Is Jim Tressel Really Lloyd Carr?

carr-tressel-midfield-2006-425_featureWhile we gear up for the USC contest that will go down this Saturday night, a lot of the talk this week continues to be about Jim Tressel and the questionable decisions that went down this past weekend. 

One discussion that really got me thinking took place over at We Will Always Have Tempe.  Check it out below:

I’m not saying Jim Tressel is Lloyd Carr, but… what separates Lloyd Carr in say, 2002 or 2003, from Jim Tressel right now? This is a line of thought I’ve been seriously following for the better part of a year now.

Brian Cook from MGoBlog/TSB comes through on the same topic, with a little more support.

It is a little creepy: Michigan won a national title in ’97 and was a pretty regular BCS participant or threat for the next five years until Tressel came to town. Ohio State won a national title in ’02 and was a more consistent BCS participant/threat for the next five years.

Now, WWAHT phrased their sentiement with a bit of question regarding Ohio State’s ability to beat Toledo (at Cleveland Browns Stadium) the week following the USC contest, and neither Cook nor myself feel that this game will be much of an issue. 

But this begs to question, did Tress peak in 2002 with the National Championship?  Sure, the Buckeyes have made it back to the big game twice since, but do you have the same feeling that you did regarding Ohio State’s head coach back then?  

Or is this just a bit of overreaction due to some hair-pulling close wins coupled with some disappointing losses?  What say you?

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  • Glorious Basterd

    I’m not sure how to answer this question. So I’ll just post what I posted in “Tress owes us more” or whatever the title was…

    “I used to be a big Ohio State football fan. But for the past couple years I haven’t been able to stand Jim Tressel or the product he puts on the field. I have been asking for his job for a few years now. He just seems unable to play from behind (Nat Champ games and every other big game) and he doesn’t make the changes necessary during the game to be competitive in the second half of aforementioned games. For being such an ‘inspirational talent’ it seems like his teams come out flat after half. He’s a great guy and all; maybe he should start a book club like Oprah. He’s a good inspiration on how to live your life and he acts like a gentleman on and off the field. But I don’t think coaching is his calling. I’m not entirely sure how the whole recruiting season goes. But, if it’s permitted, maybe Tressel hangs up the headset, picks up a blazer and takes a job as an Athletic Director. If he is still allowed to recruit that would be the ideal position for him. He would also be able to impact the lives of non-football athletes. I’m not sure if A.D’s can or do recruit, but if they’re allowed OSU could promote him and go out and get a coach who is willing to do whatever is needed to win some football games…..

    “I’ve been giving that A.D. idea to my family and friends who are OSU fans and every time I do; they tell me I’m crazy. They swear that he’s a good coach. He may well be a good coach. But OSU football needs a Great coach to hope to win a National Championship game anytime soon. The college game is in a transition period and he is way behind in the progression.”

  • Denny

    In terms of the amount of respect I have for the two men, yes – Tress is like Lloyd Carr.

    In terms of football coaching, it’s hard to say. UM always seemed to be a bit lagging in terms of talent vs. results on the field. And look at where the Bucks are right now… loaded with talent but lacking in execution in big games.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out. I hope that Tress doesn’t end his career like Lloyd did, but leaving recruits questioning whether or not he’ll still be around. That was in my opinion the only thing Carr did that hurt UM – the cupboard was rather bare when he left, because recruiting took a hit.

  • Swig

    Before you throw him under the bus, don’t forget the phenomenal job he does recruiting. He has Ohio on lock-down, steals a couple players from rival states, and drags the occasional star from the south. IF you could find a better coach he would also have to match the recruiting ability or we’d be losing less important games because of a talent gap.

