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Published: Saturday, 12/31/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Bollman not angry about end at OSU

Offensive coordinator endured criticism for conservative play-calling

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Jim Bollman offensive coordinator for Ohio State, does not appear to be part of the Buckeyes plans under new coach Urban Meyer. Jim Bollman offensive coordinator for Ohio State, does not appear to be part of the Buckeyes plans under new coach Urban Meyer.
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JACKSONVILLE -- Jim Bollman contends he's not bitter. He's in a vagabond profession, so moving on is inevitable.

The veteran Ohio State offensive line coach and the Buckeyes' titled offensive coordinator does not appear to be part of the plan when OSU moves forward under new head coach Urban Meyer next month. Meyer has already hired a new offensive play-caller for 2012.

But following an Ohio State morning practice earlier this week, Bollman stayed in the moment and avoided speculating about where he might end up once the Buckeyes are done facing off with Florida in Monday's Gator Bowl.

"My thoughts right now are about this game, so I can't think about my future," said Bollman, who has been a member of the Ohio State staff for 11 seasons.

"My future -- we'll let that take shape as it does. I'm not going to worry about it."

Bollman, who like Meyer is a native of Ashtabula, has been coaching for 31 years. He coached three seasons in the NFL, and has made stops in his college career at Virginia, North Carolina State, Michigan State, Youngstown State, and Miami of Ohio. His tenure at Ohio State is by far his longest.

"When you're in this business, you dream to have the chance to coach at a place like Ohio State," Bollman said. "If everything was an 11-year stay, then this profession would be easy."

Bollman is a graduate of Ohio University, where he lettered for four seasons as an offensive lineman and was a team captain in his senior year.

It was widely believed that deposed former head coach Jim Tressel dictated most of the play-calling over the past decade while Bollman held the offensive coordinator title, but with Tressel out of the picture for the 2011 season, Bollman took considerable fire for what many perceived as ultra-conservative and ineffective offensive selections.

Former Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, commenting during his SiriusXM Radio show in midseason, blasted Bollman after the Buckeyes looked inept in a 10-7 loss to Michigan State.

"It appears to me that Bollman is out there, he's totally exposed," George said. "It's his offense to lose, and clearly he has no idea or concept what to do with them at this point."

Bollman has avoided responding to his critics, and Thursday stayed on message about his sole focus being on the Gator Bowl and sending Ohio State's seniors out the right way.

"Win the game, that's all I'm thinking about," Bollman said.

He also refused to get reflective or sentimental about Monday's bowl game, which will in all likelihood be his final appearance with Ohio State.

"There's life beyond Monday," Bollman said.

The Gator Bowl will also be the final outing at Ohio State for longtime defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. He will not be part of Meyer's staff with the Buckeyes, but said there's no resentment over the end of his long run in Columbus.

"I'm actually pretty appreciative," said Heacock, who started at Ohio State in 1996 under then-head coach John Cooper. "I look back and my 16 years at Ohio State I think is a pretty good record. I think about the good games, the Rose Bowls, the championships, the wins against Michigan."

EARLY FAITH: Every Ohio State player and coach answered the call at 6 a.m. Friday and got themselves to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast at the First Baptist Church. The event was held in downtown Jacksonville, about 30 minutes away from the team hotel at the Sawgrass golf resort in Ponte Vedra Beach and started at 7 a.m. A smaller group from the Florida team attended the session.

Former Miami Dolphin and Florida State Seminole Sammy Smith was the primary speaker, with Ohio State senior linebackers Andrew Sweat and Tony Jackson also addressing the gathering.

HISTORY LESSON: The media has made a lot of the supposed rematch of Ohio State and Florida, since the two met in Arizona nearly five years ago to settle the 2006 season's national championship in a game Florida won 41-14. The players are hardly interested in that nostalgic morsel.

"It doesn't matter to me," Ohio State sophomore offensive lineman Andrew Norwell said. "I was in high school then…maybe a freshman. I'm just focused on this game."

SPEED WEARY: This is Tyler Moeller's sixth bowl game as a member of the Ohio State program. His career extended by the nearly two seasons he lost to serious injuries, Moeller has been with the Buckeyes for three bowl meetings with SEC teams and heard the endless drumbeat about the SEC supposedly being so much faster than the Big Ten.

Six years, and he's still not buying it.

"I'd put Bradley Roby up against anyone in the 40-yard dash," Moeller said, referring to his fellow defensive back with Ohio State.

Roby was a high school track standout in his native Georgia before becoming a Buckeye.



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