Sunday, May 1, 2011


Jon Gruden
COLUMBUS — Ever since the NCAA's "Notice of Allegations" were released by Ohio State last Monday, the "Fire Jim Tressel" campaign has found itself in Presidential impeachment mode.

It seems every talking head in the country has an opinion as to what the university should do if Tressel is hit hard by the NCAA for withholding information of player violations more than a year ago. The notice accused the Buckeyes head football coach of lying to the NCAA, something they don't ever take lightly — ask Dez Bryant and Bruce Pearl how forgiving they are about "dishonesty."

You would think the NCAA were ran by medieval priests or something.

Most folks think that Ohio State should fire Tressel for his actions. I am certainly not one of those people. I have stated before that although I feel he needs to be punished for his actions, I cannot call for his head like so many others, because in all honesty, I would've done the same thing.

He protected his players and decided to work things out in-house. It wasn't as if his players committed criminal acts or anything. They committed NCAA crimes, and when it comes to the NCAA, I am Billy "The Kid" — I do not recognize any laws which are enforced by an organization that doesn't have to pay its employees for their services. Huh, talk about "improper benefits."

But I'm not writing this today to determine whether or not the university will fire Tressel or not, I'm wanting to talk his potential replacement if they do decide for dismissal.

Many have tabbed former Florida head coach Urban Meyer as Tressel's eventual replacement. I'll pass, at least for a few years anyways, due to health concerns and potential infractions that may creep its head out from his days in Gainesville.

No, my vote to be the next football mentor at OSU is former Super Bowl winning coach and Ohio native, Jon Gruden. This man knows his football and has displayed it at the very highest level.

He also knows Ohio State football, how to develop young players, would be a menace on the recruiting trail with his infectious personality, and most importantly, he considers himself a Buckeye.

"I grew up in Ohio," Gruden said, following Ohio State's coaching clinic in Columbus. "My mom's from Ohio, my dad's from Ohio. My brother (Jay Gruden) just signed up with the Cincinnati Bengals, so I get excited about coming back to Ohio State.

"(Buckeyes legendary coach) Woody Hayes is a big reason I  got into coaching. He was my idol."

 He's also spent a lot of time with head coach Jim Tressel, quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano, and the team recently.

"I've been over at the facility from five in the morning until 11 at night," Gruden said.

He talked about current quarterback Terrelle Pryor's abilities, and even gave some tips on how to work with blue-chip freshman signal caller Braxton Miller, from Huber Heights (Oh.) — a player that would be Gruden's crowned jewel if he were to replace Tressel.

"I met Terrelle Pryor and got a chance to watch him," Gruden said. "I know he's injured right now and he's going through a lot, but he is a freak of nature. (Pryor) is really something with the ball in his hands. You can run the read-option, you can put in a pro-style passing attack with him. I think he's going to go through a lot (with the five-game suspension). He's going to miss football.

"It's important how he handles his idle time, but I like him a lot."

As for his thoughts on Miller ... "They've got a hotshot guy in here from Dayton, No. 5 is all I know. Braxton is his name," Gruden said of Miller. "He's pretty darn good, too."

Gruden said the Buckeyes must bring him along slowly if they want to get the most out of his abilities down the road.

"You just met Braxton, he just got here (at Ohio State)," Gruden said of how to handle Miller's progression. "He's really still a high school player. All of a sudden he's potentially going to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes early in the season. We've got to slowly implement our offense with him and teach him and let him gain some confidence along the way."

Who is this "we" Gruden is referring to?

FIVE BUCKEYES DRAFTED ... Ohio State had five players selected in the 2011 National Football League draft over the past three days.

Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward was selected in the first round (31st overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Saturday, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was selected by Oakland in the fourth round, safety Jermale Hines was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth, while linebackers Brian Rolle (Philadelphia) and Ross Homan (Minnesota) were taken in the sixth.

Offensive guard Justin Boren, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, tailback Brandon Saine and cornerback Devon Torrence were undrafted and will become free agents once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.