Back in June, before the beginning of the 2010 College Football Season, we had the honor to interview Rob Harley. Rob is a member of the 2002 National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes and is a guy that worked his way from being a walk-on to earning a scholarship.
To revisit that interview click here. It's now six months later and we are coming to a close of the College Football Season, a lot has changed in the landscape of College Football as well as for Rob. Rob was kind enough to join us again and answer some questions about the sport that we love.
We last talked to you prior to the start of the College Football Season. Catch us up on what's been happening with you.
Biggest news for me is that I started my coaching career by becoming the Assistant Linebackers and Assistant Special Teams Coordinator at Div II Ohio Dominican University. I had a blast being on the sidelines, being around the amazing coaching staff, and figuring out that coaching is my passion.
Why did you decide to get into coaching and what do you enjoy about it the most?
Coaching has been something that's always been an attraction, but I knew the commitment it would take and I wasn't ready right after playing to take the plunge. The longer I was away from the game the more I missed it. Coaching gives me the chance to be inside the huddle, something that broadcasting just can't offer a former player. So now I'm one season into my college coaching career and I've realized there's nothing in the world that I'd rather be doing. The thing I enjoy the most is the opportunity to compete every day. We have an awesome chance to measure ourselves daily to see how good of coaches, players, students, and members of our communities that we can be. There's nothing quite like being around a group of individuals that come together with one common goal and one common purpose. One of my former coaches compared coaching to "Hotel California" where you can check in any time you'd like, but you can never leave. Well I've definitely made my reservation and I'm not having any thoughts of checking out any time soon.
The Big Ten ended up with 3 teams tied for first place at 7-1 in the Conference. Who do you think was the best team and what impressed you about them the most?
It's hard to say who is the "best" when they all bring a lot of solid things to the table. Obviously we got to see a couple of the teams go head to head, with Wisconsin beating Ohio State and Michigan State beating Wisconsin. I'm not sure what that says about which team is better overall, but I know it says which team was better on those given days. Wisconsin is impressive because they play their brand of football and they don't make any apologies about it. Their opponents know that the Badgers will establish the run game come hell or high water and if they aren't prepared it's going to be a long day. Wisconsin's ability to impose their will on opposing defenses even though everyone knows what's coming is an intimidating factor. Michigan State is a solid football team on both sides of the ball. I think Sparty is most impressive with their ability to maintain their poise in close games. A handful of times this season the Spartans had to come back to win ball games or make gutsy calls in crunch time to get the win. The ability to stay focused and not get rattled when the walls are caving in is one of the biggest X-factors in sports. The Buckeyes are a very balanced team especially as they've turned up the intensity in getting their run game going over the last few weeks of the season. Although most impressive about OSU is the Silver Bullet defense and it's ability to reload every year. This defense is one of most active in the nation and it's because of their dominance that the Buckeyes have a chance to win every game.
Your alma mater Ohio State had a strong year at 11-1. One of the major goals at a school like Ohio State is to get to the National Championship game. What do you feel the Buckeyes need to improve on to get back to the BCS Title Game in the 2011/2012 season?
Plain and simple they just can't lose! One of the biggest factors during a college football season is the ability to play at the highest level consistently. Consistency is the hallmark of excellence and when you can play every game and every play with the same amount of intensity then you've got a chance to be champions. That's the struggle for every team in the country every week. It's not easy, but the teams that usually hoist up the crystal ball are the teams that do it the best.
What have been some of your favorite moments of the 2010 College Football Season so far?
There's been some great games along the way and I think it got started with that great match up of Boise State vs. Va Tech. Those two teams gave a mid-November feel to an early September game. Auburn walking the tight rope all season long in a tough SEC trying to stay unbeaten. Oregon's offense has been fun to watch as they've been seemingly unstoppable. The Big Ten conference race was interesting all season long as 4 teams battled it out all the way to the last week. College football is the greatest sport on the planet, so it's hard to pick favorite moments when getting to flip on the TV and watch games all day is the highlight every Saturday!
What bowl games are you looking forward to the most (outside of the BCS Title Game)?
Wisconsin vs. TCU should be a great match up. I look forward to seeing TCU's stout defense match up against the Badger rushing attack. I'll also be curious to see if the Frogs' offense gets going and puts points on the board, will Wisconsin still be able to primarily run the football and stay in the game?
Michigan State vs. Alabama will be an amazing battle. Two solid programs where defense is the name of game. It'll be fun to watch these pressure oriented defenses get after each other, and see which offense can play the most mistake free.
Oklahoma-UConn should be a fun game too. I'm interested to see how good UConn really is and if they can stand in the ring with the big boys.