As the college football season inches closer, one thing will be drastically different in the Big Ten and in Columbus. A white haired coach sporting a sweater vest will be missing from their sidelines. Jim Tressel resigned as head coach of Ohio State in the face of a major scandal that sent shockwaves through the country. Since his resignation Tressel hasn’t spoken much about what went down at Ohio State and he still really didn’t say much in this interview either, but after listening I didn’t get the sense that Tressel actually realizes what he did was wrong. Obviously he seems sorry that he got caught and will no longer be the Buckeyes’ head coach. I’m sure he’s also sorry for embarrassing the program, but he has yet to really own up to the fact that he lied and he cheated by knowingly and willingly playing ineligible players. Until that happens, I will always have a different view of the Vest than the one that he worked so hard to manufacture during his time in Columbus.
Jim Tressel joined ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland with Tony Rizzo to talk about how weird it will be for him to have Saturdays off, what he would like to say to the fans, whether or not he regrets how he treated Terrelle Pryor and the things he did for him, on him going against the things that he has written in his book, if he would like to coach again, and whether or not he would change anything if he had the opportunity.
How weird it will be for him to have Saturday’s off:
“It is odd because someone asked me yesterday when was the last time I had a Saturday in September when I wasn’t on a sideline? Probably when I was four or five years old might be the last time. It will be a little different but I have so many people that I have relationships with that are on the sideline. Whether they are right here in Columbus, another NFL city, all the cities in Ohio, or some of my guys out as head coaches in the college ranks so I still have strong extensions onto the sidelines. It’s gonna be fun to have a chance to admire their work.”
What he would say to the fans:
“Number one I apologize for us getting derailed and not just focusing on winning the Big Ten Championship, the Rose Bowl, or the National Championship because that’s the fun of being a Buckeye fan. The fun isn’t having missteps. Number two we have to put that behind us. If we are truly fans and if we truly care about the kids, which is everything to me, what’s most important is there were 105 guys that reported to camp this August and they have worked their fannies off, they’re getting ready to take on a 12 game season, everyone wants to knock them off the perch, and want someone else to become the Big Ten Champion and someone else to have the spotlight in our conference. They’re going to have some adversity but if we really care about the kids and care about Ohio State we have to put any disappointment behind us, go forward, and look for great things to happen in the future.”
If he regrets the way he treated Terrelle Pryor:
“Oh no. I think you always have to treat the young people under your care with love and I will never change that. That’s always going to be the way. To me, love conquers all. Would we like to have had some different things occur along the way? Of course. When you’re playing quarterback you make a lot of decisions, when you’re a star on a stage the size of Ohio State you can make some decisions, when you’re a coach at Ohio State you make hundreds of decisions and all of them are not perfect. It still is all about the love and relationship you try to have with kids and I’m excited about his future. I wanted to go over and watch how he progressed, just to see the improvement he made with that focus tells me that he has a chance and I was pleasantly surprised that he was picked in the 3rd round. I was ready for him to be picked closer to the 4th because he was late to training camp and was going to need to serve a five game suspension and so the fact that he was picked in the 3rd round was exciting to me. He gets to have a new start. Just like I preach to the Buckeye fans look forward don’t look backwards. The same thing is true for Terrelle. He’s got to look forward and learn from his past. He can’t dwell on his past. He’s gotta go out and see if he can take care of business there and progress in the National Football League.”
On the idea that he acted in a way that went against what he wrote in his book about integrity and honor etc:
“Oh gosh. I think anyone that writes a book doesn’t do it with the preface that they are perfect. If that were the case and only perfect people could write books then there wouldn’t be any books. There are always critics and always people that support you. You know in your own life that what’s important are the people that care about you and are meaningful to you and there’s always going to people that think in a different way. That’s what is beautiful about our country is that you’re allowed to do that. You just try to keep getting better, be the best that you can possibly be, and you only look forward.”
Why he decided to resign when he did?
“I really can’t talk about anything in terms of our situation because it’s still not resolved. I’m not able to share that thought process with you.”
If he wants to coach again:
“I will tell you what? I feel good and when you get a chance to get around and have a chance to be at those training camps like I was fortunate to be able to do over the last couple of weeks, get out to see high school football tonight and tomorrow, and I want to get around and see some of the colleges practice next week so it’s fun to be around it and get your blood flowing. I’m sure that I want that as one of the options but honestly I don’t know what it is exactly I want to do going forward. I’m gonna take a little bit of time and make sure I make a good decision.”
Whether or not he would change anything that happened:
“I think every time we get a chance to look back we can see where we made decisions that we would like to have back whether it’s play calls or decision within your own office or whatever it happens to be. That’s the human part of all us, that’s the human part of me. But again I guess I will end with this, the only thing I can do is look forward.”