Bucknotes: Tress To Colts? Why Not

(Editor’s Note: I began doing my Bucknotes column on Bucknuts in April of 2002. Hard to believe it’s almost been 10 years. And I plan on getting back to writing more columns, which is good news or bad news for you depending on how you look at it.)

Well then, this “Jim Tressel-to-the-Indianapolis-Colts-as-head-coach” thing is picking up steam seemingly by the minute.

When the idea was first brought to light, it was written off as a garbage rumor by the vast majority of football fans. I’ll admit: I also thought it was complete bunk. However, it’s clear the former Ohio State head coach isn’t just getting a courtesy look from the Colts and owner Jim Irsay.

Friday evening, sportscaster Beau Bishop of Ch. 10 in Columbus reported that Tressel had received his second interview with the Colts. Second interviews aren’t given to people who aren’t serious candidates. Also, to my knowledge, Tressel is the only person that has received a second interview for the Colts’ head coaching position.

There are rumors that the Colts wanted Jeff Fisher – who ended up becoming the St. Louis Rams’ head coach – but Irsay shot that down. (Which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Lying is usually the rule of the day when it comes to what people say publicly regarding coaching hires.)

No matter how it transpired, it would be easy to make the argument that right now, Tressel is the leading candidate in Indianapolis. I don’t have a source telling me that; it’s just the way it feels after gathering all the information available.

And if it happens, I’ll be thrilled for Tressel and there’s no question he’s qualified for the job.

In fact, I’m taken aback by all the people saying that “it would be a joke” if Tressel is hired. Said people are quick to forget a few things:

* Tressel has phenomenal resume as a head coach. People tend to focus on his 10-year career at Ohio State, which was excellent. However, he also won four I-AA national championships at Youngstown State, a program that did nothing before he arrived or after he left. Four national titles! He also got the Penguins to the title game six times.

So, in his 25 combined years at OSU and YSU, Tressel won five national championships and appeared in a total of nine national title games. Yeah, that guy sucks! What NFL team would want anything to do with a loser like that?

* The NFL doesn’t care about minor stuff like Tress covering up for his players while at OSU. Jimmy Johnson wasn’t quite the saint at the U of Miami. I’d say he did pretty well in the NFL.

I certainly don’t expect Tress to be as successful as Johnson if he gets the job, but he’s unquestionably qualified enough to get a shot. Cam Cameron was more qualified than Jim Tressel to be an NFL head coach? Jim Caldwell was? Todd Haley was? Josh McDaniels was?

* And I don’t just want to use examples of guys that failed to prove my point. (Again, the point is that Tress is qualified enough to deserve a chance. I’m not making the argument he will go down as some elite NFL head coach.)

Not many people had heard of Mike Tomlin before he was hired. I remember some Steeler fans questioning his credentials. Worked out pretty well. John Harbaugh was the Ravens’ second-choice at best (they originally offered the job to Jason Garrett) and he never even had experience as a coordinator. He was a special teams coach when he was hired by the Ravens as head coach. Worked out pretty well.

And as great as Jim Harbaugh is doing with the 49ers, are you going to tell me his resume as a college head coach was more-impressive than Tressel’s? Exactly.

* The Tressel hate is amazing. There is no arguing that the guy has proven he’s a great head coach at the collegiate level. I do understand how some would question whether he’d do well as an NFL head coach, but based on his resume, he’s clearly ready for the challenge.

He would need to hire good offensive and defensive coordinators (and actually allow the OC to run the offense) and I'm sure that is exactly what Irsay is telling him. That would definitely be part of the deal if Tress is hired. And I would submit that one would be hard-pressed to find a better "CEO" for a football team, which is exactly what you need to be to some extent as a head coach in the NFL. Again, I have no idea if Tressel would be a good or even great NFL head coach, but I have no doubt that his resume far outshines that of several coaches that have been given shots at NFL HC gigs in recent years.

I hope he gets the job. Now the waiting game begins.

Skip To Comments

Already have an account? Sign In