ARLINGTON, Texas – Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is no stranger to national championships, but he found himself on the field in a different role before Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship game.
Tressel, who was announced as one of this year’s inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame last Friday, was among five new Hall of Famers who were on the field for the coin toss before the game.
The other four were Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Tom Gatewood (Notre Dame) and Bill Snyder (Kansas State coach).
Tressel coached OSU to the BCS national championship in the 2002 season and to a runner-up spot in 2006 and 2007.
So, what goes through a coach’s mind in the final hours before the kickoff of a national championship game?
“You’re just waiting. You’ve been doing it for 25 weeks or whatever, counting all the time. You try not to over-sensory everybody. You just relax,” Tressel said.
He said this was the first time in the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Field. “It reminds me of Lucas Oil Field (in Indianapolis),” he said.
JERRY JONES IN THE HOUSE: Around four hours before kickoff Ohio State’s managers spotted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones standing in front of his suite at the 50-yard line along with three other people.
They greeted him with the O-H-I-O cheer. Jones, who played college football at the University of Arkansas, appeared to turn to one of his associates and ask what the managers were doing.
PLANNING TO RETURN: There have been reports that Ohio State juniors Taylor Decker and Adolphus Washington both project as second-round NFL draft picks, but OSU coach Urban Meyer and the players both say they will be back next season.
“We had two players (Decker and Washington) who told me a long time ago they’re coming back and they should come back. They just told me, we didn’t have any conversation about it,” Meyer said.
Decker, an offensive tackle said, “I am going to come back next year. I love playing with my teammates and I ultimately think it would be better for me in the long run, for moving on in my career to have another year here. I have goals that I haven’t accomplished yet and there are things that I still want to do here.”
“Once I leave here I can’t come back and the NFL will be there when my career is over here,” he said.
RED IS THINNING: Defensive lineman said he had a personal reason why he was happy OSU wore its scarlet jerseys in Monday night’s game.
“I am happy we are wearing the scarlet because it makes my stomach look smaller,” Bennett said.
On a more serious note, Bennett wore No. 53 instead of his usual No. 63 to honor teammate Kosta Karageorge, who died by suicide the week of the Big Ten championship game.
TWO FIELDS: AT&T Field has two separate artificial turf fields for professional and college football since the hash marks are different in college than they are in the pro game.
The Cowboys field was stored in sections behind the lower level of the stadium on Monday night.
BRAXTON AGAIN: Meyer repeated his statement that quarterback Braxton Miller will be in an Ohio State uniform next season during a press conference on Sunday. “I do expect Braxton to return,” he said.