Ohio State Fans Ready to Embrace Future
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a year of turmoil in Columbus, Ohio State fans appear ready to move on, even if it means passing up a chance to go back.
According to a poll conducted by The-Ozone over the past week, more OSU fans would rather the program be where it is now than erase all of the turbulence and restore things to the way they were before Dec. 2010.
Participants were given two options:
- Keep the past year of turmoil surrounding Ohio State, along with the current future under Urban Meyer.
- Erase all the turmoil and wake up tomorrow with Jim Tressel back on the sidelines.
Nearly 2,000 votes were cast, and while it wasn’t an overwhelming majority, there was a clear winner as 57 percent of the votes went to answer 1. Despite the powerful allegiance many have shown to coach Tressel, it would appear most Ohio State fans are ready to stand behind their new coach, Urban Meyer, rather than holding on to the past.
“I was a big support of Jim Tressel but as this unfolded I realized a change was needed and needed now,” said Ron James, an Ozone reader who participated in our poll.
“He made a very bad decision and tried so hard to cover for the ‘Tat5,’ that he lost his compass of right and wrong.”
James also believes that Tressel’s style of play and allegiance to offensive assistants like Jim Bollman and Nic Siciliano had begun to produce a “stale product” in Columbus.
“With (Brady) Hoke ramping it up, it would have been a quick slide to being behind (Michigan),” James supposed.
“The Big Ten really is not a great conference and we were fooled by racking up Big Ten championships. (Tressel) did keep us in the top 10 and deserves a lot of praise and glory, but he had depreciated to the point of no return.”
Not everyone who participated in the poll was ready to agree with James. In fact, more than 700 participants actually voted to erase the past if it meant sparing Ohio State a year’s worth of agony, along with the reputation of a respected head coach.
That includes one member of The Ozone Forum named John who goes by the handle “syko” on the message board.
“I bet the majority will vote to accept the turmoil and have Urban. I understand that thinking, but I hate that OSU was dragged through the muck and both the university and Coach Tressel are now perceived as lying, cheating scumbags on a par with the SEC,” he said.
“I hate that more than anything. But maybe I also hate the perception that you can't be a good guy and win. I had Tressel on such a pedestal, that it's still hard for me to accept that it went so wrong so fast. I'm voting against the majority.”
John said he would take Tressel back today without thinking twice, even if it meant bringing back the old offensive staff, play-calling and offensive line recruiting philosophies.
The poll was not intended to be a divisive lightning rod which forced Ohio State fans to choose between two beloved coaches. One option we considered was allowing participants a third choice so that they would not be forced to make a black and white choice between Tressel and Meyer.
That option would have allowed fans to pick Answer No. 2, with one stipulation. They could erase the scandal that plagued Ohio State during 2011 and keep Tressel as the head coach in Columbus, but he would be forced to replace the majority of his offensive staff and hand over play-calling duties to an offensive coordinator.
Ultimately, we decided that option was too far-fetched, even for a poll offering fans a chance to change the past. And for many, that was the deciding factor in voting for Tressel or Meyer.
“I love Coach Tressel and I appreciate what he was able to do in terms of restoring the program to dominance including the national crown,” one participant said.
“However, given what we now know regarding what I deem to be ineptitude on the offensive staff (in Tressel's absence), there is no question it was time for a change.”
He went to say that the program was in such a malaise with the handling of Braxton Miller, offensive line recruiting and ‘simpleton play-calling’ that it was just the right time for a change.
“Urban Meyer was just what the Dr. ordered at Ohio State,” he added.
“He is the attitude injection we need within this program. I don't think we'll see a drop-off in wins rather we'll see a team with a ramped up aggression, accountability, and purpose. Personally, I look forward to the coming years of Ohio State football under Urban Meyer. Tressel did great things, but I think we're only going to get better with Coach Meyer.”
That seems to be the common sentiment amongst Ohio State fans who cannot wait to see what Meyer will bring to the program. There is infinite excitement over the way he closed out the 2012 recruiting class and over the offense he and Tom Herman plan to implement in the spring.
It still wasn’t easy for some Buckeye fans to turn down a chance to have their beloved Sweater Vest back in scarlet and gray.
“I am very excited about the future and feel Urban was a homerun hire, maybe better than JT was. Though I doubt his numbers will be able to better JT's,” said Rob, a Sylvania native who goes by ‘rcp08’ on The-Ozone Forum.
“I'm not one who feels JT did some noble fall on the sword thing. I think he got caught up in something that got a whole lot bigger than he hoped or thought. I still believe he was a man of character, and that is reason number one why I voted how I did. His character has taken a huge blow and that bothers me.”
It also bothered Rob that Ohio State took a huge blow to its image from the fallout surrounding Tressel’s forced resignation. Erasing all of that and restoring Tressel’s image would be more than enough for Rob, and others who voted with him.
“I think a lot of people, now that he's gone, forget how great a run we had with him,” Rob said of Tressel.
“All that said, I can’t wait to see the new era. The recruiting has been exciting, and I’m sure the new offense will be exciting. I can’t wait.”
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