  • http://none Buckeye Fan in the South

    Not a good coach? I am not sure about that. Lost some big games? Yes and flat out hammered in a number of them. Better coach out there for this team? Not sure right now. He has cleaned up the program for the most part, giving us winning seasons with Big Ten titles, top 5/10 recruiting classes, and a product that gets Buckeye Nation something to cheer for. Not to mention Michigan on a platter. No one complained about the offense when Troy Smith was running it. Pryor needs to show that he can do it all before Tressel will open it up. Am I always happy with how games play out? No. I think they let off the gas way to much with a lead. Is that Tressel’s fault. Maybe so, but I would like to think that getting more guys rotated in is his overall plan. Again I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t want to get back to getting owned by Michigan and have those what could have been seasons. I also don’t want to read every college football site and have something about a Buckeye getting paid or arrested. Leave that to the SEC schools. Is that getting them National Championships? Maybe so, but there is more to life than that. Ask Florida State how scandals have wrecked their program. Maybe even ask Miami. The Big Ten will be back. These things run in cycles. Most of the top coaches out there right now are from where? OHIO. Styles vary. Teams vary. Talent varies. I am pretty happy that our primary target is in state kids.

    Who is a great coach that we could land? Urban? Stoops? I don’t want a Great coach if it means dragging the university and program through the mud. I am proud of this school, what it offers, the tradition and Tressel from raising the bar. We have become so used to winning that now we only want one thing each year and that is becoming harder and harder every year for each school, not just OSU. We will see what Florida does next year without Tim Tebow. Will there be a Philip Rivers affect down there too? It’s football.

    Stoops is worse in big games than Tressel but I don’t hear any calls for his job. I don’t hear ESPN trashing the Sooners for big losses.

    Go Bucks! Beat USC. If they don’t, then win the Big Ten – Beat Penn State and most of all – BEAT MICHIGAN!

    We will continue to support the team no matter what. Most people didn’t stop liking the Bucks because they hated Cooper!?
    Bring on Miami,FL 2010/11.
    Cal 2012/13
    Virginia Tech 2014/15
    Oklahoma 2016/17
    Tennessee 2018/19

  • DocZeus

    The fool that fires Jim Tressel deserves to never work in collegiate sports, again.

  • Mike Mayer

    If he wins on Saturday, all of this talk goes away. If he loses, the doubt will reach its peak.

  • RockKing

    IMO, topics like this are a joke. How quickly people can forget what the Ohio State football program was before Jim Tressel got here. When Tressel got here, his first priority was to lock up the state from a recruiting standpoint, and he was more successful at doing that than either Earle Bruce or especially John Cooper ever were.

    After a while, though, the talent started drying up in Ohio a bit relative to Florida, Texas, and California. Tressel realized this 2 years ago, and changed OSU’s recruiting philosophy. We still get almost any recruit we want in state, but more importantly, Tressel has re-opened the pipelines to Florida and Pennsylvania. We’re beginning to see some action in recruiting Texas (JB Shugarts, for example), and even are cracking the door open in California with the likes of Joshua Shaw showing interest in OSU.

    After years of mediocre recruiting, OSU has now pulled in consecutive top 5 classes. As we see that kind of talent make its way on to the field, you’ll see a difference in performance. If you consider the rather lackluster recruiting classes OSU had, but then look at how many guys still made it to the NFL, how can you question Jim Tressel’s ability to develop talent and to coach young men?

    Tressel has lost a total of 19 games in 8 seasons (84-19), is 4-4 in bowl games, 3-3 in BCS bowl games (yes, that’s 6 BCS appearances in 8 years), 1 national championship, 5 Big Ten titles, 7-1 against Michigan, only OSU coach to EVER win 5 straight against Michigan, only coach to ever 7 of his first 8 against UM, and is 2nd to only Woody in wins against Michigan. And people want OSU to get rid of the guy??? Give me a break. Anyone calling for Jim Tressel’s job is an embarrassment to the OSU football family. Not only does Jim Tressel recruit well and win at higher rate than any other coach in OSU’s history, but he also represents the University with pride, dignity, and class. He makes me proud to be a Buckeye and proud to have him overseeing this football program that means so much to me.

