‘So Coach Holtz, what would you say to the Buckeyes?’

That was Jim Tressel, the snappily attired Ohio State coach, asking the question during ESPN’s halftime segment of tonight’s Georgia Tech-Clemson game.

Switch to Lou Holtz, in a white OSU shirt and red cap, standing in a pretend locker room, giving one of his famed pep talks between his set of teeth that appear to fully purchased but losing adhesive by the second, demonstrating, for fun, how he’d fired up the Buckeyes players before their home game Saturday against USC:


“Men, I’m excited, we’re gonna play the University of Spoiled Children … better known as USC,” Holtz started, with notecard in hand.


“We have a tradition of winning here at Ohio State but that tradition’s been tarnished recently as we’ve lost five straight games to teams ranked in the Top 5. I’m not going to document our disappointing performance of each game, but that has to change and it will change today.

“The one thing we will not do is be intimidated by any opponent or any situation, whether it be in football or whether it be in life. I learned that from Woody Hayes.”

Who? Did he come before or after Kirk Herbstreit?

“We’re playing Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. They had a back by the name of O.J. Simpson.”

Now, it’s gonna get ugly.

“I coached the defensive backs, and Woody Hayes told me, ‘He better not score a touchdown.’ In the second quarter, O.J. takes a handoff on their own 20 yard line and goes 80 yards for a touchdown. I’m up in the press box, Woody Hayes is on the sideline. I go in the locker room at halftime, the first thing that happened, he came running up to me, strategically placed his left hand on my jugular vein and squeezed my eyes about that big.”

O.J., responsible for another homicide …


“Now you really gotta understand coach Hayes, he really meant me no physical harm. He just wanted to make sure he had my undivided attention. And he hollered: ‘Why’d O.J. go 80 yards?’ I said, ‘Coach, that’s all he needed. If the ball was on the 10, he woulda gone 90.'”

There’s a point to this …

“We were down 10-0,” Holtz continued. “But we would not be intimidated. We came back to win the national championship, 27-16.”

And that applies to 2009 how?

“Men, tenacious defense, and a will to win, a man refused to be bought cannot be bought, Justin Bourne and I could hold any man down in this room, the two of us. But if you go into an insane asylum, a guy goes berserk, it takes seven attendants to put a wild man in a straight jacket. I’m not a great mathematician, but if we had 11 wild men on defense, they need 77 people on offense in order to block us.”

He’s playing the crazy card … watch out…

“You have to ask yourself: If not me, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?”

Or ask, if I turn this off now, why?


“You’ve got to persevere. We all know about Abraham Lincoln and the trials and tribulations he overcame. And we all know about Thomas Edison and how he persevered. And we all know how Ben Franklin refused to lose. And you ask me, ‘What about Victor McManus?’ Who’s he? HE’S A GUY THAT QUIT THAT’S WHY NOBODY EVER HEARD OF HIM!'”

Wait. There’s more. Catch you breath …. OK, go …

“We aren’t gonna quit. We are gonna persevere. And we’re gonna whip the University of Spoiled Children today, let’s go!”

A tagline: Mark May, in the ESPN studio, has predicted a three-TD victory for USC. … Holtz is beside himself.

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