The Coaching Search: Lovie Smith

Written June 17th, 2011 by Eric

In our continuing look at the Ohio State coaching search, we go far afield and look at a guy who isn’t getting a lot of love for the spot.

Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith

Many, many names have been mentioned in the context of the Ohio State head coaching search.  Some have made some sense (Fickell, Hazell, Dantonio, Pelini) and some not so much (Meyer, Saban, etc.)  We will get to them all shortly.

One guy that may not have entered your radar yet is Lovie Smith, current Head Coach of the Chicago Bears.  I’ll wait while you stop laughing.

….

….

Any minute now…

Smith started his collegiate football experience playing Linebacker and Safety for the University of Tulsa in the late 70’s.  You might recall that the head coach of the Golden Hurricanes at that time was one John Cooper.  Yes, that John Cooper.

Rather than playing in the pros, Lovie went straight into coaching and took over the Defensive Coordinator position of his former High School – Big Sandy.  After a few years at the High School level, Lovie secured a job with his former coach at Tulsa, staying there once Cooper left to take the top spot at Arizona State.
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Ohio State’s Best Decade Ever?

Written May 6th, 2010 by Jim

As promised, here is a look at various ten year periods of Ohio State football.

1993-2002

The Cooper years, with some serious 2002 assistance from Tressel.

Record: 97-27-1 (.78226)

vs. Michigan: 4-6

Bowl Games: 4-5

Big Ten Championships: 3

National Championships: 1

All-Americans: 25

All-Big Ten: 51

Heisman Trophy: 1

I threw this one in mostly for fun and cheated by including 2002. Even with that, this ten year period is behind in all categories… but not by much.

The record against Michigan and in bowl games, as well as a lack of Big Ten championships,  is what really brings this decade down a notch. Read More

Day #7 is brought to you by the letter “G”

Written August 29th, 2009 by Jeff

Just think about it….one week from today we will be basking in the goodness that is The. Ohio. State. University. Football. Team.

Day #7 is brought to you by the letter “G”.

Ginn, Ted Jr.

The single greatest photo ever taken.  Period.

The single greatest photo ever taken. Period.

Gamble, Chris

The photo that pisses off an entire region of the United States.  Scoreboard.

The photo that pisses off an entire region of the United States.

Germaine, Joe

One of those "slow white guys" that John Cooper inherited....errrr, recruited.

One of those "slow white guys" that John Cooper inherited....ummmm, recruited.

Galloway, Joey

7 - Galloway

Greene, Cornelius

Even before the world was in color, we still bled scarlet

...and he still found time to host "Soul Train"

That’s a lot of guys wearing number 7 that played for Ohio State whose names started with the letter “G”.

And we didn’t even include 1980′s-era player Denman Gordon…..

Two players with those matching characteristics would be a mere coincidence.

Three players is strange.

Four players makes it interesting.

Five players makes it scary.

Six players proves the theory…….God is a Buckeye and he wears #7.

Bobby Olive, proud creator of miracles

Written August 28th, 2009 by Jeff

We have just 8 days to go, and for Day #8, I’d like to introduce a friend of mine.

Bobby Olive was a walk-on at The Ohio State University in 1988, and he quickly got a major role as a wide receiver under new head coach John Cooper.  And it wasn’t too long before Ohio State fans quickly adopted him as their new hero.

In Week 3 of his freshman season, LSU came to Columbus with a 14-game on-the-road winning streak.  The game was a battle through most of the first 3.5 quarters, but a lucky deflection gave LSU a 56-yard TD and a 33-20 lead with just under 4:30 to play in the game.  Tiger fans began to celebrate their victory.

But the LSU fans didn’t see the freight train coming.  Ohio State marched down the field and scored with 2 minutes left to make it 33-27.  It was then the defense’s turn to rise up, and they did their job.  They shut down two runs (followed by quick timeouts) and on 3rd and long, LSU threw incomplete.  On 4th down, the Tigers chose to retreat and take the safety, making it 33-29.

