Current and former Michigan football players react to Jim Tressel's resignation
Bennie Joppru didn’t think it would happen this fast. The former Michigan tight end figured former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel wouldn’t make it to the 2011 season — but for Tressel’s resignation to happen as summer kicked off surprised him.
Yet there it was for everyone to see Monday morning. Tressel was out in Columbus, encouraged to resign following a seemingly never-ending investigation into the Ohio State football program and its head coach.
The news left Joppru and other former Michigan players with conflicted emotions.
“As much as everyone likes to joke around about it and it’s friendly fodder for the fans and stuff, you never want to see one of your rivalries hurt like this,” Joppru said. “You don’t want this to happen to anybody and I kind of have mixed emotions about it. They’ve kind of been putting a hurting on us the past couple of years and now we’re heading in the right direction. Just a lot of mixed emotions.
“I don’t know whether to be happy or sad, but like I said, you never want to see any school go through this. It’s frustrating. You feel bad for the kids, feel bad for the university. It’s kind of embarrassing.”
Most of the fickle feelings surround not having another shot to beat Tressel. The former Ohio State coach was 9-1 against Michigan since 2001, including a 37-7 win over the Wolverines in Columbus this year.
Michigan beat Ohio State in 2003, 35-21, but there is a large chunk of recent Wolverines who have never beaten the Buckeyes — and they don’t want excuses if they were to win this season.
“I never got to beat him, obviously, but as a competitor, for myself, I’d want to beat them when they are No. 1, undefeated, the best team ever,” former Michigan offensive lineman Steve Schilling said. “But it’s unfortunate that it happened to any program. We went through some stuff when I was there and theirs is a little bigger spectrum, on a bigger stage with what went on down there, but I’d rather them be at their best.”
It was a sentiment former Michigan running back Mike Hart shared earlier this month when he was on WTKA for the Mott Takeover during the Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson charity weekend. He said he hoped Tressel was coaching during this year’s Michigan-Ohio State game because he wanted to beat the coach who beat him four times during his career.
He echoed those feelings Monday on Twitter.
“Great day for America! Sad day (for) Big 10,” Hart tweeted. “Hate OSU but Tressel was a great coach! Would rather beat them when he’s the coach than some(one) else.”
Now, the concern among former Michigan players is if the Wolverines beat Ohio State, the Buckeyes will have excuses.
“I’m kinda mad Tressel had to resign because I don’t want people saying if we had Tressel Michigan wouldn’t have beat Ohio State this year,” former Michigan defensive lineman Brandon Graham tweeted.
“Really wanted to see coach (Brady) Hoke get a shot a(t) the sweater vest,” former Michigan offensive lineman Jonathan Goodwin tweeted.
Hoke won’t get that shot. Instead, he’ll coach his first Michigan-Ohio State game against 37-year-old interim coach Luke Fickell.
Those who will face Ohio State this year had a different reaction than others to Tressel’s departure via Twitter.
“Tressel resigned,” Michigan cornerback Troy Woolfolk tweeted. “Well I guess it got too hot in the kitchen, lol.”
And this from defensive tackle Mike Martin: “The head of the scarlet and grey Demon has been cut off!!!”