Thinking Out Loud: The Return of BCast
By Brandon Castel
Good morning and Happy Monday to my favorite people on the planet. All right, maybe that was a little over the top, but you know what they say, right? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or something cheesy like that.
For those who had enjoyed having Gerd all to themselves for the last month, I’m sorry to disappoint but you’re not going to get rid of me that easily. It took a few weeks, but I finally know how Urban Meyer felt after he left Florida. At first, it’s nice to exhale and relax for a moment. There aren’t many of those in coaching, and sports writing can tend to be the same way at times. The nonstop grind can wear a guy out after a few years, but I’m feeling refreshed and ready to step back over the white line.
We’re right in the thick of summer doldrums, but there are always plenty of interesting things going on with Ohio State, especially when Gordon Gee is involved. The football season is still a few months away, but there were a number of things that had me Thinking Out Loud in my return to The Ozone.
The Incomparable Gordon Gee
In all reality, I could have dedicated this entire column to Elwood Gordon Gee, but Patrick Murphy already did a great job explaining why the combination of Gee’s age and candor made him such a beloved figure at Ohio State. Tony Gerdeman also wrote an excellent piece on how America’s sense of humor may have died with Seinfeld.
Photo by Jim Davidson
While he’s probably right, Gee is never-the-less stepping down from his post as university president at Ohio State following some questionable comments about Catholics and The South. Knowing Gee from my years as a student and covering the Ohio State beat, those comments were undoubtedly said tongue-in-cheek, just as Gerdeman suggests in his article.
At this point, anyone who takes Gee seriously when he says these types of comments probably didn’t understand Arrested Development either, but that’s kind of the point. If Gee held any other position at Ohio State, his humorous take on life would probably be embraced by all of us who learned to stop taking ourselves too seriously. But Gee is the president of the university, and one of his primary responsibilities is to make sure Ohio State is viewed in the best light possible.
In my opinion, Gee’s comments were over the top, but ultimately harmless. Catholics and SEC fans who were offended by them need to relax and enjoy life a little bit, but Gee’s decision to retire was the right one at the right time. He’s not a stand-up comedian, he’s a university president, and at this point in his life, Gee doesn’t have enough of a filter to carry on in such a high profile position. He had brought a little too much negative attention to Columbus over the past 4-5 years and it was simply time for a change.
Thankfully, we know one thing that won’t change is Elwood himself. Always keep it interesting, Dr. Gee.
Bye Bye Boom
Photo by Jim Davidson
It’s not exactly breaking, but the departure of linebacker David “Boom” Perkins has been one of the bigger storylines this summer. That says a lot about the news cycle this summer, but I guess that’s better than last year when Ohio State fans had to worry about Jordan Hall’s lacerated foot and the infamous Memorial Tournament Urine Gate controversy involving Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort. It’s amazing that team still found a way to go undefeated after such an eventful offseason.
I can’t say I was stunned by Perkins decision to leave, even though he was getting first team reps with the OSU defense in the spring. This is a kid who always seemed to follow the rhythm of his own drum. Remember, he is a kid from South Bend, Ind. who committed to play for Notre Dame before his junior season.
Based on Urban Meyer’s comments, it’s pretty obvious he didn’t like the idea of possibly spending another two years behind Ryan Shazier at the Will Linebacker spot and he decided it was the right time to make a move. It’s a shame kids don’t have a little more patience. The fact he was playing first-team WLB in the spring while Shazier was out suggests Meyer and Luke Fickell had high hopes for the sophomore linebacker. If you’re already second-string at Ohio State as a true sophomore, chances are high that you will get a chance to show what you can do at some point. Unfortunately for Boom, he wasn’t willing to wait his turn.
Meyer Gets His Guy?
I was out with a couple friends on Friday night when a buddy of mine texted me; he wanted to know who in the world this Stephen Collier was and why Urban Meyer was recruiting two-star quarterbacks. In all fairness, this buddy of mine, an Ohio State graduate who lives in Wisconsin now, doesn’t follow the day-to-day intimacies of OSU recruiting. Then again, even Michael Chung wrote that Collier came out of nowhere to become the first, and possibly only, quarterback commit for the Buckeyes in the class of 2014.