  • Ike

    The best thing Tressel can do for himself and Gene Smith is to win Saturday or lose in close fashion. Another OSU beatdown and Buckeye fans will have had enough. And, like I said yesterday, it would be justified.

  • Swig

    but he [Tressel] also represents the University with pride, dignity, and class. He makes me proud to be a Buckeye and proud to have him overseeing this football program

  • steve

    I would let tressel coach as long as he pleases.

    the man is just good for the university.

  • tom

    to criticize tressel for “not winning big games” assumes that any old coach would have OSU in position to be in all those big games in the first place. i think not! is it better to consistently be in big games, but come up short, or consistently not be good enough to get into those big games but win second or third level bowl games?

  • billlegarm

    My biggest frustration with Ohio State (and by association, Tressel) is they should be the USC of the midwest – a team that dominates a bad conference and is similarly an unquestioned national power.

    I agree with Rock that the next wave of talent is coming and Tressel has adjusted his recruiting philosophies. You can’t beat teams from the south without talent from the south, and Tressel has started to get them.

    Remember this: If you’re 18 years old, are you going to play football and (sporadically) attend college in Los Angeles (where USC is their pro football team), Florida or Ohio? The fact that Tressel is beginning to compete in these other states is a testament to his recruiting ability. If he doesn’t win a national title with Pryor, then I’m asking questions…but let’s wait to make that judgment in a year or two.

  • Realism

    Some of you guys are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve watched many of the commentors on this forum continuously make excuses for the Indians every time they get rid of one of their top players, yet you’ll call for the head of the most successful sports program this state has fielded in decades, if not ever.

    Quit buying into the media perception of how tOSU can’t compete in big games, rolls over, etc. In the last four combined seasons, the Buckeyes have lost exactly one game (Illinois 2007) they were supposed to win. I doubt that can be said for any other program in college sports (except for maybe Duke football, since they’re not supposed to win ANY games). During that time they were blown out twice: once by Florida, when they lacked their best offensive weapon, and once by USC, when they lacked their best offensive weapon. (And don’t even bring up LSU. Anyone who calls a two TD loss in a home game for the opponent in which you out-gained your opponent, yet gave them a TD on a stupid roughing the kicker penalty, and shanked a field goal is a fool).

    Look, OSU has its flaws, as all sports programs do. The team I saw Saturday against Navy did not look capable of beating USC, if they truly did show their cards. We can all discuss that. But to beat this down horse and call for Tressel’s sweater vest while having the audacity to defend the Indians’ ownership is absolute sports absurdity.

  • Realism

    *dead horse

  • Thunder Dan

    [i]Tressel has lost a total of 19 games in 8 seasons (84-19), is 4-4 in bowl games, 3-3 in BCS bowl games (yes, that’s 6 BCS appearances in 8 years), 1 national championship, 5 Big Ten titles, 7-1 against Michigan, only OSU coach to EVER win 5 straight against Michigan, only coach to ever 7 of his first 8 against UM, and is 2nd to only Woody in wins against Michigan. [/i]

    Well said. Not to mention a record of 103-27-2 for the 1990s with four championships at Youngstown State.

    So yeah, he is obviously a terrible football coach and THE Ohio State University could do much better.

  • guyritz

    —Anyone calling for Jim Tressel’s job is an embarrassment to the OSU football family.—

    as somewhat of an outsider, and definitely not an OSU fan (Irish through and through), i agree wholeheartedly with RockKing. Tressel has been great for OSU… i’d guess that all but about 5-10 schools in the country would glady swap for him without even a second thought.

  • ben


    Questions like this, while worthy of being asked, are overreactions to a few (massive) losses on the biggest of big stages. And to be fair, everyone is destroyed by USC and Florida. Everyone else in those same games would have been faced with the slight chance for victory as tOSU.

    But these are the questions that are going to be naturally asked when a program is as nationally noteworthy as tOSU and when there are 6 days in between games where we need to talk about something.

  • billlegarm

    Realism, are you saying they weren’t supposed to beat Florida? I seem to recall them all but being crowned national champs by most media outlets before that game even kicked off.