On the ensuing free kick, Olive took the ball at his own 32 and began racing up the middle.  At midfield, he made an amazing cut to his left and dodged three defenders before flying out of bounds at LSU’s 39.  Ohio Stadium was on fire with excitement!

Just a few plays later….well, why not watch it for yourself?  Courtesy of Our Honor Defend…..

The Buckeyes scored 16 points in under a minute and a half and they beat LSU 36-33.

But Olive wasn’t done with his heroics…..

Two years later, Ohio State was in Iowa City taking on the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes.  Iowa had visions of a Big Ten Championship and a National Championship (and they had the talent for both).

However, Iowa simply couldn’t put the Buckeyes away that day, and they barely led 26-21 with just over a minute to play.  QB Greg Frey (who was 10 of 31 before the final drive) took the Bucks down the field and brought them to the doorstep.  Then Olive did his thing one more time.

Again, courtesy of Our Honor Defend….

Olive went on the NFL and played for the Cleveland Browns before retiring after 5 seasons.

But we remember him fondly as a Buckeye, and today we honor him. Thanks, Bobby!

8 days left!!!

The hardest hit I have ever seen

Written August 15th, 2009 by Jeff

In 1989, I gathered with my best friend and his extended family to watch Ohio State play in the Hall Of Fame Bowl against Auburn. Bob and I had been friends for about four years, and we were inseparable when it came to Ohio state games.

The Buckeyes had a rough season, getting spanked three times by USC, Illinois, and since John Cooper was the head coach, Michigan.  In between they had managed to put together a six-game win streak and their 8-3 record was enough to get them into a coveted New Year’s Day bowl game (at the time, bowl games didn’t stretch into the second week of January).

Facing a better Auburn squad, we had high hopes but low expectations (which were accurate, as we lost 31-14), but midway into the second quarter we saw the hardest hit anyone will ever witness in college football.

On third and short, Auburn dropped back to pass.  Decent coverage forced the QB to go to his third option, which was RB Stacy Danley.  Danley had drifted off to the right side for a dump-off pass, and the pass was lobbed his way.

He was standing on the train tracks and he never saw Engine #21 coming at him at breakneck speed.

There isn’t a man, woman or child alive who doesn’t let out a yell the first time they see this clip of Zach Dumas smacking Danley to the ground. Admit it, you just said “oooohhhhhhhh” when you watched it, didn’t you?

Zach Dumas, that one hit has forever earned you a place in history. Today, you’re our hero for Day #21.

21 days until kickoff, Buckeye fans!

“Those who stay will still be losers”

Written August 13th, 2009 by Jeff

Back in the late 1960s, Michigan picked up a new head coach, some guy by the name of Schembechler. His coaching style irritated a lot of the people at Michigan. He worked his kids like dogs. Players left the team in droves.

But Bo had a method to his madness. He was going to whip these players into men. In the locker room, he erected a sign that proudly read “Those who stay will be champions”.

And then he went out and made those men into champions. Bo Schembechler was the greatest coach Michigan football has ever known, and probably ever will know. Those players who left the team became nothing more than a motto for his newer players, and he used their weakness to make the rest of the team stronger.

It was brilliance and it drove Woody Hayes insane.

Fast-forward to today.

Michigan just lost two more players to transfer, LB Marell Evans and DL Vince Helmuth have both announced their intent to transfer and will no longer be with the team.

How many players have now transferred out of Michigan since Rich Rodriquez took over as head coach? 10? 20? Seriously, does anybody know? And does Justin Feagin count, since he was only kicked off the team for selling cocaine to UM students?

The second season of RichRod hasn’t even begun yet, and Michigan fans are touting their fourth “star quarterback” of his era (five if you count Ryan Mallett). Every position has been hit by transfer and dismissal, and very few positive things have been said by the outgoing players.

The point is that these kids are not being worked to death by a great coach like Bo. These kids are simply not being given what they thought they were getting when they signed on at Michigan.

Rich Rodriquez is no Bo Schembechler, and the evidence of that keeps piling up.

