Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coach Tressel Second Interview with Colts; Inevitable?

Jim Tressel didn't take too long to find a way back to the coaching circle did he? 

Before I  get ahead of myself the reports are only that Tressel has conducted a second interview with Colts GM Jim Irsay, who is on the verge of completing a complete overhaul of the Colts front office, including dismissals of Head Coach Jim Caldwell, 8 of his assistants, front office maintstays Bill and Chris Polian and Defensive Backs Coach Alan Williams is leaving to become the Defensive Coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. 
Like Tressel, Caldwell became the
scapegoat for his teams problems.

Phew, thats a mouthful. Back to Tressel. 

Will this guy be under center
The former Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach, a fur time 1-AA National Champion, 2002 BCS Champion and face and scapegoat of the headline grabbing Ohio State Investigation that saw him lose his position of head football coach for the team. Now, a game day consultant for the Indianapolis Colts, Tressel could be on the verge of returning to coaching, albeit in an arena he has not completely been exposed to. Having only been in his current capacity with the Colts since week 7, Tressel's options to return to the college ranks were severely limited after the NCAA came down with A show-cause penalty is essentially a scarlet letter on a coach’s name for the duration of the penalty. A school that wants to hire Tressel with his show-cause penalty during the next five years faces potential penalties, given that the coach is a noted rule breaker by the NCAA. That means it's unlikely that a school would take him on in that time frame. Tressel would be 64 when his show cause penalty expires. 

Irsay has a tougher than whomever coaches the Colts?
Needless to say, going back to college is not an option for this student of the game.

With Tressel's, pedigree, staunch loyalty to the organizations he has been with in the past and his teams great history of defensive prowess makes Tressel and the 28h ranking scoring and 25th ranking yardage defense of the  Colts seem to be a match made in heaven. 

It could be possible that the makings of these recent developments with the Colts have been around since the uncertainty of Manning's career continuance came under fire, but I don't have the kind of sources to confirm or deny that. But in hindsight, bring the former Buckeye coach into the fold near the middle of the season was a subtle but savvy move by Colts management, giving them the upper hand on signing him in the event everything that happened to the Colts this year happened and rebuilding was required. That should be a familiar job for an accomplished College Coach, considering that they have to consistently recruit, prepare and recycle talent through their schools while remaining competitive enough to compete for a national championship on a yearly basis.

So if Tressel is officially hired and given the option, which he will have due to the mass firings, to hand pick his staff, who will he bring in? And is it feasible to believe that the ball coach can have a Harbaugh effect on the Colts team? Will he have Manning or Luck to lead his team? 

These questions will face any coach taking the post at Indy and will be four important grading scales for Tressel if hired.

The coaching staff will be somewhat of a mystery but one would have to assume he would have some bias to he previous coaching staffs and players at OSU and Youngstown State.

Mike Vrabel is an example
of the kind of former players
that will be a part of a Tressel
Don't be surprised if Eddie George and Terry Glenn emerge as position coaches, as they both have coached in the league within the past two years. Mike Vrabel is coach linebackers at OSU but could come out for Coach Tressel. Chris Speilman coached in 2005. Former OSU standout wideout Cris Carter is a head coach for a national high school power in Fort Lauderdale at St. Thoas Aquinas. And don't forget Luke Fickell. He is making the interview rounds for the college ranks as we speak but his availiability for Coach Tressel would not be in question. 

As for the Harbaugh effect, it might be possible, but not as much as Jim Harbaugh did in San Francisco. He had a defense already stout and holding playmakers like Patrick Willis and Jason Smith, and the draft, which netted supreme bull rushing pass rusher Aldon Smith, and the defense carried the team to a 13-3 record. The offense was already intact too, with Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and a surprisingly efficient and safe Alex Smith. 
It would not be as simple in Indianapolis. The defense does have a pair of edge rushing ends, but they aren't getting any younger. The linebackers need help as does the secondary. And the offense? The line is falling apart, the running back position undecided and the quarterback position in doubt.
A solid draft is a help, and maybe some solid free agents, but while San Francisco got 6 games against NFC west opponents and a down year NFC East, the Colts would not have the same luxury, facing a tougher AFC south slate and matchup with the AFC North. The turnaround can happen quick for a 2-14 team but not 13-3 quick with this many questions.  

How much could Luck bring back?
Julio Jones was traded for 5 draft
Lastly, what will be the quarterback situation? The final answer to that question will clear plenty of air for the front office and allow them to get the pieces they need to nurture a rookie quarterback or support a veteran one. If Peyton comes back healthy, the Colts, though wanting to draft Luck for the future, the haul they could get for trading his draft rights could be twice what the Browns got for their top ten spot last year, which got them 2 first rounders (2011 and 2012), the 2nd and fourth from the 2011 draft and the fourth from the 2012. Imagine what Andrew Luck could bring? And how quickly it could transform the Colts roster from talentless to loaded with it.

This is all hypothetical. He might not get hired and a coach might not be named for some time before the draft. But the questions will remain no matter who the coach is, leaving the toughest job to the Colts GM, Jim Irsay.

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