Ohio State football head coach Luke Fickell has already made his mark on the program, but now he's taking it one step further. Instead of having season-long captains, the team will pick their captains on a week-by-week basis. It will give guys who might not normally be captains a chance to show they can lead, and it will also give the five suspended players a chance to be captain when their suspension is up.
“Some (are) here,” Fickell said. “Some are not here. For right now, I thought it was best for our team. Sometimes you elect captains and those are the guys that are just by nature the ones who stand up in front of the team.
“I thought for right now, this year, it does a good job of bringing a whole group of senior leadership to the forefront.” (buckeyextra.com)
It's just another way Fickell is making sure people know it's his team now. Sure, it's different, but everything about this season is different. There's a new head coach who has some big shoes to fill. There's no star quarterback to have his face in front of the camera after every game. There's a whole new outlook on the team and the season, so it's the perfect time to make a change in how captains are selected.
“Things are different this year,” Brewster said. “It’s Coach Fick’s decision to make everybody a part of it, and I think that’s great. We need everybody this year. It’s not about a few people or four seniors. It’s about everybody.”
It's about everybody. That pretty much sums up how every player on the Buckeyes squad feels this year. It's about unity, about being a team, about brotherhood and family. Every player for Ohio State had the option to leave the school when the NCAA violations arose. The vast majority of players stuck around because of their love of the game and Ohio State. Those players are the ones who will bring the program back to prominence.
Mike Brewster, given his seniority and being a top player at his position, likely would have been a shoo-in for captain this year. His response to that? He said it would have been "cool". But then he said that it's not about him, that it's not about any individual this year. That's a leader for you. Brewster will go far in his career as a football player with that kind of attitude.
The best thing about Brewster's attitude is that it's shared by everyone who plans to suit up in a scarlet jersey on Saturday. Everyone supports Luke Fickell's decision to name captains on a weekly basis, and while it's possible that "year-long" captains will be named late in the season, it's more likely to be given out at the team awards banquet. It would be a tribute to the two guys the team thought were the best leaders during the season.
Now there's some food for thought. Most teams, in any sport, will pick their captains at the beginning of the season. They pick players who have exhibited leadership qualities during pre-season practices and scrimmages, as well as off the field activities. But what if those leaders change as the season wears on and new leaders emerge? This is a new way of thinking and I like it. Captainship should be awarded to the players who proved to be leaders throughout the season. Why not alternate captains during the season and see who really steps up to the plate?
I think it's a fantastic idea, and I think it's one that should be implemented every season. Being a captain is an honor, one that many players strive for. So if it's given as an award at the end of the season, it's likely that some players will step up and show you what their true potential is if it's something they have to earn for an entire year.
Speaking of earning something, Ohio State added a tribute to former head coach Jim Tressel last week. It's in the main hall of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. It shows statistics from his career at Ohio State and Youngstown State that include championships, season records from both schools, season records against Michigan and the number of All-American and Academic All-American players he coached. Because he vacated the entire 2010 season, his Michigan record reads 8-1, not 9-1. There are also various photos on display for the tribute.
Tressel was someone that players looked to as a father figure and that fans looked at with reverence. He will never be forgotten at Ohio State, and his tribute will make sure that future generations know who he is and what he accomplished as the head football coach of The Ohio State University.
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