    And I’m sorry, but you can’t just write off a 35-3 loss to USC because you didn’t have your best offensive weapon. You’re best offensive weapon wasn’t scoring you 32 points. Ohio State got their embarrassed in that game, no bones about it…and you can’t score 6 points at home against Penn State.

    To say Ohio State has only lost one game they were supposed to win is laughable, because Ohio State should beat anybody in the Big Ten…it’s a bad conference. And no elite program goes into games with other elite programs thinking they shouldn’t win, therefore, the losses to Florida, Texas, LSU, USC and Penn State are in fact serious shortcomings.

  • Realism

    Correct, billlegarm. What you recall is the poll standings early on. By the week of the game, most national pundits said Florida would win that game.

    I never wrote off any loss. But throw any program into USC without their best player and tell me what will happen. Take Tebow out of Florida last season, stick the Gators in LA and tell me the results. 35-3? Probably not, considering the Gators did go on to win the national championship. But they would have lost convincingly.

    Don’t you see that you’re structuring your debate to fit the mold that Tressel is to blame? You’re criticizing the team’s loss, then looping through to criticize them for “too few” points, even though they almost won. Heck, when they beat #2 Michigan at home in 2007, you were probably one of the guys criticizing them at that point too, because they gave up too many points. If your goal is to criticize a team, you can always find a way to. That’s what I despise about sports pundits today, as well as people like yourself.

    No one said they should go into any games thinking they shouldn’t win. But to rip OSU for losing in a close game to a Texas team that was supposed to smash them isn’t exactly logical.

    I take it you’re one of those guys supporting the Indians. Either that, or you just have something against OSU. Either way, I dare you to name another program that has the same accomplishments and less shortcomings in as many years at ANY level.

  • zoss

    @billlegarm “the losses to Florida, Texas, LSU, USC and Penn State are in fact serious shortcomings.”

    You have to be kidding me. Those programs, along with OSU, are the elite college football programs in nation. To say that not winning all of those are serious shortcomings is ridiculous. We have beat Texas, Penn State, and have a chance to beat USC this saturday. National powerhouses are going to lose to other national powerhouses, not everyone can win every game. As RockKing pointed out, Tressel has done an excellent job with this program and has exceeded most of our expectations. If they asked you when we got rid of cooper would you take a national championship along with a 7-1 record vs michigan in Tressels first 8 years you would have gave him a life long contract.

    As far as OSU being the USC of the Midwest – USC loses just as many Pac-10 games as OSU loses Big 10 games. It seems almost every year that they have a scare with oregan state or stanford.

    Let’s all just ease off Tressel and enjoying following a team that is capable of winning it all (unlike the browns and tribe)

  • Brad

    I think the change that had the biggest impact since Tressel came to OSU was when Dantonio left for Cincinnati. When he was the defensive coordinator those units were among the best in the country and basically carried OSU to that national championship in 2002. Since then it seems the talent level hasn’t dropped but the on-field performance has just never been the same, and it’s killed them in those title games.

    It’s an unfortunate byproduct of success – the assistants start to get raided by bigger opportunities at other schools, and staffs start to lose those key recruiters. Carr was fumbling through coordinators his last few years and never found anyone capable to fill the OC and DC positions. Tressel seems to now love this co-coordinator setup (at least on defense) – but is the lack of a true lead coordinator hurting that unit?

  • Denny

    DING DING DING!!! Brad’s got it.

    The biggest issue I have with Tress is his loyalty to his guys. The O-line underperforming and the defense not being dominant like the Snyder/Dantonio days make me think we need better position coaches. Who would those current coaches be? Bollman (rumored to be leaving after this year) and Heacock. Get a young, firey guy in there (Fickell is the current co-D-coordinater) and let them get the guys fired up.

    A great D-coordinator and O-coordinator would do wonders.

