Ohio State recently opened football practice for the 2017 season, and as usual, the Buckeyes should be very good.
But being very good is nothing new at OSU … through the years, the Buckeyes have often been one of the best teams in the nation ever since Woody Hayes took over as head coach in 1951.
Hayes and current coach Urban Meyer have some similarities, but also an awful lot of differences when it comes to philosophy and style of play.
I recently asked former Buckeye great Tom Matte what attributes made Hayes such a great coach.
“Woody believed in running the football and was a perfectionist at controlling the game by running the football,” said Matte. “No mistakes, no fumbles, and you can win football games. Woody was not a passing coach. But the best thing he did was to get his players to graduate from college.”
In 1960 for Ohio State, Matte passed for 737 yards and rushed for another 683 yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns.
A total of 737 passing yards seems like nothing today, but playing for Hayes, that was a big number.
Matte went on to star at running back for the Baltimore Colts, but was forced into duty at QB for three games when Johnny Unitas was injured near the end of the 1965 season.
He then became the first quarterback in NFL history to wear a wristband with the offensive plays listed on it.
That wristband currently resides in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Trivia Time – Current Urbana University assistant football coach Jim Cordle was a player for the New York Giants when the team won Super Bowl XLVI.
This week’s question – How many touchdown passes did Tom Matte throw in his NFL career?