Count me among the many who are excited about having Mike Vrabel joining Ohio State's 2011 coaching staff at linebacker coach. Vrabel was a standout defensive end for Ohio State during the glory years of John Cooper's tenure; I met Vrabel in 1995 as a volunteer recruiting assistant, as Vrabel was coached by Bill Conley, Ohio State's recruiting coordinator. Vrabel will bring a passion and intensity for all things Ohio State, just like his close friend and now boss, Luke Fickell.
If I have a concern, and this is something that can only be seen via the results on the field, is that Vrabel has never coached at the collegiate level. Will he be able to effectively communicate to the players now under his tutelage?
In a similar vein, Vrabel was an outstanding player for Ohio State, and for several years in the NFL. Exceptional athletes sometimes have difficulties making transitions to the coaching profession, as the ex-athlete and now coach cannot convey to their players what needs to be done; what came easy for the ex-athlete may not be possible for the players they are coaching.
Again, I believe the positives outweigh the negatives in this situation. Mike Vrabel will command the respect of the linebackers he will coach, as well as the other players on the team. With Fickell being given this year to prove himself, why not bring in a former teammate and close friend (Fickell was Vrabel's best man in his wedding) who wants nothing but success for the program?
Switching topics rather dramatically...Ohio State fans are notorious for believing ESPN has an agenda against them. News tonight may make it a valid point.
ESPN is suing Ohio State in order to obtain copies of the e-mails sent by former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel to Terrelle Pryor's mentor, Ted Sarniak. Ohio State has refused to comply with the request, citing FERPA privacy laws. Let me just suggest that this may make the opening game against Akron on ESPN or ESPN2 on September 3rd that much more interesting...