coaches, trainers, and equipment people all stood silently as he addressed the team. He had everyone's attention. I am not saying that it should not be like this everywhere, but the fact is that it is not. This is just one example.

When a program has class and respect at such a high level as the Ohio State program does under Coach Tressel it aids the team to function as one. It is my strong belief that functioning as one leads to more victories on the football field.

Here is a football specific aspect of the coaching staff. I have never understood the argument that this coaching staff never changes things, that they are too predictable. This staff may not be on the cutting edge of creating new offenses, yet they make changes for the better all the time. OSU made the national championship game in 2002 by lining up and running the ball. Every once in a while they would get a play out of the passing game. They were very conservative on offense. Some may have not liked it. Yes, it was boring, but they won a national championship with a team that should not have been there to begin with. Tell me how many other staff's would have won it all with that team?

Then in 2006, they make the national championship game with a spread offense that produces a Heisman Trophy winner in Troy Smith. What is interesting when you look at this transition it was not change for the sake of change like many staff's do. It was a calculated change. The team and the staff looked very natural in this offense as they did with the 2002 offense. If you want to see what I mean about looking natural in the offense take a look at Purdue when they come out with two tight ends and try to run the ball.

Let's look at the defense for further examples. In 2005, Ohio State had a great defense. It was one of the most talented defenses in school history. That year the defense blitzed and took chances. They were very successful at it. The next year with nine new starters the defense was almost as dominant. The team played a completely different style that played to the strength of their talent and experience. They blitzed less and made teams drive the length of the field. I understand that the season ended on a down note, but you must judge the overall performance. This was a top ten defense with nine new starters. Tell me where else you can find that kind of success?

As a coach, you are going to make numerous mistakes. Adaptations need to be made. The question is two fold; who is willing to change and who is willing to change correctly. I know that under Coach Tressel's direction those answers are all very positive.

For example do you think Lloyd Carr really believes in special teams? Why than did they lose so many games over an eight year span due to poor special teams?

When this staff makes changes it does so while keeping the integrity of their football philosophy. They protect the ball on offense. They have a great kicking game. They tackle on defense. And when they tackle you, they tackle you hard. No matter what schemes they use they do these things well.

Remember Coach Tressel forgets more football in a day than most of us will ever know. While we sometimes get impatient and think the staff is being stubborn, for the most part it is just prudence on their part. Will things always be perfect under Tressel? No. Will things always be moving in the right direction? No. Will issues always get fixed? Yes. Will OSU football be better in the long run due to these challenges? Yes.

To conclude this discussion here are some of the researched statistics for this program under the six years of Coach Tressel and his staff compared to other Buckeye coaches.

Winning Percentage Overall: Tressel .816; Hayes .761

Big Ten Winning Percentage: Tressel .792; Hayes .794

National Titles: 1

Top five finishes: 4

Perfect Big Ten Seasons: Tressel 2; John Cooper 0; Earle Bruce 1; Woody Hayes 7

Here is a comparison of Pete Carroll and Jim Tressel.

Pete Carroll


Bowl Games: 4-2

BCS Games 4-1

Vs. Main Rival: 5-1

Top five Finishes: 5

National Titles: 1.5

Championship Game Appearances: 2 (1-1)

Jim Tressel


Bowl Games: 4 -2

BCS Games: 3-1

Vs. Main Rival: 5-1

Top Five finishes: 4

National Titles: 1

Championship Game Appearances: 2 (1-1)

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