  • RockKing

    Yeah, I’m not saying it’s not fair to criticize Tressel at all. I think he definitely has some staff who need to go. But, in a world of trade offs, I would rather deal with those issues and still have Tressel be the coach of this team than lose Tressel as coach, but thus have new position coaches.

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  • Mike SMith

    Lets Make some changes in the staff and coach, john cooper team won the championship , are poor buckeye players have no heart

  • CapGG

    I been spouting about the assistant coaches since around the LSU game. First, let me say, I LOVE being in a position to be playing in the big games year in, year out. But I agree with Brad & Denny, the problem is the coordinators.

    They are not bad coaches, but they clearly are not getting the job done. If you remember back in the early ’00s, OSU lost Dantonio, Snyder, and Tucker in like 3 consecutive years. Have they lost any since?

    That’s a problem. We’ve played in 2 MNC games in the last 3 years and no one wants our top assistants? What does that say?

    Tressel will not fire those guys (he’s like Woody in that way), but those guys have to know what’s best for the program at some point and extricate themselves. It’s time to replace the old guard with some younger, hungrier coaches.

  • TMD

    Things started to go downhil after we lost the National Championship game to Florida. Ginn went down and Tressel had no adjustment to make. We no longer had any speed on the field.

    Tressel’s game plan has always been to put together a solid game plan and let extremely talented players implement it no matter what opponents attempt. It doesn’t matter if he has 6 weeks to prepare or 4 days, his game plan does not change during the game. Adjustments be damned!

    This is why weird one-offs like Navy give the Bucks trouble, Tressel simply doesn’t properly plan for an opponent, he only plans for his team. His skill as a recruiter and a leader mean that he will win much more often than he loses, but when he coms up against a team with near the same talent level and a more adjustable game plan, he always seems outmatched.

  • Jeff

    Tressel is a great coach and leader and OSU is lucky to have him! Every year we are in the hunt for a national championship, and the Big10 title. Most of you “fans” have become spoiled and want more and more.

    OSU will win Saturday and win easy. No true freshman QB is going to come into the shoe and come away with a win. Barkley is going to see things he’s never seen before on a football field. Tressel and Heacock have been preping for this game all summer. Barkley looked great last weekend in USC’s victory , because he could stand in the pocket with “no pressure” and complete passes all day . Thats not going to happen here.

    USC has some great talent , but so does OSU, we’ve put all most the same amount of talent in the NFL as they have over the last 5 years. Meanwhile they have more big time recruits than we do. That should tell you who does a better job developeing talent.

    OSU is bringing HELL with it saturday night , Matt Barkley, you better “watch out”.

    PS This is a young OSU team, the roster is littered with soph, and JR’s. The 2010 buckeye team is going to be unbelievablly fun to watch.

    Go Bucks!

  • Denny

    Win and win easy? Reality called, it hasn’t seen you in a few years and is starting to getting worried.

  • enginerd

    I believe most of the games in 2002 were close – especially against Cincinnatti. So, close game are not a valid argument.

    What are the chances Tress treated this as a preseason game and tried not to reveal anything to USC?

  • bert

    Whoops OSU lost. Tressel needs to go. He will continue to suffer to SEC teams and will eventually have similar results as Michigan’s offence transitions.

  • Tim

    Tressel does not need to go. He is, in my opinion the best head coach in college football. Unfortunately, what separates him from Carroll, Meyer and even Saban is that he refuses to get a genuine offensive coordinator and stop calling the plays. He needs to continue to oversee the entire operation including recruiting and stop being a control freak about play calling. If he gives up the reigns on controlling the offense, we will win a national championship every other year or at least be in the game 3 out of 5 years in my opinion and playing competitively with the likes of USC and Florida year in and year out. If we have an offensive coordinator, we sneak Pryor on 3rd and less than a yard and we run the clock out at the end of the second quarter. If we had done those things, the defense carries the day in the second half for sure. Those seven points would have given us the victory. Sorry, but his refusal to get an offensive coordinator cost us that game. We win otherwise.