Collier recently won the QB MVP at the Nike Football Training Camp tour in Atlanta, so it’s not like he came completely out of nowhere, but he certainly wasn’t on everyone’s radar a month ago when I was working as the full-time beat reporter for The Ozone. The name was one I didn’t recognize immediately, but Collier has been on Ohio State’s watch list since back in April when Tom Herman went down to Georgia to check him out.
The 6-4, 200-pound quarterback didn’t have the kind of offer list (Boston College, Cincinnati, Marshall, Wake Forest, and Harvard) we probably expected from whoever Meyer and Herman were going to bring in as the quarterback in this year’s class, but Collier told Michael Chung he was also hearing from Alabama and Auburn. He also told Michael the Ohio State coaches assured him that he’s their guy at quarterback, but that might change if Deshaun Watson ever decides to really give them another look.
Watson is the guy Meyer has coveted since day one, but all of their recruiting efforts down in Georgia may have led them to one of the bigger sleepers in the state. He is headed to the Elite 11 QB camp in Oregon later this month and seems to be a high character kid who isn’t afraid of competition. I would still be a little surprised if this was the end of the road for Ohio State’s quarterback recruiting in 2014.
Coop to the Hall?
It seems strange to think John Cooper is probably a better fit for the College Football Hall of Fame than he is for the one at Ohio State. Does that make sense? He won 111 of his 192 games while he was in Columbus, so it’s going to require a little outside the box thinking to follow where I’m going with this.
Without those 111 wins, Cooper isn’t a part of any hall of fame, but his overall accomplishments seem much more deserving of his 2008 College Football Hall of Fame induction than his recent addition to the Ohio State ‘Varsity O’ family of elite athletes and coaches who have worn the scarlet and gray.
Cooper was also inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame last December, having won the Granddaddy of Them All with both Arizona State (1986 season) and Ohio State (1996 season). He also had moderate success at Tulsa before he took the ASU job back in 1985. The Golden Hurricanes were 10-1 under Cooper in ’82, but they were just 14-8 his last two seasons in Tulsa.
His tenure with the Sun Devils out in the desert lasted all of three seasons, with the big one being the 10-1-1 season of 1986. There’s a commonly accepted belief that Cooper’s 22-15 win over Michigan in the ’87 Rose Bowl played an important role in Ohio State’s decision to tab Cooper as Earle Bruce’s replacement in 1988. Of course every fanatical Ohio State follower knows Coop struggled against That School Up North more than any coach in the previous 50 years of OSU football.
Backtracking for a moment, Coop was 81-41-2 when he took the job in Columbus. That included back-to-back bowl wins at Arizona State, and his final numbers look great on paper. He was more than 100 games over .500 for his career with two Rose Bowl wins and a Sugar Bowl victory over Texas A&M. He sent more college stars to the NFL during the mid 1990s than any coach in school history, and yet that’s really the entire laundry list of Cooper’s accomplishments in Columbus.
He had three 11-win seasons back when they were only playing 12 games a year. Twice the Buckeyes finished No. 2 in the country under Cooper, but both seasons will always be remembered more for what they could have been. The 1996 team cruised through the first 10 games of the season, knocking off No. 5 Notre Dame in South Bend, No. 4 Penn State and No. 20 Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. They waxed Pittsburgh 72-0 which Mark May still hasn’t gotten over, and all signs pointed to the team’s first national championship in a quarter century. They even had The Game at home, but the Buckeyes blew a 9-0 halftime lead against Brian Griese, who connected with Tai Streets on a 68-yard touchdown in the first minute of the second half. It was all down hill from there, with Remy Hamilton drilling a pair of field goals to give Michigan a 13-9 victory in Columbus.
1998 was the infamous Michigan State loss, and again the No. 1-ranked, undefeated Buckeyes blew a halftime lead at home in one of the most painful defeats in recent school history. We won’t force anyone here to relive that day, which will certainly live in infamy.
Cooper finished his Ohio State career with a 2-10-1 record against the hated Wolverines. He probably would have been fired after the 1994 season if he hadn’t managed to pull off his first victory in seven tries against those guys from up north. He also lost his first four bowl games, and seven of 10 overall during his 13 seasons in Columbus. It’s easy to look at the big picture of his final resumé, along with the fact Coop was generally a very likable guy, but his career in Columbus was defined more by disappointment than anything else.
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