Yes, Michigan has a weak schedule this year. Yes, they will likely win more than the 3 that they won last year. Yes, they will get better.

But if anybody thinks that the mass exodus that we are seeing now resembles the 1969 Michigan team, you’re sadly sadly mistaken. Clinging to the “but RichRod had a history of awesome second seasons” is not going to cut it.

His players know it, and you know it. The rest of the college football world knows it too.

But for some reason, the Michigan fans refuse to see the writing on the wall. By the time Jim Tressel has won 8 in a row against Michigan, they might be angry enough to see it too. Let’s hope they cling to Rodriquez as long as we clung to John Cooper.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen

Written August 2nd, 2009 by Jeff

Here at The BBC, we take great pleasure in mocking Michigan fans. For longer than I care to remember, they had the upper hand on us, having won 10 out of 13 games over Ohio State (thank you, John Cooper)…..and they were arrogant about it.

In my world, payback’s a bitch. So I have no qualms whatsoever about pointing out their feeble attempts to remain relevant in the college football world (and especially in The Rivalry).

The latest laugh I have had at Michigan fans involves their opener for the 2010 football season. When Michigan’s Athletic Department announced that a new opener was being signed to a contract, the denizens of Ann Arbor found themselves in a frenzy of joy. They actually labeled it as “a real opponent“, and Brian at MGoBlog rattled off a long list of teams that were possible and/or likely to be the mystery opponent. Among the potential opponents;

  • LSU
  • Cal
  • Oklahoma State
  • Georgia
  • Oregon State

All of them quality opponents with a lot to offer both Michigan and the college football world.  Any of these would be big, big news.

Imagine my laughter when the word escaped that the home-and-home BIG BIG announcement was that Michigan would open 2010 by playing host to…..Connecticut.

As an admittedly biased Ohio State fan, even I would begin to tout the benefits of playing Connecticut if the tables were turned….but the discussion has gone from biased fan to sycophantic worship in Wolverineville.

Today, the aforementioned Michigan blog actually posted the phrase “Kudos to Martin for scheduling the Huskies.” They struggled so hard to make it seem like Connecticut was THE best choice for Michigan football. Among the other “ZOMG this is teh AWESOME” points from that blog up north;

  • Praising UConn’s 34-29 record over the past five years, despite that barely-over .500 record being compiled in the Big East.
  • Having a 2-1 record in bowl games. They failed to mention who they defeated in bowls. Their wins? Against Buffalo in the International Bowl, and Toledo in the Glass Bowl. Wow.
  • They posted a picture of a player at Connecticut. That player doesn’t even play at UConn anymore.

But the most asinine comment of the day was used against Michigan fans who were reminding everyone that at least Ohio State plays USC and Penn State will play Alabama.

…it is far harder to schedule and defeat a big-name opponent in real life than it is in a video game (I note your examples of Alabama-Penn State, and Ohio State-USC and counter with the seven mediocre opponents that PSU and OSU combine for OOC this year).

You can “note” an example of USC all you want, guys…but guess who is among those “seven mediocre opponents” that MGoBlog is pooh-poohing???

Please take note that the previous game was played back when Sam McGuffie was still considered “tough”.

Actually, having re-watched that highlight of Michigan losing to Toledo (at home), maybe Michigan should have gone with an easier opponent. UConn might embarrass the Weenies after all.

John Cooper remembered – And NOT in a good way

Written July 20th, 2009 by Jeff

This morning, our old friends at Eleven Warriors published a brilliant piece on John Cooper and his recent induction in the College Football Hall Of Fame.

Of course, you can’t write a Cooper-based piece with using the numbers 2, 10, and 1. 11W did that. Sprinkled around the article is a list of Coop’s accomplishments, and The BBC will not argue with the fact that these feats qualify our former coach for the HOF.

But our disagreements about Cooper end there. I haven’t yet forgiven Coach for many of his failures and perhaps I still hold too much of a grudge….but my frustration with him hasn’t faded.

