Jim Tressel, Rich Rodriguez

Tressel on Michigan: ‘Nov. 26th we’re going to kick their ass!’


Shortly after Jim Tressel was hired in 2001, the newly-minted Ohio State head coach addressed the crowd at halftime of a men’s basketball game and lit a fire underneath those in attendance — and those who subsequently heard it via a video clip — when it came to The Rivalry.

“I can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the football field.”

10 years, a 9-1 record against That School Up North, seven Big Ten titles, a national title and a disgraced exit later, Tressel is still lighting fires when it comes to The Rivalry.

A group reportedly numbering in the neighborhood of 200 people marched in support of the dethroned coach earlier Saturday, descending on The Vest’s plush suburban Columbus home to show they have their former coach’s back.  And, in typical Senatorial style, Tressel did not disappoint.

Especially when it came to The Rivalry that was near and dear to his heart.

“Don’t forget: Nov. 26th we’re going to kick their ass!” Tressel was quoted as saying from the front doorstep of his home.

Needless to say, those words brought a raucous cheer from those who had made the trek.  As did his words regarding his feelings toward the university that reportedly nudged him toward resignation.

“We’re going to be Buckeyes for life,” Tressel said, his arm around his wife. “What’s that old saying? Buckeye born and bred, a Buckeye ’til I’m dead.”

All that does, though, is make the inexplicable even more so, that he would torch everything he’d built at the university he loved and adored by lying and covering up what were, in the grand scheme of things, relatively minor NCAA violations.  The decision-making process that began in April of 2010 is, and will continue to be, utterly inexplicable.  And sad.  Really, really sad.

UPDATED 9:26 p.m. ET: As has been noted to me via email and Twitter, the actual date of this year’s Ohio State-Michigan game is Nov. 26.  Cut Tressel some slack, though; he’s got a lot on his mind these days and remembering the exact date of the next The Game likely isn’t one of ’em.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury