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Reflections, Post Fiesta Bowl
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The goal is achieved...Mike Doss is a National Champion

National Championship Reflections

2:00-2:55 AM     1/4/03

 

            First of all, let me say that it all comes from Woody.  Without him, Ohio State football might be Colorado or Georgia Tech.  No offense to them, they are fine programs that have each won a national title, but they are no top 10 all-time program.  OSU is.  I guess since Ohio is the football capital of the world and we practically invented football, Ohio State would have risen to the top...I just heard on the radio that Sid Gillman died.  Maybe he would have been the coach who led us to the top.  It's a shame he died before he got to see Ohio State win the national championship.  But Gillman was a passer who pioneered the Single Back offense.  Certainly, without Coach Hayes, it wouldn't be the same.  Thinking about the game tonight, Woody once said "Upset?  It's not an upset if the supposed underdog has felt they are the better team all along."  That was after he beat #1 Purdue with his #4 Bucks in 1968 en route to the national title.  The Boilermakers were led by QB Mike Phipps and HB Leroy Keyes.  A strong safety, Jack Tatum, played a legendary game and while Keyes had some success, the Purdue offense wasn't unstoppable--they were shut out 13-0.  Phipps was hit hard and had to leave the game.  The Bucks were 13 point underdogs.  Does any of this sound familiar?

            Woody also said after the 1969 Rose Bowl, "You didn't think our kids were going to let this slip away from them now, did you?"  The same can be said for the Buckeyes.  There were so many places where the Buckeyes could have rolled over.  They just kept fighting and scraping, and they won the whole thing.  Coach Hayes would be extremely proud of this team, they are his kind of team, a conservative, running offense with a great defense and great discipline.  This one is for Coach Hayes.

            Where are all of the doubters now?  They said that Jim Tressel was a minor league coach and that his I-AA national titles meant nothing.  Don't look so smart now.  I was always a Coach Tressel guy from the beginning.  Let's see.  Some wanted Glen Mason.  Glen Mason is a great man, he is a Buckeye, I love the guy.  But what in his record indicated that he was the right choice.  Sure, he'd turned around Kent, Kansas, and Minnesota, but he was unable to that his teams to the next level of consistent power.  While he'd have more resources at OSU, he was not a sure bet.  Walt Harris, Mike Belotti?  Passing oriented with no Ohio roots.  Lou Holtz?  Too old.  Not that he's not a great coach and has great Ohio credentials, but you want a coach who will bring stability and be there for 15 or 20 years.  Jon Gruden?  Intriguing, but it turned out to be a pipe dream.  Anyway, Coach Tressel now has a fifth overall national title, and a sixth for his family.

            Where are all of the people who said that Ohio State was no longer a powerhouse?  Where are the people who said OSU was the most overrated team in the top 25, then that they didn't deserve to play in the Fiesta Bowl, and then that they would be blow out?  Their silence is resounding.

            I just thought I would list the 13 seniors.  These guys had to put up with a whole lotta crap during their career.  Their records were 6-6, 8-4, 7-5 coming into this year.  Their bowls were none, Outback, Outback.  A coaching change midway through their careers.  Nothing to be ashamed of, but still, it's one of the worst 3 year stretches in the history of OSU football.  But then they go 14-0 and win the National Championship.  Jason Bond, Mike Doss, Cie Grant, Andy Groom, Scott Kuhnhein, Donnie Nickey, Kenny Peterson, Mike Stafford, David Thompson, Jack Tucker, Jeremy Uhlenhake, Chirs Vance, Matt Wilhelm.  They are true Buckeye heroes.

            But for now, all can be summed up: WE ARE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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David Thompson with Fiesta Bowl trophy