My freshman year at The Ohio State University was 1987. Earle Bruce had a team with minimal talent and he caught a few horrible breaks that year (seriously, a TD on 4th-and-23 to Iowa….in The Shoe). But four days after the administration fired Bruce, his team went up to Michigan Stadium and beat Bo Schembechler. With Greg freaking Frey taking snaps, no less.

My sophomore year was Cooper’s first year, and the season hadn’t even begun before Cooper’s heart was being questioned. I recall an article in The Lantern in which Cooper was openly mocking students who had casually reminded him that he shouldn’t be wearing a blue blazer around campus. Rather than run to complain to the student newspaper, he should have pulled aside any one of his assistant coaches or players and asked them why it was so important to ditch the blue (and/or maize) colored apparel.

When the season began, the first three games would tell you all you needed to know.

  • Game 1 – No turnovers, no penalties against the Bucks, as Ohio State laid waste to Syracuse on national TV
  • Game 2 – Travel to Pitt, give up 6 touchdowns to the Panthers and lose by more than 30 points.
  • Game 3 – Fall behind 33-20 to visiting LSU with 2 minutes to play, and pull off the miracle win.  They scored 16 points in less than 90 seconds and beat the Tigers 36-33.

The Buckeyes were schizophrenic under Cooper and when they finally captured some sort of consistency, it wasn’t the type of consistency we wanted to see.

John Cooper, during the off-season, was a brilliant recruiter and nobody could ever (and possibly will ever again) put together a team like he could.  Every amazing player you saw in the 1990s was brought to Columbus through the charm and brilliance of John Cooper.  Eddie George.  David Boston.  Orlando Pace.  Shawn Springs.  Joey Galloway.  Etc, etc, etc.

But where we may have been the most talented team on the field every single Saturday, that talent was often wasted with poor coaching decisions time and time again.  Let’s not forget…..

  • Sensation RB Robert Smith, who was chastized by the coaches for missing a practice….to attend class.  Smith’s well-publicized run-in with the coaching staff led to his leaving the Buckeyes prematurely.
  • The whole “I was left with a pack of slow white guys” whine-fest.
  • The day Cooper allowed the game to end early because of rain.  In 1990, trailing USC with just under three minutes to play, the Buckeyes began making a hasty exit for the locker room, followed by the Trojans team.  A sold-out stadium was left wondering what had happened until we were later told that the game had been called due to weather.  Cooper later told reporters that he didn’t want any players to be in danger from lightning.  He left no word about whether or not he was concerned about the 100,000 fans in attendance who had no opportunity to run to the locker room before their job was complete.
  • Two words.  Air F***ing Force.
  • In the 4th quarter of a tie game in Michigan territory, Cooper calls for Greg Frey…yes, Greg Frey…to run an option play. On 4th down. Seriously.  Having never run an option play before, the Buckeyes failed.  Michigan used a handful of plays to move the ball forward just enough to kick the game-winning field goal.
  • Following the huge victory over Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, reporters rushed in to get the first comment from Cooper.  Rather than praise his team, his first words were an attack on Buckeye fans, as he said “let’s see if that’s a big enough win for them”.  Classy, Cooper.
  • Cooper’s final game against South Carolina, when the team fell apart and lost all semblance of discipline.  After a series of cheap shots from Buckeye players, LB Joe Cooper was finally ejected for a late hit in the end zone. John Cooper’s career came to end with that woeful afternoon.

I could actually go on and on for a long time.  I’m sure you could too.  Cooper’s issues are a novel waiting to be written.

Eleven Warriors closes their article with “if you can’t at least bring yourself to recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did at Ohio State, then you’re either clueless, or hold irrationally long grudges. Neither is healthy.”

11W is right….Cooper deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame.  But let me be the first to stand up and say that while I recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did, I am not at all prepared to forgive him for the shame and humiliation brought upon us by him.

To this day, I still can’t figure out why we haven’t hired him to be a recruiter for Ohio State, and then put a restraining order on him every Saturday afternoon in the fall to prevent him from showing up at Ohio Stadium.