Jim Tressel has officially sweatered his last Ohio State vest, and the coaching rumors have begun. Like any high profiled job opening the rumors have quickly encompassed former Raider coach Jon Gruden. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports connects the dots for us:
Gruden told more than a few people he was antsy and desired a return to coaching. One assistant told me Gruden hasn't been shy about it, either. Indeed, Gruden and Ohio State would be a perfect fit (though Urban Meyer might even be more perfect).
For what it's worth (and that's not much) Urban Meyer denied interest via a statement found in this ESPN article.
I am committed to ESPN and will not pursue any coaching opportunities this fall. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the people at ESPN this spring and remain very excited about my role with the network this fall.
Does that pave the way for Gruden? The big question is if Gruden is willing to make the jump from the NFL ranks to the college ranks. If Gruden is as antsy as Freeman makes him out to be than college is his only option for the 2011 season. All the NFL jobs are taken, and with the lockout it was a less then ideal time to take a job when they weren't.
Since Gruden was booted from Tampa Bay most Raider fans have harbored the hope that 'Chuckie' would return. Of course the chances of this hope becoming a reality are close to zero. Gruden hasn't taken two years off to jump back to a situation where he doesn't get the control desired that resulted in his trade to Tampa in the first place.
Gruden would have that control and then some as a college coach. If Gruden does take the Ohio State job he will be destined to go down as one of the great college coaches of all-time. Ohio State already has a solid recruiting foundation. And Jon Gruden is a born recruiter. He will win over parents and athletes about two seconds after stepping into their home.
He is charismatic, charming and seems to sincerely care for his players. He also runs an offense that will prepare players to make the jump to the NFL.