Buckeyes' Jim Tressel and Michigan's Scott Shafer share Baldwin
Marvin Fong/The Plain DealerBuckeyes' coach Jim Tressel and Michigan defensive coordinator Scott Shafer Kurt Warner Jersey both played quarterback for Baldwin Wallace.
COLUMBUS Rich Rodriguez, that diabolical genius. To get inside the mind of Jim Tressel, a former BaldwinWallace quarterback, the firstyear Michigan coach went right to the source and hired his own former BaldwinWallace quarterback.
Luckily for him, there was a qualified one out there. At Ohio Stadium today, sure it will be Ohio State vs. Michigan, but it will also be Tressel, BW Class of '75, vs. Michigan defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, BW Class of '90.
Both sons of coaches, Lee Tressel at BW and Ron Shafer at Riverside High in Painesville, the future coaches played quarterback with their minds on leading. Today they carry on the names of their fathers, who both died in their 50s as their sons' careers were just taking off. Jim Tressel this week remembered Ron Shafer's days in Painesville, where Lee Tressel faced him while he was at Mentor High School. Scott Shafer said the elder Tressel spoke at a banquet at his junior high when he was in seventh grade, "and as a little kid I remember thinking, 'This guy is pretty cool.' "
So when Shafer blew out his knee his freshman year at Ohio University and decided to transfer, BW was a natural fit. He played under the late Bob Packard, his head coach who had served as Lee Tressel's offensive coordinator. His knees shredded, with injuries continuing to follow him, Shafer immediately became a coach in training, teammates remembering him engaging in strategy discussions with Packard that were over their heads.
"After games we'd be ready to go out and he never wanted to go, because he'd be drawing plays up," Dan Andrews, a BW running back and captain of the 1990 team said this week. "I never knew a guy who liked X's and O's so much."
Tressel, who Pat Tillman Jersey still finds thrills in that chess match with the defense, would be one who does. Fifteen years apart, they were just two Ohio kids who wanted to be like their dads.
John Shafer remembers his older brother, then 7, running the veer in the back yard and calling plays as the coach and quarterback. Andrews remembers his "controlled rage" and command in the college huddle. There's agreement on a touchdown in the final minutes that Shafer threw to beat undefeated John Carroll in 1975 though Andrews claimed Shafer winked at the opposition after Packard sent in the winning play, one Shafer had been longing to run.
Shafer doesn't remember the wink though no quarterback reared in the Tressel manner would ever admit to such www.footballcardinalsshop.com/cardinals-kurt-warner-jersey-c-1.html an act.
There are other TresselShafer connections John Shafer, now a teacher, track coach and assistant football coach at Cuyahoga Heights, also played football at BW and remembers Tressel's mother, Eloise, serving as the house mother for his fraternity. But the coaches in this game come in with little interaction, save for the typical coaching clinics, Shafer remembering Tressel swinging by a BW gathering at one seminar.
Their knowledge comes mostly from study and reputation, Shafer really making his as the firstyear defensive coordinator at Stanford a year ago when the Cardinal knocked off No. 1 USC, 2423.
"I had always heard great things about him," Tressel said. "I was watching all summer long [on film] the way that Stanford team handled Southern Cal in that ballgame and was very impressed with that."
This year, with Ohio State's 84thranked offense preparing for Michigan's 66thranked defense, there has been less with which to be impressed on both sides.
"I feel bad that we haven't been able to www.footballcardinalsshop.com win more games," Shafer said, "but you look forward to coaching another day, and this game happens to be the one you always looked forward to your whole life."
And that's a good part of the reason why Shafer will be in Ohio Stadium today. Rodriguez hired him with little NFL Cardinals Jersey personal interaction, but he knew that Shafer had Midwest roots and had worked his way up through the MidAmerican Conference, with stops at Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.
"I knew he had an appreciation for what we were trying to do with our program," Rodriguez said.
While there have been questions about Rodriguez's understanding of the rivalry in his first year, there's no question with Shafer.
And when his father had his first heart attack on the football field at age 36, the Shafer children received a letter from a coach who'd had heart problems of his own, telling them things would be all right. That letter from Bo Schembechler hangs in Scott Shafer's office at Michigan. Today the Shafer family, including Scott's mother, Kathy, will be in the stands, rooting for the Wolverines.
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